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  1. When they arrested dad, mom committed suicide

    • Category: Children of the Others
    • I was six years old in 1952 when the secret police arrested my dad. He was supposed to be a witness at the Slansky trial [the accused General Secretary of the Communist Party]. After dad’s arrest, mom injected me with the same stuff that she killed her dad, her sister and then herself. I survived because somebody took me to a children’s hospital. The pediatrician, who saved my life, paid a big price for refusing to let the secret police to take me away. He lost his job and he was forbidden to practice medicine anymore.

  2. To punish or not to punish a judge who sent an innocent woman to the gallows?

    • Category: Other
    • By Jiřina Šiklová; translated from Czech, originally published in Literarni noviny 7/2/2OO7

      Several people asked me whether I sought justice because of the persecution I experienced during the communist regime. I did not. I did not want to waste my time suing those who caused my persecution and ostracism of my children. Why should I?

  3. How come that dad said such idiotic things about himself

    • Category: Children of the Others
    • Anna …

      Born January, 1942 in Oxford, England Lives in Prague

      After my father’s arrest, we moved out of Prague to live with my grandmother. I was ten and I was the only person my mother could talk to about our situation. 

  4. I was more taken back by persecution of communists

    • Category: Children of the Others
    • Intorduction

      The questions posed to me by Jana Svehlova are more applicable to individuals who were much younger than I was when our parents were imprisoned. In the fall of 1949, at the time of my father’s arrest, I was twenty eight. A year later when my mother was arrested, I was twenty nine. Furthermore, I survived with my brother and my mother the Holocaust in Terezienstadt and in Auschwitz. Although my both parents joined the Communist Party, they did not belong to the upper echelon. My age and the parents’ position in the Party will make a difference in my answers. Most of what I am saying here is already covered in my autobiographical book “Zivot mezi úzkostí a nadejí” (nakl. Paseka, 2002); translated title would be “Life between anxiety and hope.”

  5. The Comrades executed Dad and imprisoned Mom — Karel Sling

    • Category: Children of the Others
    •  Karel Sling

      My father was a Jew, a Communist, and he worked as a medic during the Spanish Civil War. My mother is English. She was a member of the British Communist Party and she is an Oxford graduate. They met in England during the war.


    • Category: Other
    •  KEY WORDS: political psychology, Stalinism, show trials, socialism

      By Jana Svehlova

      With the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 — at the end of World War I — the Allies recognized the efforts of Czech and Slovak leaders to form a Czechoslovak Republic. This new republic’s large educated middle class adopted a constitution based on an American model. Prague’s University Professor Tomas Garrigue Masaryk became the first president of the newly formed Czechoslovakia.

  7. The Director’s Daughter

    • Category: The Daughters' Stories
    •       When I searched for daughters of political prisoners, willing to talk about their experiences, one of the criteria was age 5—12 during the 1950s. Mrs. K. responded with a letter stating, “… I would like to participate even though I am older than the requested elementary school age.  My father was imprisoned for 5 years from 1949 to 1954 in Leopoldov, Ruzyn, at the end in Rocov [notoriously cruel prisons]. If there is an interest, I would like to talk to anybody.  With sincere greetings and wishing all the best, (signature).”

  8. Fairytale Story

    • Category: The Daughters' Stories
    • When Mrs. O. arrives at the hotel, she orders salad with a comment, “I’ve got to lose some weight.” She suggests she will begin with her childhood, informing me “What I am going to tell you is what I heard from my grandma. I don’t remember because I was a baby when my dad, as a forester, found a wounded man who was shot by the security police. He gave him shelter at our home. Then he brought in two young physicians to treat the wounds. The two physicians, for that medical emergency care, were arrested shortly after and hanged.”

  9. The Girl from Prague

    • Category: The Daughters' Stories
    •  h

      When Mrs. M. mentions that she is nervous about the interview, I tell her that I share her feelings because she is the first of the respondents I am interviewing. I suggest starting with her childhood memories. It is now 10 a.m.

  10. Two Sisters – Mrs. J.

    • Category: The Daughters' Stories
    • j

      Miss. S. leaves the room and comes back with her younger sister Mrs. J. The three of us chitchat for a few moments. I reassure them what matters are their individual views on the events, rather than whether their stories match. The older sister leaves the room and the younger sister and I sit at the opposite sides of the dining room table. Mrs. J. is nicely tanned from her seaside vacation abroad.

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