His colleagues were teasing him and said ‘What if you said this?’ When my dad sat before the microphone, he blurted that out, and of course, before he was finished, a couple of Gestapo officers were waiting for him and took him into this infamous Petschkuv Palac. My father wasn’t tortured, but he was interrogated for 24 hours
Communist coup Tag
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.
So we joined someplace and went to this castle to support President Beneš. Oh yeah, many, many thousands. And some people from the streets also joined us and they were supporting us. Only the militia and the police stopped us there. We couldn’t talk to the president.
There was propaganda night and day. Night and day. Communists have the same thing. Night and day propaganda. Propaganda, that’s all they can do, propaganda, because they have nothing else to give. Radio, movies, or news. Propaganda on a streetcar. They write ‘Victory.’ Stuff like that.
Things seemed right; not entirely right, but somewhat right. Things were far worse in Poland, where a person who was a Polish politician who lived on our street in London by the name of Mikołajczyk – they settled accounts with him by machine gun. Assassinations and so on. Things in Prague seemed to be ok, but not exactly right. And the bottom dropped out of things completely in February 1948.
[They] judged and sentenced the farmer immediately for so-called ‘crime against the republic,’ meaning they were accused, for instance, of having for example just an extra goose more than they were supposed to have, or that they didn’t return the proper amount of grain which they were supposed to give to the state, to this supply office. It didn’t need to be true.
Three weeks after the victory, I went to a bookshop and the owner said ‘You were talking German. I’m calling the police.’ I said ‘Yes, I was talking German to an anti-fascist German soldier.’ ‘No, no. You were talking German. I have to tell the police.’ Fortunately, I had my identity card at that time which said ‘Prisoner in so-and-so [labor camp]’ and so I showed it and he said ‘Well, I must have made a mistake.’
We lived in one room. And I believe, off and on, there were either two or three families sharing one room. It was a relatively large room. The bath was actually down the hall, so that was shared by several other families. It was an old army barracks, it was an old kásarna that had been bombed during the War.
We had some political frictions, the Slovaks, but the biggest friction was between the Czechoslovaks and Slovaks. Fights erupted on a weekly basis, and the MPs marched in with big sticks and beat anybody who was outside regardless of what it was, who it was, whether they were fighting or not. Then finally the Germans took over the camp. Rocks were being thrown and even I had to sleep with a pipe in my bed, for my own protection.