“That was when I enrolled at school, at first we went to elementary school in Vokovice, it was just around the corner. But then the Wehrmacht moved in, we had to walk to Liboc. It was about 45 minutes away by foot. When there was an air raid, we were chucked out of school to go and hide. But we had to run home and on our way, there was a viaduct so that’s where we always hid. When the planes were gone, we continued running.”
“Even though it was an important connection, thanks to them we got a car, a beautiful and large Rambler which was just further nail in our coffin. We had to go to the embassy because there was no food in Guinea. What we ordered from Tuzex, was delivered to embassy. When the plane landed, we had to go to pick it up. Since the Czech ambassador arrived in Skoda 100 and we came by the Rambler, we obviously damaged our cadre profile. Ex post we found out about all the cops who were hired to monitor us in Africa.”
“My husband received German visa from a German ambassador. But what to do, not to be deprived of it? I had a small transistor radio which my husband took apart and put visa into cylinder where the batteries were. They loaded the car on the ship. They could travel by ship because it went to Yugoslavia, to Koper. There was a border, obviously, they wouldn’t let them through. Yugoslavs were quite generous and on top of it, my brother in law had an ex-girlfriend in Trieste. She got married to an Italian, who was one of the big shots in Trieste. My brother in law called his ex and she told her husband off because the Italians didn’t want to let them through the border. They were saying: ’No, no, no,’ and none of the asylum seekers were allowed to cross. But then the comandante arrived, that’s how he was called, and he lined them up. It was at Yugoslavia border in Croatia, Croatians knew very well, they weren't allowed to let them cross. But then they took the passports and permit inside the house. After a while, they walked out and just waved with their hand. My husband said afterwards that when he moved the car, he was afraid that my brother in law, who was in another car behind him would ram into his car the way he was rushing.”
Růžena Zahradníčková was born on October 26, 1934 in Prague into a family of the first clarinettist in the State Opera in Prague. When the war ended, she enrolled into grammar school and in 1952 she started to study dentistry at the Faculty of Medicine of Charles University in Prague. During her studies she met her future husband, a doctor, who was a son of prestigious surgeon and orthopedist Jan Zahradníček. After their daughter was born at the beginning of 1960s, the family moved to Šumava. In 1966, her husband received a travel permit and a job offer to work in Guinea within development projects of the CSSR. Růžena worked as a dentist. After the August 1968, together with her husband they organised a petition in foreign diplomatic offices against the military invasion. In autumn 1969 they refused to sign the statement of approving the military occupation of ČSSR. By the end of the 1970 they were withdrawn from Guinea, and on their return journey they were not given the travel permit to western countries. It influenced their decision not to return home, but to emigrate illegally to West Germany. Immediately, Růžena found a job in Germany and later she took over a private dental practice. The family decided “not to buy themselves out”, thus they did not visit Czechoslovakia until 1990. Only then she found out how many of her family friends belonged to ŠtB informers.