• During the communist era very few citizens of the eastern bloc were allowed to travel to the west, except for politicians and sportsmen. Travelling amongst countries such as East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, and Yugoslavia were allowed. But even that was difficult, since the authorities only allowed travel to the eastern block once every two years. Travel to the west on a Czechoslovakian passport required both a “vyjazdna dolozka” (an “exit visa” granted by the passport police) and an entry visa granted by the western country. Only after receiving the “vyjazdna dolozka” (specific to the country of destination) could the traveler apply for an “entry visa”. In addition, the traveler’s employment manager needed to approve the application.
• Top sportsmen from Czechoslovakia would have a number of STB minders when competing in western countries. STB, or “Štátna tajna bezpečnosť”, is Slovak for “State Secret Security”. Essentially they were the Czechoslovakian equivalent to the Russian KGB. STB minders were present as members of the Czechoslovakian delegation at events such as the Olympics, European or World championships. Despite these minders, some successfully defected to the embarrassment of the communist party – Martina Navratilova (tennis), Václav Nedomanský and Richard Farda (hockey), and many others. In the early 1960’s travel rules and political repression was a bit relaxed. But these political changes were not enough and this led to changes in the communist party hierarchy. It also resulted in the attempted reforms of the new General Secretary, Alexander Dubček, referred today as the Prague Spring. On the 21st of August 1968 the Soviet Union and four other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia to halt Dubček’s reforms. This meant in a renewed orthodox communist grip on Czechoslovakia for the next twenty years.
If you missed the previous posts on Dusil, then click on these links:
- 6 • Dusil • Cezar
- 15 • Dusil
- 23 • Dusil • Emigration
- 26 • Dusil • Brothers
- 29 • Dusil • Christmas
- 31 • Dusil
- 34 • Dusil • Inchy
- 36 • Dusil • Pets
- 37 • Dusil • Brothers
- 42 • Dusil • Immigration
• Digital Photo Restoration
News footage from the 21st of August 1968
• In 1969 my uncle requested travel to Paris, His boss asked what would happen to his children. My uncle lied, saying that his children would stay with their relatives. Essentially he was reassuring his boss that my cousins would remain home as “collateral deposit”. This was sufficient to reassure the authorities that the traveler would not defect. On that basis his manager approved their travel request. My uncle subsequently forged his children into the application. They obtained exit visas from the passport police, and then entry visas into France. Ten days later they “forgot” to return. The rest is history…
• Digital Photo Restoration
• 4 minutes 40 seconds
• Postscript by Eva Dusil • 2014 October • Gabičko, this a very cute photo when you were about two months old. I still remember Nanika commenting how well you were able to hold your head up. Love you, Mom, with happy memories.
• Postscript from me • 2014 October • I think I could have won the award for the roundest head in Czechoslovakia.
• 8 minutes 00 seconds
• Postscript by Eva Dusil • 2014 September • This photo was taken at Slavo Sykorsky’s villa in Košice, where we lived until we left Czechoslovakia in August 1969 and emigrated to Canada. Prior to Slavo’s place we lived in Pepo Vosecky’s apartment for short time. You were about four months old.
• Postscript from me • 2014 September • Look at that little baby… Precious!
• 8 minutes 19 seconds
• Postscript from Eva Dusil • 2014 October • These were taken in Košice on the day before we emigrated. We are at the bus station on our way to Bratislava to catch our flight to Paris the following day. In Bratislava we slept over at a rental apartment with Slavo and Milica Sykorsky. We arrived at Orly Airport in Paris, late in the afternoon on the 5th of September – on Vašek’s birthday. As we landed in France we finally felt free. Our first night was in a university dormatory, since the fall semester had not yet begun. You took your first steps that night. During the trip you had a bad cold, runny nose and fever, but a couple days after arriving in Paris you were fine.■ My father-in-law didn’t know that we were leaving, and later told us he would have informed the authorities.
Alexander Dubček, dusil.com, Eva Dusil, Eva Kendeova, Erika Dusil, Gabičko, Gabriel Dusil, Igor Fridrich, Karol Dusil, Lokomotiva Košice, Martina Navratilova, Pepo Vosecky, Prague Spring, Richard Farda, Robert Dusil, Slavo Sykorsky, STB, Stefan Bartus, Truncheon Law, Vaclav Dusil, Vašek Dusil, Václav Nedomanský, Vlado Makovsky, vyjazdna dolozka, Warsaw Pact invasion, Štátna bezpečnosť, Štátna tajna bezpečnosť