He was just upset with the lack of freedom, but the details he would know more than I. He actually wanted to escape by flying over the Dunaj (the Danube River) into Austria – there’s a peak above the river – with a hang glider at one point. He wanted to actually do that. So those were some pretty extreme measures that he was planning.
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.
I spent six months in Italy living in Rome with a Catholic priest attached to a Slovak bishop who was there, was part of the Vatican. Essentially their mission was to help refugees – at that time there was a lot of refugees in the refugee camp south of Rome – so I was helping them out visiting the refugees.
And every day we heard this humming and saw thousands and thousands of B-17s and B-24s flying over, and the sirens of course. The Germans had flights all around but they were not shooting because the plans were really high. But it was something that I never forgot because all over you see the [hum of the planes], and they were floating down these small strips against radar. And this I remember very well.
I have a very interesting memory, which can be pinned down to an exact date, so I know how old I was when I remembered it. I remember sirens, and at that time we lived on Londýnská 81 and we were going from the second story down to the basement, and I remember sitting underground in the cellar with one of the persons being dressed up in military fatigues with a gas mask, and he was the organizer of the safety of the citizens.
I didn’t know the countryside, but I had a map and a compass and it was a chance we took. The border guard came five minutes after we crossed; as a matter of fact, when we were crossing, I heard somebody hollering, some dog barking, and what sounded like shots. But we said ‘Oh the heck with it’ and we just kept going.”
When the Communists came to power, nobody believed that it would last. It was very unusual; it actually had never happened before. So when they confiscated all our property, my grandma – being a smart woman – decided that since this wouldn’t last she would save some of the stock somewhere else. Save it. Just believing that one year or two years after she could resume the business. Well, they found it.