Sense of identity Tag


Frank Schwelb

You know, it was such a terrible thing to happen to my country. I’d always grown up with a memory of the Nazis coming in and killing part of my family and all that, and then we were so looking forward to a peaceful, democratic world after the War was going to be over and we weren’t going to have any…

Otto Zizak Jr.

As a young child, I was into the domestic things that were available so it was fine. I didn’t feel deprived. But in the later years, in seventh, eighth grade, I was getting into bands from abroad and different styles of rock music and whatnot, and that was not available at all. We had to go Poland and buy bootlegged tapes and that sort of thing.

Vladimir Zeithaml

This is not an isolated world anymore; even if people think that it is, it’s not. And what’s happening in Europe will be here really, really soon. So we are in one world. That’s why I feel more like a citizen of the world, and I can imagine that I can live in some other place and it’s still one world. And that’s what I am enjoying most. I learned how to pack.

Jerri Zbiral

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.

Margret Vesely

When I was younger I didn’t want to speak Slovakian. I thought it was a dumb language and I didn’t need and why would I use it. There’s not a lot of Slovakians… There’s no real use for the Slovak language in America, but there are communities that you can get along with. But now I am so thankful that I know Slovak

Antonin Varga

Well, guys thought that the situation would be better in the Czech Republic when it comes to women. And that’s why they left. And they were wrong, of course. And women left because they wanted to have a family, for example. With their kids, or because they wanted to start their family in the Czech Republic.

Michal Tuavinkl

Everything in Czechoslovakia was kind of drab, gray and brown – we went to Austria and it was like a different world. The gas stations with the colorful flags and colors everywhere and new cars. I think that left a huge impression on me. [I thought] ‘I want to live here,’ you know? And Coca-Cola and fries! Eating fries was like ‘Wow.’ It was amazing.

Dusan Surovy

Surprisingly, maybe you don’t know about it but, I went to the American Embassy first, but you had to commit to the draft – not at the Embassy, but once they gave you the entry paper to the United States, you would have to sign up for the draft here. I, as an 18 year old, got scared.

Helena Stossel

I said ‘I’m not going to leave. I’m going to fight for the freedom and I’m staying here.’ I did not want to leave. When we got occupied by the Russians, I was involved in it and [when] I went back, second day, to the hospital, we put posters there and we all wore black because we did that at midnight when the Russian tanks were all around the streets. So I was involved in it and I was hoping that the Prague Spring, nobody is going to kill it because we were going to win.

Richard Stilicha

My grandpa, the communists were threatening and trying to get him to join the Party. They said ‘Look, you are a showcase of Slovak culture. You composed the first national opera. It’s appropriate for you to be in the Party.’ And he always refused.