One time they were bringing through the town soldiers which they had captured – and when I remember that, this was absolute horror. They needed water and they needed bread; they were asking. I ran home and brought all the bread and all the water and I was running to them, and the Nazi [said] ‘Halt! Halt, halt!’ and he had the revolver ready to shoot.
We were washing dishes and the soldiers showed up and told my mother and my father that we need to pack up something that we can carry on our backs and we are going to leave. So we were taken to the camp in – the concentration camp – in Žilina. You know the difference, there is a concentration camp and there is an extermination camp, so we were just taken to the first place.
Not only that, many people were like that – both boys and girls. Because many guys didn’t have much opportunity, only to marry somebody else who had… to be again on a farm. You know, [another person] in the village and stuff like that. So I inherited some money from my parents, I had the opportunity, but I was not allowed. That’s it.
Once I was assigned to the kitchen to wash dishes. I washed them very quickly – they were surprised how quickly – but every one was dirty. They had to delay military lunch for the generals for one hour until somebody else washed the dishes. So they were, I guess, inclined to kick me out, but they didn’t send me home.
There were two reasons. One was they wouldn’t let me continue at school, and of course I knew that it was somewhere some farming cooperative that I would have to go to; and/or that I wouldn’t have a chance to grow intellectually and understand what was happening to my whole nation. To the literature, to the music, to the film. To the people, to their relationships.
What I remember about school is that the first day of schooling, my official first school experience, was that we had to Heil Hitler when we first started the school day. So these teachers who are all Czech patriots would always do it funny. They wouldn’t do it right.