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.
The problems were...why we couldn't stay in any place too long. The reasons were very obvious. Number one, in those parts of the country people know one another. The grocer knows that, uh, when a farmer comes to buy his supplies he used to buy for years and years the same amount of supplies. Suddenly he buys three times as much. So, it raises suspicion. What, why do you suddenly need so much food? Uh, problem number two, visibility. Uh, you always had to stay away from windows because somebody may see you through the window. Uh, the people know one another to such an extent that they know exactly in which room you are heating your stove. Suddenly through a chimney that was not used for years, smoke comes out. So, these were all signs that some unusual activity is taking place in the house, and therefore to, uh, lower the level of suspicion we had to be continuously on the move.
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