About the book:
George Knava seemed destined to lead an ordinary life until history intervened.
He grew up on a farm in the Bohemian province of Czechoslovakia, surrounded by a large, loving family of four sisters and two brothers. Times were hard. It was the depression, and money was scarce, but George had a happy childhood doing all the ordinary things-school, sports, chores, and church.Later, George took the ordinary route that bright young Czech men usually took, going away to college at the State Academy in Churdim. There he studied languages and business, ordinary courses that would enable him to have a better future than the family farm could offer. Then came the morning of March 15, 1939, when Nazi armored vehicles roared into Chrudim-and George Knava's life would never be ordinary again.
The German occupation of Czechoslovakia lasted for six years. It was a time of sadness, tension and rationing, and the constant fear of being arrested and sent off to a concentration camp for no apparent reason.
Finally, in 1945, the Allies liberated Europe, and Czech citizens believed their nation would once again become the splendid little democracy it had been before the war. Instead, Nazi oppression was simply replaced by the iron grip of Communist rule.
By then, George had begun working at a steel company in Prague. But when he refused to join the Communist party, George soon learned that there would be no promotions, no raises-no future in his own homeland.
On a terrifying night in March 1949, George made his way to the Czechoslovakian border. Eluding armed Communist guards, he slipped across the snow-covered boundary into Germany. George Knava was at last on the path to freedom.
Conditions at his interim German refugee camp were lonely and dismal, yet George was sustained by one thought: someday, somehow, he would emigrate to America. But that proved to be impossible, because the United States had no quota for Czech citizens. O nly Australia offered George and opportunity to escape the upheaval of postwar Europe, and he took the chance that the far-away continent could eventually be a stepping stone to the United States.
George Knava never stopped hoping, never stopped working, never stopped dreaming. And one day, he would indeed reach America-the last stop on his quest for freedom.