They did want to take the whole house, and they would come every so often, I remember, when I was a little kid, people would come to our house and they would measure the whole house, because they had some rule, if your property exceeded some whatever square feet, or meters in our case, they had a right to take it.
So we went to a garden restaurant. They’d been celebrating, dancing, and I sat down and I think he ordered some wine or whatever. And then he said ‘Come and dance,’ and I said ‘What are you, crazy?’ He said ‘Come and dance,’ so we’re dancing, then I looked around and the Russians came there. And they come with their machine guns and they looked at the people. He [my guide] said ‘Now be nice, smile at me.’
Actually, I had two aunts, so one was working and the other was supposed to take care of me. But she was partially deaf, so when there was an air raid announced, all children were sent home, and parents came – we were in the first grade, so all the parents came to pick them up – but because my aunt couldn’t hear, nobody picked me up.
When I was in the dorm I believe they knew everything I was talking about. Because those speakers… Every room had a speaker – like a radio – and the speakers were built two-way. And there was a secret room right at the front of that dorm where nobody was allowed to go, only some students who were Communist Party members. Besides that they had also guns with them. So there was something special going on in that room.
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.
There was that one unfortunate, well, peculiar incident just one year before I went to gymnázium when I was on the street with a couple of my friends and one of them was eating, I think it was plums, and was spitting the pits out into the street. And suddenly a German who had a swastika attached to the fender of his car stopped and seized us, claiming that we were desecrating the German flag.
We were schooled for one year where we learned everything about everything, mainly about tanks because I was a tank driver. And the second year we went to Prachatice. And at the end of that, in August 1968, the Russians came and occupied Czechoslovakia, so we thought that maybe we will stay longer in the Army or something but our activities ended
When I tried to bring my parents here, and send an affidavit in 1952 or ‘53, I got a letter from my father. ‘Please do not attempt to do anything right now. Because the situation right now, the only place we would wind up or could get to would be Siberia’ because it was at the time when Stalin was insisting on his program. That was when the Cold War actually started.