drunk. He was stupid. He sold out our country. My colleague likes the
So here it is. After all.
And what do their parents have to say about the Communist era?
They all concur: Their parents don’t talk about it.
“There are seven of us here,” Ludvig observes with apparent surprise.
“And none of our parents have said anything about that era.” He muses,
“Perhaps they are sorry they didn’t do more.”
But no one picks up on this.
“What do the schools teach?”
I am told, “We don’t study history after World War II.”
I don’t say it, but this certainly sounds like wide-scale, willed amne-
sia. Are there, perhaps, simply too many uncomfortable memories of
small compromises, of daily indignities? Perhaps there was more com-
plicity than anyone cares to discuss.
The grandparents, though, do remember, and their memories are
not all bad: “They pinpoint the positives for us to see,” Dagmar says to
general agreement. Some of the positives: “Everybody had accommoda-
tions; there were more national companies. People appreciated life more.
Today we are not grateful.”
“Then would you go back?”
Adriana: “I didn’t live in that time. It’s sold as so bad. Maybe I would
try it for a month.”
“You couldn’t travel,” someone puts in.
“You could travel to Siberia,” she shoots back.
“There’s been so much blood,” Adriana says. She may be referring to
the Thirty Years’ War, a religious struggle during which half the citizens
of this region died. Though it took place in the seventeenth century, it is
mentioned here with surprising frequency. Too, she may be thinking of
the nearby village where all the inhabitants were murdered by the Nazis.
The Germans believed, wrongly, that the village had harbored partisans.
And then came the Communists with their show trials, executions, and,
of course, the gulags.
“I think we cannot appreciate history,” Adriana says. “I think we
Dagmar undertakes to sum up for me why Havel’s Velvet Revolu-
tion isn’t the big deal that I take it to be: The coming of Communists
and the fall of Communism are just two turnovers in a long history of
a region dominated by foreign powers. Yes, the Communists are more