In 1950 František Beneš escaped to Austria with the help of a smuggler. Together with other young people from his native commune Hrušky in South Moravia he had one main goal: helping the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia. He was convinced that the regime would end in two years and he would return from the West as a liberator with the Americans.

He had the same goal as the young men who left prior the outbreak of the World War II to fight for their endangered country to France and later to England. They wanted to fight for freedom. From nearby Lanžhot thus Antonín Bartoš and his father left for England in 1940. They came to London and Bartoš jr. later became the commander of special mission: Airdrop Unit Clay - Eva, which was dropped at midnight 12th April 1944 in the Protectorate territory. The unit was extremely successful and Bartoš became a model for many young men in South Moravia. But the situation at the end of the 40s and in the 50s was already very different.

Beneš was harshly mistaken. He spent forty long years in exile. And what's more, his brother, who wanted to break through the Iron Curtain by a self-made tank in 1970, eventually escaped too and joined him abroad.

For his escape across the Iron Curtain Beneš used the services of a smuggler, the legendary František Gajda from Lanžhot who used the route through deep alluvial forests between the rivers Morava and Thaya. Actually, it was the last successful transition of Gajda; the border guard waited for him and shot him dead on his next tour.

After it became clear that the World War III will not commence, František Beneš settled in Canada and he only returned to his homeland after the fall of Communism.

Photo gallery

František Beneš - archive photo
František BenešFrantišek BenešFrantišek BenešFrantišek BenešFrantišek Beneš

Two brothers in the USA
Two brothers in the USA

František Beneš - contemporary photo
František Beneš

Walking route suggestion

  1. Hrušky – Beneš`s house
  2. Tvrdonice – the place of escapees` meeting
  3. Lanžhot – the place of meeting with Gajda
  4. The Thaya River, where they waded
  5. Kostická váha – direction Lanžhot, the place where they crossed roadway