Interviewees A - Z
All interviewees are listed below in alphabetical order. Click on a name to see that person's full profile and video highlights from their interview.
August 16, 2013
Madeleine Albright was born in Prague in 1937. Because of her father's diplomatic career, Madeleine spent her childhood in Belgrade, London and Prague, and the family eventually claimed asylum in the United States following the Communist coup in 1948. After receiving her PhD from Columbia University, Madeleine became involved in politics - a career which culminated with her being named Secretary of State in 1997.
November 08, 2011
Michlean Amir was born in 1940 in Nîmes, France to Czech Jewish parents. She lived in Plzeň, Czechoslovakia from 1945 to 1948 when she emigrated to Israel with her parents and younger sister. Michlean then moved with her family to Rochester, New York in 1955. Today, she is an archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and lives in Rockville, Maryland.
September 23, 2010
Ludmila Anderko was born in the small mountain town of Kolačkov, North Eastern Slovakia, in 1949. Her mother stayed at home and raised Ludmila and her three sisters, while her father worked in a textile factory in nearby Kežmarok during the week, coming home to visit the family on weekends.
January 07, 2013
Joseph Balaz was born in Prague in 1960. He studied civil engineering at ČVUT and left Czechoslovakia while on a ski trip to Austria in 1982. Eighteen months later, Joseph moved to Edmonton in Alberta. He eventually settled in New York City and started his own construction and development business. Joseph is on the board of several Czech organizations and is the president of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association.
June 10, 2011
Brother Gabriel Balazovic was born Julián Balažovič in Dolná Krupá, Slovakia, in 1949. Julian trained to be a gardener in Rakovice before coming to Canada in 1967. In Toronto, he became an active member of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Slovak Roman Catholic Church. In 1980, he decided to become a part of the Benedictine monastery at St Andrew Abbey in Cleveland, Ohio.
January 15, 2014
Anna Balev was born in Olomouc in 1950. Her father, an ardent Catholic, was arrested and spent two years in prison. Anna studied nursing and worked in Prague and Karlovy Vary before marrying her American husband and moving to the United States. In 1976 Anna settled in New York City where today she owns a rental company. Anna frequently travels back to the Czech Republic.
July 17, 2012
Jerry Barta was born in Prague in 1950. He studied typography and worked as a graphic designer and teaching assistant. Jerry left Czechoslovakia in 1974 after he forged a letter which helped him to obtain a visa. After several months in a refugee camp in Germany, Jerry and his wife moved to California and settled in the San Francisco Bay area. Today he owns the graphic design company Pacific Digital Image.
June 14, 2010
Ludvik Barta was born in the town of Liberec, north Bohemia, in May 1945. His mother was a Sudeten German, while his father was a Czech who narrowly escaped execution after working for the Nazis as a translator during the War.
September 28, 2011
Zdeněk Bažant was born in Prague in 1937. He studied civil engineering at ČVUT and graduated first in his class. Zdeněk began working with a state company as a civil engineer and earned a PhD in mechanics and a postgraduate diploma in physics. In 1968, while completing a fellowship at the University of Toronto and hearing of the Warsaw Pact invasion, he decided to stay abroad. Zdeněk is a Murphy Professor at Northwestern University.
July 31, 2013
Joseph Ben-David was born in Prague in 1920. Early on he became involved in the Unitarian church and the humanist movement. In 1939, Joseph took a transport to Palestine where he lived for 15 years. He arrived in New York City in 1954. Joseph founded the Church of Humanism in the 1970s which he still leads today. Joseph lives in Manhattan with his wife Alyson.
January 30, 2012
Dagmar Benedik was born in Kladno in 1952. She left Czechoslovakia with her family on August 22, 1968 - one day after the invasion of the country by the Warsaw Pact troops. Dagmar's family settled in Toronto where she learned English and attended school. She has since lived in Tampa and returned to Prague to live for six years. Today, Dagmar lives in Richmond Hill, Toronto.
June 26, 2013
Jozef Bil was born in eastern Slovakia in 1961. His grandfather's experience in the Pennsylvania coal mines in the 1920s piqued Jozef's interest in the United States. He left Czechoslovakia in 1990 and settled in Pittsburgh before moving to New York City. Today Jozef owns a general contracting company and is involved in the local Slovak community.
September 08, 2012
Peter Bisek was born in Prague in 1941. After high school, Peter worked in a print shop and completed an apprenticeship there. In May 1965, Peter and his wife Vera left Czechoslovakia for Sweden. They moved to the United States six months later where Peter continued in the printing business. In 1990, Peter revived a Czechoslovak newspaper called Americké Listy, which he and Vera edited and printed for 20 years.
November 12, 2014
Eugenie Bocan was born in Prague and grew up in the Podoli district of the city. She studied nursing and worked as a maternity nurse before leaving the country. In 1968, Eugenie and her husband drove across the border and stayed at a refugee camp for eight months. They arrived in New York City in December. Eugenie is a retired nurse and lives in Queens.
August 25, 2011
Ladislaus (Lou) Bolchazy was born in Michalovce, eastern Slovakia, in 1937. In 1948, his father emigrated to the U.S. and, one year later, Lou and the rest of his family joined him. They lived in Yonkers, NY. Lou earned a PhD in classical studies and went on to set up his own publishing house, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers.
October 08, 2012
Petra Bolfikova was born in Havířov in eastern Moravia and moved to Děčín in northern Bohemia with her family at the age of three. She began learning English at a very young age and continued her language studies all through school. Petra received her bachelor's degree and master's degree in international business from the University of Economics, Prague and recently finished a master's program in business administration at Bradley University in Peoria.
August 17, 2011
Vera Borkovec was born in Brno in 1926 and lived in Prague until 1934 when she moved to Tehran with her family. They returned to Czechoslovakia following WWII, but left the country in July 1949 after the rise of the Communist party. She first immigrated to Bolivia, and later arrived in the United States in 1952, eventually settling in the Washington, D.C. area. Vera was a professor of Russian language and literature at American University for over 30 years.
August 27, 2012
Dagmar Bradac was born in Litomyšl in eastern Bohemia. After the Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968, Dagmar's father left for the United States. After Dagmar finished high school, she visited her father in the Chicago area with the intention of staying abroad. Dagmar has worked as a librarian at several law firms and at the Czechoslovak Heritage Museum in Oak Brook. Today Dagmar is pursuing a degree at DePaul University and lives in La Grange.
September 10, 2013
Peter Breiner was born in Humenné in eastern Slovakia in 1957. He started music lessons at the age of four and studied at the conservatory in Kosice and the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. Peter moved to Toronto in 1992. A renowned musician, Peter is a performer, composer and conductor. Today he lives in New York City.
April 08, 2013
Luboš Brieda grew up in Banská Bystrica in central Slovakia. At age 14, he moved to the United States with his mother and settled in Alexandria, Virginia. Luboš earned a PhD in aerospace engineering from George Washington University and runs his own consulting company. He is also the creator of SlovakCooking.com and enjoys hiking and climbing. Luboš lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife.