"In 1968 and later, we'd go to Hungary frequently because more goods were on offer there than in Czechoslovakia. There was even a train which used to go from Prague to Budapest and back around Christmas time, and it was always packed. Hungary was a more free environment back then. During the communist era, there was a butcher shop on Wenceslas Square in Prague. In the shop window, they had canned meat. No fresh meat, nothing apart from a picture of Brezhnev. I found that amusing. Then I took my director to Hungary and he was surprised to see butcher shops actually selling meat there."
"In Hungarian schools, there was a level of benevolence. We hadn't said 'comrade teacher'. We used terms such as 'aunt Marta'. Some teachers would indeed greet us 'honor to labour' but most didn't. I recall that I was at a summer camp in fifth or sixth grade. Parents and teachers did the cooking there. It was all fairly spontaneous. Then I went to a Pionýr camp and thought I'd go crazy. We had to wear scarves and so on. The Hungarian camp was spontaneous, we did everything ourselves. Suddenly, all was different at the other one. I never went to another Pionýr camp."
"In Nové Zámky, there were two football teams. One of them was Lokomotiva, representing the Hungarian community. Then there was Slovan, which was Slovak. On the main square, there were two chestnuts. After a match, the Hungarians would meet at one of them and the Slovaks at the other one. But the matches were different than they are today - no rudeness. However, the Party and the government then came up with the idea that there shouldn't be two teams in one town. They had to merge into one stronger one. They did that and it sucked, to say it bluntly."
I am a Hungarian but I have always felt good in Czechia
Béla Szaló was born on 18 April 1951 in Nové Zámky, Slovakia. He is of Hungarian origin. His father worked at the railway station, his mother taught in a Hungarian school. He graduated from a Hungarian grammar school and in 1969, began studying electrical engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague. He struggled at first because he had not had a command of Czech language, despite being expected to study a difficult technical field in it. Following graduation and a year-long military service, he joined the Energoinvest company. He then worked at the directorate of Czech Energy Company (ČEZ). He was an active member of the Association of Hungarian Citizens Living in Prague, which organized numerous cultural and social events. He never joined the Communist Party and was vocal in his rejection of the 1968 Soviet army invasion. He served as head of the Association of Hungarians Living in Czech Lands. He had devoted his life to preserving and promoting Hungarian traditions and history.