Nobody Knows The Troubles Don Jr. Has Seen
The Trump Family, circa 1986. as they were escaping communism
February 14, 2020

Bread lines? Really?

Don Jr in the middle wearing his communist kids tuxedo

Ivana and Donald Trump relax in the living room of their Manhattan apartment on March 12, 1979.

She didn’t exactly grow up in a gulag:

When Ivana Trump was growing up, the family lived in one of the city’s distinctive, cube-shaped “Bata houses,” designed in the 1920s as futuristic experiments in family housing by architects from the modernist school of Le Corbusier, thousands of which still dot the hillsides around the factory.

Ivana Trump came of age during the 1960s, when the desire to leave Czechoslovakia was overwhelming for young people who had seen what existed beyond the country’s borders. As the decade wore on, Czechs became more aware of what was available in the West—a mere four hour drive—yet far away for people without hard currency. But only those favored by the regime got to travel abroad. Sports was one way to gain that favor.

Czech communists were proud of their sports stars and film stars, but those who defected disappeared from national news. Czech media reported on tennis star Martina Navratilova’s every move until she left for the West, after which they didn’t even cover Wimbledon. It was a little harder to erase film stars, but when director Milos Forman defected, he was persona non grata until he cut a deal to shoot Amadeus in Prague in the 1980s, bringing millions in hard currency to his home country.

Pushed by her father and her own ambition, Ivana Trump became a good skier and made the junior national ski team, which allowed her to travel extensively. Uphill from Zelnickova’s apartment, there’s still a ski hut and a bunny hill with a jump, where local kids can practice. When Ivana Trump was a kid, she also practiced on winter weekends at her family’s humble country house in the foothills of the Carpathians, and eventually, at a ski camp in the Italian Alps.

In those years, the Czech ski team was small and relatively poorly trained. But by the time she got to college in Prague, Ivana Trump had been to Italy and Austria many times, and was intoxicated by the scent of perfume, chocolate, fashion and hard currency. A striking blonde, she fit into Prague’s hip, young and mobile crowd. “Ivana didn’t want to stay here,” Zelnickova (who at 91 divides her time between New York and Zlin) recalled. “She was always ambitious, and her father treated her like a boy.”

To get out, she married an Austrian skier for the passport. She earned a masters in physical education, but her fate was not to teach gym to future socialist Olympians. She left Czechoslovakia legally on her Austrian passport in September 1972, moving to Canada, and eventually, to New York.

Somehow I really doubt that when she and the kids returned to visit the grandparents that they had to stand in any bread lines.

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