Rope to Freedom
Escape from Oppression
By Richard Radica
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications
For Richard a small boy growing up in the idyllic Dalmatian coast of Croatia life is one long hot summer after another: swimming, fishing, football and hanging out with his mates. Yet seismic change is about to befall his 'happy hunting ground'. First, the Second World War. As hostilities rage across Europe, Richard and his family (along with thousands of others) are evacuated to a desert camp in Egypt, supervised by the British Army, where they must wait out the war as refugees. Then, as one dramatic epoch comes to a close, and fascism is defeated, they return home only to find their beloved country under a new cloud: this time in the form of Josip Broz Tito's communist regime.
Fear, intimidation, brutality and propaganda are the new watchwords of Tito's Yugoslavia, and soon the daily erosion of liberty and real and present danger forces Richard's family to make a decision: to stay or flee. For Richard's father, who could not tolerate the communist system, there is only one choice. Setting sail across the Adriatic on a hand-built boat (with sails made from bed sheets), they are picked up by an Italian merchant ship sailing from Trieste to Bari. So begins a new chapter for the Radicas, first as refugees in Italy, then on board an ocean liner to Australia, where a new life and a whole new set of challenges and prospects awaits them all...
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