My Escape from Communism

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This page serves the purpose to document and explain to the reader how I ended up in California including my escape from the communist Czechoslovakia. The documentation doesn't really start from the beginning of the one way ticket trip, which was in Branik, the district of Prague; my then home and still my mom's home today. Me and my friend set off in the afternoon sometimes in mid August of 1984. We drove my friend's VW Bug the whole night crossing the communist borders of Czechoslovakia near the Slovak capital Bratislava and a few hours later we drove from Hungary to Yougoslavia.

On this picture during our first overnight stop I am sitting on the balcony of youth hostel in today's Bosnian capital Sarajevo. In the background is possible to see the downtown high rise buildings that became famous by being destroyed not less than 10 years later in bitter and bloody civil war.


Left is a picture from our next stop the next day in the historical city of Mostar that was also heavily damaged during the war including the 15th century bridge that was completely destroyed. On the pictures is the original, of course, but today's turists can enjoy almost identical replica that was built few years after the war.

Click on the picture to get couple of more images how Mostar looked like in the summer of 1984...

The campground at Bacinska Lakes by Adriatic Sea was our official destination as per our travel permit. You can see the legendary VW Beetle that served us the only purpose as the vehicle for the escape. It was purchased just a few days before the trip and about a month later it was ruthlessly abandoned in the streets of Yougoslavian capital Belgrade. It performed almost flawlessly except that the engine caught on fire during our excursion to Dubrovnik, after wich it was somehow stitched back together in the local repair shop and we were able to drive it to its ultimate destination somewhere in the dark alley of Belgrade.

By clicking on the map you can see more details of our border crossing to Austria, which was then highly illegal and if caught it would earn us something like a week in Yougoslavian jail. In case the Yougos would get crazy and deported us, it would be another story. Our lives would be actually destroyed depending on our behavior. If we played the game and followed the script of the Czech communist puppet masters, we may even get off with no sentence at all. However, I was not planning on getting caught and I wasn't gonna act according no puppet master's script. We recieved a good advice from some fellow Czech and Vietnamese refugees in Belgrade and crossed the border on foot to Austria on the night from 8th to 9th September 1984.

Click on the map to toggle between the more detailed map with the route of my escape and the map of Europe.

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