For a month, I waited terrified for when they would come for me
Zdislava Michlová was born on 21 May 1924 as one of four children of Mr and Mrs Štván in Bělá pod Bezdězem. However, her family lived in Prague-Smíchov. Her family, and especially her older brother Bohumil, were gravely marked first by the Nazi occupation and later by the Communist takeover of the country. As a young seminarian during WW2, Bohumil was arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo. He was then sent to forced labour in Germany. Later, the Communist regime considered him an unreliable person, and so he underwent compulsory military service in Slovakia in the Auxiliary Engineering Corps (AEC; forced labour). Zdislava herself also has interesting memories. She studied at a Catholic grammar school in Vinohrady, and during WW2 she had to pass her graduation exams in German. In the exhilarating days of the Prague Revolt their family supposedly hosted General Andrei Vlasov himself in their Smíchov flat for one night. After the war Zdislava worked at the Housing Department of the Prague municipal authority, and as such she was witness to the forced exchanges between the owners of better apartments and the people who informed against them. This caused her to quit her job. Zdislava Michlová also remembers her work as a telephone operator at the switchboard of the prime minister’s office, where she received an interesting testimony concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Jan Masaryk (post-WW2 foreign minister, son of first Czechoslovak president T. G. Masaryk; Jan Masaryk died under mysterious circumstances shortly after the 1948 Communist coup, speculations abound on whether he committed suicide or was assassinated - trans.).