A museum has posted some videos of my dad discussing his anti-Nazi resistance, arrest by the Gestapo, monitoring troop movements on behalf of the local partisans and disarming explosives planted by the Germans in the last days of the Second World War.
After the Communist coup in 1948, he talks about becoming a courier of secret documents and when he was about to be caught, how he and a number of other hijackers successfully tampered with a passenger train’s brakes so that it hurtled across the German border, carrying them and a number of civilians to freedom. That occured on September 11, 1951 (50 years to the day before 9/11). The event was widely reported in the Western media (I have some old copies of the NY Times articles on the event from the days following). The locomotive in question was quickly dubbed ‘The Freedom Train.’ He spent some time in a refugee camp before emigrating to Canada.
My father a few years ago wrote a well-received book (Z deníku Vlaku Svobody – “About the Freedom Train” – unfortunately in Czech only) about his escape. More recently he wrote a short article about his life before leaving Europe (starts on page 14). He is currently starting to work with a well known Czech documentary filmmaker (Tomáš Kudrna) on a project about this period of his life.