“We couldn't say anything where we were going, and alike, we had nothing. And this was the last village, where you did not have to have a card yet, where no one still was. Well, we did it all. And I said to him, 'How do we recognize you at that station or where...' And he replied: 'You just get off and there's a village right there. Small, tiny village. And there is a dirt road in the fields. On the other side of the road is a cemetery with a large wall between the cemetery and the dirt road. And you go to the cemetery. It is open and you keep walking along that wall in the graveyard. On the other there is a path. 'I said to him: 'Where can I find you or recognize or see you?' - 'Don't worry about that, I'll see you, and that's enough.' Now I was thinking that the guy could just take our money and he'll let us be, which wouldn't even be the worst thing possible, but... So we went, we're still going and it was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. And nowhere was no one at all, we were the only ones who got off there. And so we're still walking through the cemetery, there was no one there either. Many Germans were buried there, the Sudetenland already existed back then. And so I looked around, nowhere, and then suddenly behind that wall he was hiding and kept walking along and observing as if… He was a professional. He emerged and gave us a sing to climb over. And he said: 'Well, let's go now,' and he was dressed just like those workers from the agricultural coop. And he even had a revolver, which would have been of no use against the machine guns that the guards always had. He said, 'Now we will go together to forest and there you will wait in the forest for the next one I bring. Well, he was a real a pro.
“In Salzburg there are the most famous music festivals every year. And a famous personality always introduces them. And right after our revolution (note: the Velvet Revolution), as the communist regime was over here, Václav Havel was invited. He made a speech. You can imagine, and there is always present… at the opening ceremony was the Austrian president and the whole family present. His sons and wife were there, and all of them went in the parade on the way out. Well, I just watched. But our Havel, he was very… Havel promoted us very well, he made a good advertisement for the state. He was just priceless.”
Mnoho šťastných náhod mi v životě pomohlo, ale skutečné štěstí jsem zažil až na svobodě
Karel Kotek se narodil 27. února 1922 v Liberci v rodině vojáka z povolání. S příchodem protektorátu se rodina přestěhovala do Prahy. Totální nasazení prožil v Praze v ČKD, kde se vyráběly průzkumné a spojovací letouny pro německou armádu. Po válce vystudoval obchodní školu a nastoupil práci v rozhlase jako pracovník plánovacího oddělení na zajišťování nákupu. Byl však shledán „kádrově závadným“ a poslán do Kladna do dolů. Podařilo se mu z nich vyvázat a formálně nastoupil na práci v pohraničí. Se ženou Jiřinou se připojili ke skupině uprchlíků z Československé republiky. Přechod hranic se zdařil a manželé Kotkovi se dostali do utečeneckého tábora Valka u Norimberku. Po získání víza do Chile začali manželé v této chudé, krizí postižené zemi podnikat. Z ní odešli do Venezuely, kde se jim dařilo nesrovnatelně lépe. Po listopadové revoluci se manželé Kotkovi přestěhovali do své vlasti, kde ale Jiřina Kotková zemřela na následky dlouhodobé nemoci. Karel Kotek se znovu oženil a žije se svou současnou manželkou Svatavou v Praze. Karel Kotek zemřel 16. března 2020.