I also remember that one time there was a big commotion outside on the street and the soldier – I don’t know who it was – were after somebody, and they shot him right in the street, several men. That was kind of scary for me. Then one time – I had to walk to school past a church, it was like a churchyard – and apparently there was a bombing or some shooting there, and they had a bunch of bodies laying on the church ground, covered with cloth, and I had to walk through there to get to school and it really scared the heck out of me.
Community life Tag
They called it Action E, the Gestapo – E as in exulants [exile]– you know? They rounded up most of the families who had anybody fighting abroad, to hold us as political prisoners to prevent us from giving aid to Czechoslovak parachutists sent from Great Britain to attack and sabotage the German occupation. Somebody had to hide them and they wanted to prevent that. So they arrested us all and put us in the camp.
We had threatening phone calls [saying] they’re going to shoot my mother – it was from the [Czechoslovak] Consulate from somewhere, from England; I would think it was the consulate – and ‘You’ll never see your parents again’ and all of the sudden I said ‘My god! What have I done?’ So my coach said ‘From now on, you’re not going out,’ so for ten days I was in the house.
1924, the year, the people who were born in 1924 were given as a gift to the Third Reich. And everybody had to be shipped to work for whatever they needed. And I had the papers already to Kassel or Essen, and that was bombarded by Americans, so I already had my friend, and he said ‘How about we get married?’
I don’t think our family really assimilated very well, as a whole, because all our friends were Czech and a lot of times if I wanted to do something I wasn’t permitted to do it because it wasn’t something that we did. So that kept me separated from everybody else a little bit.
After I graduated high school, I applied to Charles University to study languages, and I was probably the most nervous because I kind of had to lie in my resume. I could never be truthful about my father’s past. Of course I said he was from a family of 14 and that kind of thing, but I never really talked about his business success.
When the deportation of the Jewish population started in 1942, my parents, to protect me, put me in an orphanage that was run by Catholic nuns in Bratislava. So I was there for two years. Fortunately, my parents were not put into a concentration camp, mainly because my mother was a physician and they needed physicians even during the War.
When my father died, we moved back to my grandmother and grandfather’s and my uncle was over there, and they had a farm. But in Czech Republic, it’s not like here. There’s a village, and the fields are someplace else. Over here you have a house and everything is around it, but over there, you have the village and everything was outside.
Well, guys thought that the situation would be better in the Czech Republic when it comes to women. And that’s why they left. And they were wrong, of course. And women left because they wanted to have a family, for example. With their kids, or because they wanted to start their family in the Czech Republic.