On August 21, when the Soviets came around, I don’t know how it even happened, but my dad said I had to come home and so one of the officers called me to his office and said ‘There is a letter from your dad, and you need to come home,’ which under normal circumstances was absolutely unheard of.
Military service Tag
I have a diploma in Marxism-Leninism. I was vice-chairman of the head and neck surgery department so, as one of the top positioned physicians, I had to be well educated in politics. So Marxism – the philosophy and economy and whatever else comes… I had to go and take a state exam at the state board, and I have a diploma in political sciences now.
I was in class when it happened. Suddenly everybody went out. Everybody spent a couple of days, a couple of nights, on the streets, and we knew it was over. You knew from the beginning it was over. There was a lot of excitement because now we recognize multiple parties, multiple goals and strategies for how to make people happy in politics.
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.
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.
I was then taken to some interrogating place in the city of Plzeň, right in the center, which was formerly Gestapo, I knew it too, where I was. And then subjected to about 78 days continuous interrogation. The sessions were long, and to share and to talk about them – that’s a book by itself.
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.”
We had some history books in the school always, and on the front of the history books was a tank, a Russian tank, with a flower and it said ‘we liberated you’. And I found out in 1968, which was the Prague Spring, I bought every week a Slovakian magazine called Expres, and they started to put a lot of stuff in, and I found out the southwest of our country was liberated by General Patton!