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František Beneš (1928) - Biography

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When it comes to it, I was always lucky

František Beneš was born on 11 November 1928 into a smallholder's family in the South Moravian village of Hrušky. He trained as a mechanic in the nearby town of Břeclav. He experienced resistance activities in Hrušky during World War II - paratroopers from the CLAY-EVA drop hid there, under the command of Antonín Bartoš, who later organised the activities of agents and border guides after 1948. After 1948 almost 50 citizens of Hrušky emigrated, including František Beneš. Rumour spread around the village that he too was into the illegal border crossings, and so he decided to make himself scarce. He was in a group of ten people, who were taken over the borders to Austria on 17 September 1950, by an acquaintance of his and agent from nearby Lanžhot, František Gajda. After staying at various refugee camps, František found his way to Canada, where he lived until 1991. In 1970 his younger brother Vladimír also attempted to escape. His plan to take his wife and children in a home-built tank was foiled by a malfunction, and so only Vladimír himself reached America. His family was not allowed to join him until 1977. František Beneš returned to Moravia in the early 1990s. He now lives in Hulín.

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