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Monday, 4 June 2012

Desider Stern - From March. '39 until April. '39 - Part 1

On the 15th of March 1939, Desider Stern decides to leave Czechoslovakia by train.

These are Desider Stern's own words retelling the travel:

"At the arrival at the Winton train station, some German officers gnaw on their sandwich.
The travel until Prešov took place without incident. Then my journey came involontarely to an end. Together with 3 other young men, we took a taxi until the next station, from which we wanted to take a train to Košice. Košice belonged to at that time again to Hungary and was at the same time the border point. Although we all had passports, we didn't have a Visa to enter Hungary. The Border Officer was very friendly and made us an offer the deposit the suitcases by him , and rent a room in a Hotel until the entry permits would arrive from Budapest. After 4 days, they arrived and so could we continue our travel to Budapest." 

The taxi was controlled many times by the slovakian army... people in civil with a weapon on their back. They even checked the sandwich of the taxi driver and took it apart of its aluminum foil to see if there wasn't anything hidden inside. 
Desider Stern had to undress completely... they didn't find anything but small change in his pockets... not knowing that the money bills were folded so that he could hide them between his toes.

The 4 were the first to arrive to Košice, were staying to the hotel, and only had to report at the train station at 10 o'clock.
In the 4 days of waiting, 1000s of people left Czechoslovakia, trains were coming and going and these people had to wait for their fate in the train station waiting room.

Desider Stern carried his travel not further worried by the army... because he had nothing on himself and not considered suspicious.

(If you wish to know why Prag named the train station after Nicholas Winton, read & listen here)

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