Vít Frank Mutl

* 1947

  • "I went to Yugoslavia and we crossed the border. We didn't have any papers, we crossed the border and we walked through the forest and mountains overnight. And what I remember about it is that there were soldiers down below us and we were already close to the border and we just, we did something and they suddenly started screaming there. And we ran and the dogs barked. Well, we got to Italy between the border where Austria, Italy and Slovenia are. There you could escape. We crossed the border, they Italians caught us. And they were Italians, as they are... they wore such hats with feathers and they were so happy to catch someone at the border and they kept offering us cognac. Because we didn't have anything to drink, we wanted water, I remember that. They threw us in a prison in Trieste and we were there for about a month, in prison, before they found out that we weren't criminals or anything like that. And what I remember is that they made us eat spaghetti every day. Every day we got spaghetti and no meat at all; it was just the tomato sauce with spaghetti."

  • "Why did I run away? Most of it was because I was, well, as they say, I was very weak when I was a little boy. I had polio when I was a little kid and I felt a little bit like that. .. I wasn't that strongly worked out. I was thinking, just telling myself... And I think I was so suppressed a little bit. But I was thinking, at that time you couldn't travel anywhere under communism, you couldn't go out there , nothing. And I thought to myself, 'Well, my life is so miserable, what am I going to do? I want to see the world, I'm going to escape into the world to at least enjoy myself. To know what it really is about.'"

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Edinburgh, 28.05.2022

    duration: 01:19:00
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

America opened doors for me

Frank Vít Mutl (en)
Frank Vít Mutl (en)
photo: žákovský tým

Frank Vít Mutl was born on January 20, 1947 in Chrlice near Brno. He had polio when he was young, the effects of which continued to limit him. After a year of studying at the university, in 1968 he decided to emigrate. He crossed the border between Italy, Austria and Slovenia, after a short stay in prison, he spent another four months in a refugee camp and then flew to the USA. There he learned English and supported himself by various jobs. To avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, he relocated to California after six months in New York. He eventually settled in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he also lived at the time of filming the interview (2022).