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AUSTRIA: 24 Hours

2 minute read

Peace and freedom for his country are the goals of optimistic Austrian Chancellor Julius Raab, who is planning a journey to Moscow to seek them. Peace and freedom also were the goals sought last week by Hungarian Istvan Bago, 60, his son Johann, his daughter-in-law and their daughter, Maria, 8, as they crawled toward Austria through a mined field on the Red Hungarian border. They had almost reached their goal when one of the Bagos stepped on a mine. Alerted by the explosion, Communist border guards opened fire, but somehow, though two were badly wounded, the family managed to crawl on to Nickelsdorf, a frontier village in the Soviet zone of Austria.

Most of the villagers were afraid to help the Bagos, but one sympathetic Austrian bound up their wounds, and the authorities got them to a hospital. The doctors had barely finished removing the mine splinters when a squad of Russians appeared to demand their return. Istvan begged the Austrian doctors to kill him rather than send him back. The hospital chief warned the Russians that any move might be fatal to the injured. Unheeding, the Russians loaded all four of the Bagos into a waiting ambulance, snatching away the bananas and oranges which nurses pressed into little Maria’s hands. Less than 24 hours after their escape, the Bagos were carted back to Hungary.

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