I saw horrible things here when the Russians came, and I was totally shocked. It was horrible, horrible how the Czechs behaved badly to the last Germans here. It was something unbelievable; it’s starting to come out now slowly. I didn’t want to live here, and I went to Vienna. I spent several years in Vienna, and from Vienna – the Gestapo were looking for me – I went to Switzerland.
That was the so-called kádrovanie, you know the sort of political… x-ray, you know, who you really are. But the funny thing is, they didn’t find out who you really are. I was lucky that my father was dead. If my father was not dead, I am out of medical school. You know, that’s what your origins are – you know, your belief, your religion – this is what counts. If you were not on their side, on the left side then, that’s it.
I remember this unique experience that people would actually go to the stores and buy socks. They were woolen socks and you would actually take the socks apart and you would recycle the yarn, and so they would knit or crochet a sweater, and then, when I would grow, they would take the sweater apart and add more yarn, but they were still using these socks.
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.
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.
For me it wasn’t too bad because I was traveling. I spent with theatre, from ’58 to ’68 – I was most of the time out of the country. I was in Poland twice, in Russia twice. In Russia, I was there a year and a half. To Bulgaria; I was in Hungary twice. Paris, one month in ’67. Paris was a jump to Miami.
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.
We would hear bombing from whatever was the nearest German town, and all of a sudden one Sunday ‘Americans! They’re coming!’ you know, and so we went to the road, it was a state road which went between Vimperk and Strakonice, and we waved and there were kids, you know, that’s what you see in Afghanistan, that’s what the kids did.
Over there, with kids, we go out hiking or something, we find an anti-aircraft machine gun, we find piles of ammunition and rifles. I remember we found an abandoned Tiger tank and about 15 of us started carrying ammunition and just dumping it in the open hatch – this was deep in the woods – and then we emptied out big shell casings and made a long path of gunpowder that went about half mile away, and lit it. What a bang. That was the entertainment for after the war for kids.