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I was in Vienna in August 1968 for a meeting of the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies, of which I was co-founder, and we wanted a 20th country to join. They asked for a volunteer to go to Prague to get Czechoslovakia to do it, and my hand always goes up first.
Because of my parents' love of democracy, we came to America after being driven twice from our home in Czechoslovakia - first by Hitler and then by Stalin.
If you are in Brazil and you grew up in a right-wing dictatorship, you think Marxism is liberating. But if you grew up in Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union is controlling everything and killing people, then you think capitalism is liberating. Neither of those two things are true and it doesn't take a lot brains to understand this.
My parents came to this country after World War II, Jews from Czechoslovakia who had survived Auschwitz and Dachau. They settled with my sister in rural Ohio in the 1950s, where my dad became the town doctor and I was born.
I just happen to know quite a lot of what happened in Czechoslovakia between 1968 and the fall of Communism.
My parents were of the generation who thought they were the children of a free Czechoslovakia, the only democracy in central Europe.
Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the '30s, East Germany in the '50s, Czechoslovakia in the '60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the '70s, China in the '80s and '90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists.
Through the inspiration of Vaclav's words, the courage of his dissidence and the integrity of his leadership, Czechoslovakia successfully transitioned from an authoritarian state to a free democracy at the heart of Europe.
Michael D. Higgins
By the time I returned to Czechoslovakia, I had an understanding of the principles of the market.
The Pact of Munich is signed. Czechoslovakia as a power is out.
If I hadn't left Czechoslovakia, I would have been dead.
I escaped from my home country, Bulgaria, to Czechoslovakia and then to the West.
But bread is different. I come from Czechoslovakia, where we eat lots of it, so it's hard to say no. I can't even have one piece, because when I start, I don't stop.
You know what happened, you know, in 1938: France, England, you know, just sold out Czechoslovakia to Hitler.
In Czechoslovakia in 1968, communist reformers appealed to democratic ideals that were deeply rooted in the country's pre-second world war past.
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