So, thanks to the communists, when I came out of the country, I knew more than my colleagues because they were sitting in one place whereas I was all over – internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, infectious diseases. So I got the best training you can wish to survive. Thanks to the regime, and my belief not to sign ever to become a communist.
Community life Tag
We got a contract through an organization which was called Pragosport, and there was also Pragokoncert. Those were two organizations that negotiated contracts with Western companies. But for that, we had to pay the government a pretty large amount of our salary in Western currency.
This was in 1952 when I was getting pretty well persecuted because of my political inactivity. We got together with my cousin and a friend from the aero club – we got together and decided there is no way, no future for us. Because pretty soon my flying career ended; they stopped me from flying, and my two friends were mechanics whereas they joined the Air Force for the purpose of flying so that they would get flight training.
When we went to Germany, we lived in Germany in the same town because the U.S. Army built the buildings for us, so we were in one area always together. We tried to keep our holidays, our football [soccer] games like at home. We tried to do the best we can because ‘Oh maybe we might go home soon, we might go home,’ but it never happened.
We were living in our house in the cellar, or basement, which had metal plates on the windows, and because there was a sign of ‘Doctor’ in front of the house, soldiers would be bringing their wounded colleagues to the house, and as a little boy I would be mingling around and I would see the blood dripping from the stretchers and stuff like that.
The free education, the free medical care. There were a lot of good things and if you could have political freedom and travel and exchange, then I think the system would have been very good. I didn’t understand why anybody would say no to it, because we didn’t want to declare war on Russia or some stupid thing like that.
I remember that the Germans came to my house a few times looking for some revolvers or some guns, trying to catch something that could make problems. It worked out all those years pretty good, thank god. We had the pastry shop, so I never knew what it meant to be hungry after all.
My son was in kindergarten, no actually, he was in nursery school and we went along the street for a walk and there was a big poster of Lenin and my [son] said ‘Look mommy, Comrade Lenin!’ And she said ‘This is enough. I don’t want this anymore. I had enough. They put it into the children. We have to go. We have to leave.’
[When it came to emigration] one thing was easier for us, because for two years I had already guessed that there will be major economic problems in Czechoslovakia. Our factory was working at something like only 16% capacity. I thought I would have to emigrate for economic reasons. But of course the Russian invasion changed this into political reasons – that’s beyond debate.
Well, it was the Depression, and my father – he was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to raise the family here, that it would be easier in Slovakia. You know, you’ve got a little farm there, a little garden, so you can grow some of your own stuff. Or maybe, I don’t know, kill a chicken or maybe a rabbit. So, it was easier to be there than here. Here you’ve got to buy everything, so…