We had some political frictions, the Slovaks, but the biggest friction was between the Czechoslovaks and Slovaks. Fights erupted on a weekly basis, and the MPs marched in with big sticks and beat anybody who was outside regardless of what it was, who it was, whether they were fighting or not. Then finally the Germans took over the camp. Rocks were being thrown and even I had to sleep with a pipe in my bed, for my own protection.
There weren’t many veterinary school and they really didn’t want women either, and I said ‘I want to go to that university in Brno that you went to.’ And he said ‘What do you think you are? Look at yourself, you’re too [small].’ I was littler then. And he said, ‘You don’t have the strength to be a veterinarian. Come with me.’
One morning I walked out, as a little kid – I should have been in second grade, but the second grade was suspended because of the War – and I looked down the Laborec, which is our river, down towards the east, and I saw a formation of nine something. At first I thought they were geese, but no, as they came nearer and nearer the earth started shaking, and then somebody across the river in the Count’s grove, shot a couple cannons, so that was the beginning of a long day of being bombed.
So anyway, this is what we did to prepare to go, and because of this terrible experience of flying from England after the War, I developed a very high fever and they had to postpone the trip to the last plane that left Czechoslovakia for Israel. The plane that we were supposed to go on was one that was shot at, and it fell over, I think, Bulgaria. So that forever was kind of a shock to us that we could have been on that plane.
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.