Blažena Stránská

* 1925  

  • “Pavel and Ivanka went to the USA. At those times, we were already really good friends with Ivanka. And they came back and Ivanka was excited. She said: ‘You must go to the USA! Imagine that they deliver milk to the 150th floor!‘ Well she could not stop thinking about the USA. She told me: ‘You have to go there!‘ And I said: ‘I am not going there. I will stay here. I will wait until we can come back.‘ They said that it would be five years at that time. But she was so to say nagging me, so I applied for an emigration visa to the USA so that she would leave me alone. There were people there who were waiting three years for the visa and I got it in three months. Because I fell under quota 3C and it concerned all the emigrants who lived in the West between that ant that year for more than two years. And I fell under it because I spent more than two years in England. And so I went to the USA and have been there ever since.”

  • “I came and spent the whole night in the forest to orient myself when the sun rises. The sun rose so I walked in the opposite direction, to the west. And I was really lucky because I got out of the forest and saw a soldier who was riding a bike. And I could not go on walking because it was already March and my feet were swollen because of the snow and I was cold and unwell. And I did not know where I was and I said to myself that I would give up. And I went to see the soldier. I told him that I did not know where I was and he told me: ‘I saw you crossing the borders. You are in Germany.‘”

  • “I could not get a job there because everyone who had returned from the West was immediately suspicious of espionage. They told me because I could speak English and Czech perfectly and German very well: ‘We would need you but we are afraid to.‘ And no Czech company employed me. So I got a job in Reuters News Agency. My boss there was an Englishman and I translated the news.”

  • Full recordings
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    Praha, 14.06.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 34:34
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 14.06.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 01:41:09
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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I was always oriented towards the West

Blažena Stránská in 2018
Blažena Stránská in 2018
photo: The Memory of Nation - Archive

Blažena Stránká, née Hromádková was born on 5 August 1925 in Pilsen. Her father Hynek was a mining engineer and he and her mother Marie lived in the village of Břasy where the witness attended elementary school. Her further education was interrupted by WWII. After it, she went to England for a two-year study stay. She returned to Czechoslovakia after the communist putsch in 1948 but she could not find a job in Czech companies because of her stay in the West. She worked for Reuters and for British-European Airways for some time. She decided to escape across the borders to the Federal Republic of Germany because she was afraid that she would have problems with the regime. There she found a job in Radio Free Europe where she also met her future husband Jan Stránský. She moved to the USA for good in 1952 and she has lived there ever since. She returned to her homeland in the 1990.