She got beaten quite a bit in the camps, because you had all this quota that you had to fulfill. Since she was a professional seamstress she was really very good. And she worked very hard, and of course they were on starvation food – they got watered-down beet soup, watered-down oatmeal – that was kind of the food of the day.
Concentration camp Tag
My best friend and schoolmate and his younger brother and older sister, father and mother perished in the concentration camp. I was about 12 or 13 years old. I came to school one morning and he didn’t come. They day before was the last time I saw him, and they never returned back.
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.
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.
They not only killed the people who assisted directly, but also the family members. Often people ask me how come I survived and my brothers, and the only reason why we survived was because my parents were divorced. So even though it was a painful thing, it really saved our lives.
All of a sudden, they yanked me out the cell, brought me to a big room full of people, I did not know… nobody told me what it was about. I was there, there were some people up there on the podium, and I couldn’t make out what it was all about. In about 15 minutes they took me back to the cell.
Our mother, she was jailed twice, and she spent a long time in German jails, and during that time our maid was still with our family and also our grandmother, who came also from a family which was German speaking, so she was looking out for us and actually, it was our grandmother and our maid who saved us when our mother was taken prisoner, when she was in the jail.
I think that the most incredible period for me personally, for us as a young generation at that time, was the invasion of rock and roll. The music. Rock and roll culture. Radio Luxembourg. For us it was a fascinating world because we thought that if this is possible, something over there must be right.