Jana 1960

Salvador da Bahia
Newspaper Delivery Girl
Golf Caddie
Camp Leader
Nurse's Aid
Alpine Herdswoman
Office Worker
School Psychologist
Course Instructor

MAY 1966: I proudly show off my badge collection. My father's friend offers me a hundred crowns for it, I refuse. My father beams and tells his friend that I am going to give him the collection as a present. He pays me for it afterwards.

AUGUST 1968: I am woken by my cousin crying. She’s at the window looking down at the Warsaw Pact tanks driving past the junction. All day. A young soldier stands there stiffly pointing the way. At lunchtime people from the village take him soup and tea. The Prague Spring is over.

AUGUST 1970: I stand in front of my class. For a year I have been living with my mother and grandmother in Switzerland, known only as Johanna. I demand my own name back. It is not a problem.

SEPTEMBER 1985: Children cling on to me in a home for street children in Mandirituba, Brazil. I get a sense of what it means to be abandoned.

FEBRUARY 1989: I travel behind the Iron Curtain – I have not been back since I left. In Prague I see people gathering at night in the silent streets. They stand in front of shop windows with televisions. The next day I meet my father for the first time in twenty years. We spend four days together.

DECEMBER 1989: I am in Prague for the second time and take part in every demonstration. Václav Havel and Peter Uhl are in prison. With my boyfriend I ring the bell at Peter Uhl's apartment, his wife opens the door to us strangers and asks us in immediately after he has introduced himself as Matthias F. from the Fourth International. After working on a translation for an hour we two women chat in Czech.

MARCH 2003: My husband and I stand at the counter of the Czech embassy in Berne. I am reapplying for citizenship. My children will also become Czechs, we now have dual nationality. I cry.

MAY 2004: I read books by David Grossmann and Haim Omer.

SEPTEMBER 2009: My husband moves out.

OCTOBER 2013: For two months my son and I have been living alone. My daughter will be of age when she returns from Canada in a year’s time. The pain of the separation from my husband gradually eases.