My Escape from Communism

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Here I am posing with my mom somewhere in downtown Vienna, Austria. This was her second visit shortly before my departure to the US. The Czechoslovakian communist government established a practice issuing the travel permits for the parents of political refugees for the purpose of talking to their sons and daughters and convincing them to return to their socialist homeland. My mom was lucky to visit me twice, but obviously she failed her mission quite miserably each time.

This is a picture of the car I was driving the last couple of months in Austria in the spring of 1985 before my departure to the US. It was Škoda 100 that I bought for less than was the junk metal worth from a young Czech family that left to Australia. At the time the picture was taken the insurance and registration was long expired, but the car was running and I was only pulled over once for speeding in a village when I honestly overlooked the entry sign. I don't remember how was I able to talk to the Austrian policeman into letting us go without even an issuing a ticket. In addition to this I am not sure how this thing managed to get in the middle of the Alps for our hike just a few days before our departure...

I remember Vienna as a city that Prague would have been if there were no communists in the Czech government. The architecture and style was the same, but the people, the cleanliness of the streets and the fun and its spirit that provided to its visitors and inhabitants was unmatched with any city I've seen to that day. I felt incredible warmth and happiness to see people expressing their views freely and would never understand some of the characters who were demonstrating for peace by disarmament of the western countries. One of them is on this picture. I thought that one belonged more to a mental institution than just roaming the streets of this beloved city. I would never guess how many more alikes I would see and meet later on...

I am enjoying one of the last sunsets on the sidewalk of a mountain hotel in Mariaschutz, Austria, where I spent my last two weeks in the Old World. All the refugees that were accepted to immigrate in the US had to be trained and taught about the life in the US during the stay in this hotel. It was quite wonderful, the air was clean and the weather was warm, I could not wish for better and more enjoyable conclusion of my escape from communism.

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