Katerina Gruberová grew up in a communist country, behind an Iron Curtain controlled by the country formerly known as the Soviet Union or USSR. 'When I was a child I was very naive and I thought that Czechoslovakia is the best country in the world,' she said, adding that she thought countries without communism were [...]

Katerina Gruberová grew up in a communist country, behind an Iron Curtain controlled by the country formerly known as the Soviet Union or USSR.
'When I was a child I was very naive and I thought that Czechoslovakia is the best country in the world,' she said, adding that she thought countries without communism were 'poor and dangerous.'
'These ideas were a part of the communist regime. They [communist leaders] spoke to everyone, even to children. We were under pressure all the time. Children believe adults, so I believed them about everything. I wanted to be a part of the Communist Party because I thought this was right,' she said.

Katerina, however, maintained her own perspective about the world she lived in, which ultimately led her to see communism in a different light. 'I couldn't understand how it is possible that I was alive That I can say: I am That is me I was thinking about my inner world, how I can be in this world and be me,' she said.

'Later I considered that communism is not good. I couldn't say what I meant, what I wanted, [and] I couldn't do what I liked. Also, I saw how much my mom had to work, how she is tired and how little money she brought home. We couldn't spend our time with our parents, as they worked on weekends,' she noted.

The restrictions placed by the communist regime also meant that she could not visit other countries, outside of the Iron Curtain. 'I wanted to become a sailor or journalist. I wanted to travel,' she said.

She also observed that restrictions were not equally imposed upon all. 'I saw how some people could do anything and they were privileged. I wasn't too happy because of seeing this. I could think anything but spoke only a bit,' she said.

Communism fell in Czechoslovakia as the result of peaceful protests against the government during the last six weeks of 1989. Due to the absence of a violent conflict between the government and its citizens, the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia came to be known as the Velvet Revolution, which culminated in the election of playwright Vaclav Havel as president of the country on December 29, 1989.

Katerina, whose husband Petr died of cancer only four years ago, now strives to make her own way as a single mother in the post-Communist Czech Republic.