Olga Szantova spent her childhood in New York City. There she learned to speak flawless English, which helped Olga get a job with Czech Radio's English-language "American Section."
Olga spent four years in Africa in the 1950s with her first husband, journalist Miroslav Prchal, who was covering Ghana and English-speaking West Africa.
By the late 1960s Olga was back in Prague and broadcasting for Czech Radio. In 1967 and 1968 the Communist Czechoslovakian government relaxed some its laws, including censorship. The reforms were known as the Prague Spring.
Olga remembered this as a wonderful time at the radio station, "All of a sudden we did not have to show every word we were going to put into the program to the censor."
But everything changed on August 21, 1968. Soldiers from the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia's Communist neighbours invaded to crush the reform movement. The USSR saw the new freedoms in Czechoslovakia as a threat to the Soviet Union and the Communist Bloc. And in the Cold War this was something the totalitarian regime would not tolerate.
The invaders seized the radio station. Olga and her colleagues went underground and covered the invasion from a clandestine studio. It took some ingenious engineering by the radio technicians to rig up a studio and to avoid the jammed frequencies.
"A group of us managed to concentrate in one of the radio buildings outside this main building. And for practically two weeks we did broadcast from there the true story of what was going on," said Olga.
But Olga and her colleagues could not hold out for ever against the Soviet occupiers. They were forced to surrender. Olga was punished harshly for her role in the radio resistance.
"After the Soviet invasion of 1968, Olga was cut off from the profession she loved. For twenty years she was not allowed to have anything to do with radio," wrote Olga's colleague David Vaughan. She sold fruit and vegetables and knit sweaters to make a living.
In 1990 Czechoslovakia rejected Communism. And Olga returned to her beloved radio air waves. She died in 2003.
A book honouring Olga was published in 2006 by her second husband Juraj. The title translates into English as "I Didn't Live in Vain".
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