In a rich English family, she had to shower an eight-year-old. What followed surprised her even more

The experience of the first Slovak au pairs is wide-ranging. Some dealt with sexual harassment or no windows in their rooms, others had a wonderful time.

Věra Janičinová during her au pair stay in Germany in 1996. (Source: Courtesy of V. J.)

When Petra Braunová was working as an au pair, there were no agencies in Slovakia to help find stays abroad connected to childcare. As soon as the Iron Curtain fell and the borders from the communist bloc to the West opened, she set out for France at the instigation of her father.

"I went into the unknown solely with the address of my father's best friend from the Buchenwald concentration camp. My father taught me French and as a little girl I wrote his friends in France long letters full of mistakes," Braunová recalled.

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