Friday, December 17, 2010

Leslie Mandoki: My Flight Through the Death Tunnel

Tonight's article is not an old article, but rather one that was published in the German newspaper BILD a few weeks ago. In it, Leslie finally speaks out about his flight from Hungary through a train tunnel in the middle of the night. It's a fascinating look into the "Wild Hungarian" of Dschinghis Khan.

This is part one. I'll post the next part soon!

My Flight Through the Death Tunnel

Tutzing -- Searchlights streak through the night. Armed gaurds patrol their rounds around the Karawankentunnel, accompanied by sharp shepherd dogs.

Leslie Mandoki and his friends Laszlo Bencker and Gabor Csupo observe the scenery from behind a bush. For three days and nights they have been there. They are cold and damp. But Mandoki does not feel it.

He wants freedom. From Hungary to Yugoslavia, the musician has already managed it. Now only this rail tunnel seperates him and his friends from the big goal.

The trio has left their belongings and instruments behind. "I had only notes, certificates, a few poems, a sweater and a pair of drumsticks with me," says Mandoki. His friend Laszlo Bencker noted in an A5 ring binder the times of the changing of the gaurd.

Then it's time. At midnight of the third day, they go running. At the changing of the gaurd, the soldiers play a game of cards. "In order not to alarm the dogs, we threw raw meat into the kennel."

Then they run for their lives. "I was scared to death, because the soldiers had not hesitated to shoot us." Mandoki runs and runs. As fast as he ever has.

The sharp gravel shredded his simple sneakers. His feet are bleeding and he has rat bites on his body. They feared being run over by a train. "Every 50 feet were small bays for the railway workers," says the drummer. "When we heard a locomotive, we had to get there. Because there was no room next to the tracks. And several times we made it at the last second."

After four hours, the trio managed the 8 km route. They were in Austria. "The first thing I saw in freedom was a transformer station. I embraced it in joy. The word 'danger' on it, we didn't understand. We didn't speak German."

Full of optimism, they ran to the next station. "Actually, I was going to go to Sweden, and then to America," says the musician. But first he went with his friends to Munich. That was the beginning of his great love for Germany, and especially Munich.

1 comment:

  1. Makes me realize how lucky I am to live where I do. I could not IMAGINE what that must have been like, having to flee your homeland just to be able to live freely........

    Is that the tunnel they went through? What must they have been feeling when they visited it again? Wow.........

    Thank you for a great article, Jenn-