The Germans started to collect any male they could at the very end – and I’m talking here about the end of March and beginning of April 1945; Bratislava was liberated on April 4 – and when my father heard that, and since my brothers were 17 and 18 at that time, in other words, in a very dangerous age group, he wanted to run with them to our summer house and hide there.
At first I was frightened; I was overwhelmed because it was just too much. The skyscrapers, the people, the noise. At the same time, it was wonderful, but I was scared. I remember I was staying at some Czech’s apartment in the Upper West Side and I decided I had to go to the Metropolitan Museum [of Art]. I went to through the park [Central Park] and I got to the museum and I thought ‘I wasn’t killed, thank God.’
We talked about communism, even during communism. You know, in groups you talked, sometimes alcohol was involved, and then you started to talk, you know. People did talk. Sometimes you were unlucky and somebody maybe turned you in, you know? But this did not happen too much, it did not happen too much.
So this was one thing that we had to do and then eventually, towards the end of the War, he would say ‘Take this and drop it off there and there.’ And it was obviously for partisans, guerrillas, so you know, he said ‘It’s extremely dangerous and you can do it, as a little boy.’
It was just a few kilobytes of memory, but I was able to do a little coding in Basic. I even programmed my own little game – this little ghost moving around and collecting some goodies. Similar to one of the games at the time. But computing was certainly in its diapers. It’s come a long ways since then.
Yes, yes. The American planes were coming through that area, going most often to bomb Austria, mainly Wiener Neustadt, where there were some factories which they considered important, and we many times had an alarm and we were so pleased because they had to chase us out of the buildings.
They had to stay with us, in our home, and never move out, never even open the window when mother and I were gone to the office in the morning. They knew they cannot move because you can hear on the lower floor that somebody is walking up there. My first thing here in America, anywhere I went, I would always listen – can I hear the people from above?
I didn’t like the idea of immigration, not only for myself, but also for other people. I thought that it is not the thing to do, that one should stay here and put up with the bulls**t here. So I don’t know how all of a sudden it changed. There are two things in my life that I was refusing or that I was not likely to do – it was my belief not to do them – two things: one is immigration, and the second is a country house. And I did both.
Prague is fun; it’s great. There were a lot of young people where I lived and I became more involved with the art scene there, and I’m very creative so I was writing a blog for SME [a newspaper] and it was all good, and I attempted to sing with a jazz band for a little bit and I attempted to do some theatre, as an actress.