Central Europeans reflect on life before the fall of the Berlin Wall
I put there just a blank paper because there was nobody who represented me
Bratislava, Slovak Republic, 2009
Pavol Krajcer, Student
A lot of my views about communism are from my parents. Both of my parents had negative attitudes towards communism. My mom’s family in Nitra had a piece of land and a factory so they lost it when private ownership was banned. It was like it was stolen from them. The communists harassed her father, my grandfather, until he died. My dad could not get into the university that he wanted to, despite being a good student, because his father was not a member of the party. So they did not have a good experience with communism.
Normally I don’t think about how much freedom I have because I don’t know what it looks like to live without freedom, but sometimes it hits me. When my dad talks about what it was like when he was growing up I realize how different it is for me. I have never been chased by somebody or watched by somebody so I don’t know how that feels. But to have the freedom to travel and the right to vote freely in an election I know how that feels and these freedoms are important.
In the most recent election I went to vote because I think that it’s my duty, but I put there just a blank, white paper because there was really nobody who I agreed with or who represented me. It is stupid for me to not vote, so I went, but I don’t feel that it is right to vote for people who I don’t feel good about.
Sometimes I think that I might want to get into politics because I have the feeling that I want to change something, but you see a lot of young people who went into politics full of ideals and after a couple of years they change. I don’t want that to happen to me - to lose my faith. But I am also an idealist and I want to make change, maybe by being a teacher. Everybody can make change at some level.
This interview was in English
Photo by Janeil Engelstad