Escape Photos from the Vodenkas’ Journey for Freedom

Experience the journey through pictures taken during the escape from Czechoslovakia and request for asylum in the United States, where Peter and his family now enjoy citizenship and freedom.

Peter's Hometown in Czechoslovakia

Where it all began! Peter’s hometown in Czechoslovakia–Mnisek Pod Brody

Peter and the car used in the escape

Peter will use the family car and a vacation as critical elements in the escape plan he’d been working on for 10 years.

Peter's wife and children at the Adriatic Sea

Peter and his family stop at the Adriatic Sea on “vacation” 2 days before tackling the well-guarded border between them and freedom.

Peter's wife and children preparing a picnic meal while hiding behind the family car

Ever so close to freedom, the family hides behind the car to have a picnic meal before braving the final stage of their life-changing journey.

Peter's son with scratches on his face from the escape across the Czechoslovakian border

Although injuries were minor, Peter and his family did not escape Czechoslovakia unscathed.

Peter's wife and children with a good samaritan who helped them continue their journey for freedom

After escaping from Czechoslovakia, a kind woman offers them their first taste of freedom.

Peter and the children waiting for a US consul interview

With death and imprisonment behind them, Peter now faces the challenge of an interview with the US consul to apply for defection.

Peter and his family wait for their flight to the United States

Peter’s dream is about to take flight, literally, as he and his family await their plane to the USA, a land he has dreamed of since boyhood.

Peter and his family with two Czechoslovakian members of First Lutheran Church, their US sponsor

As refugees, the family was so grateful for their sponsor, First Lutheran Church. Two sisters in the congregation shared their Czechoslovakian heritage and spoke their native tongue, making the transition to life in the US easier.