Fred was born in Czechoslovakia in a town near the Polish border. Fred and his family were forced by the Germans to relocate east to a town bordering Slovakia. At the end of 1942, they escaped from the town and went into hiding. The family hid in bunkers in the forest until the end of the war. They moved every few weeks to avoid detection by the Germans or Slovak authorities. While the family was in hiding, Fred's grandfather made arrangements for Fred to attend school under an assumed name and religion. A year and a half later he returned to the bunker when people began to question his identity. Fred and his family were liberated in May 1945.
It was a hole in a ground. In one corner a small stove and alongside a platform made of logs from fallen trees and on top of the logs was straw covered with a blanket, and you have to visualize, we were... our feet were facing each other. On one side grandmother with grandfather and on the other side my father, my mother and myself and we were touching with feet our grandparents. And when... The bunker had couple steps -- I don't remember, three or four -- and there was a make-believe sort of a door that was blocking it so that there was always semi-dark in the bunker. And when somebody had to go out, he had to go couple, couple yards from the bunker and relieve himself. So, before we went out, we always checked the weather and we tried to go out only when it was either snowing or raining, so to hide.