Cold River: A Survivor's Story is about a man's desire for freedom at a time when none existed. Jozef describes the village in which he grew up with such emotion and sadness that the reader can hear the snow crunching beneath his expectant mother's feet as she makes her way through the snow drifts. This story is fact, not fiction, when you are finished you will know what it is like to taste freedom for the first time. And perhaps feel pain of its cost.
The spirits of my two drowned friends, Ondrej and Milan, are in this story, and so are the spirits of ten thousand others who died at the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall crossings. For better or worse, this is all of their stories, not just mine, for the capacity and desire for freedom is inextricably part of all of us. What happened to me might have happened to any Czechoslovak boy who found himself in the right place at the wrong time. I fell in love with freedom, head over heels in love.
I was born in Vrbov in Czechoslovakia in 1958. I stayed in Vrbov until I was 22. In my earlier, more idealistic, painless days, I believed in dreams, mainly about Vienna, Munich, Reims, New York. All I ever wanted was to see the world. But my dreams were replaced by nightmares, and the nightmares were real. I have changed because of these nightmares, and I now have a need to create something real from a surreal exile, to make the connections between my dreams, my nightmares, and my awakening into a new life.