Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Frank Blazek, Tarleton Student Fall 1956

This week is International Week at Tarleton! Back in 1956 Tarleton student Frank Blazek had an interesting story. I mentioned him in my September 22, 2011 blog post but only stated that he was from Czechoslovakia.

The November 20, 1956 JTAC ran the above photo and a story of how Frank had escaped from Communist Czechoslovakia! It stated that Frank was born near Prague. When he was 11 the Communists jailed his father, an anti-communist leader. His father escaped in about a month and fled with his wife to Germany. Frank remained with his grandparents for 2 years before escaping. It took him and his sister 2 days to escape. They took a train to a small town near the German border and then they, disguised as workers, got on a bus bound for a workers dance. They and 6 others escaped from the dance and began walking. They walked all night and most of the next day before crossing the border. Frank explained that if they had been caught they would have been shot!

Frank lived a short time in Germany, then French Morocco with his parents. There he took up tennis and eventually became the winner of the Carmen Coupe tennis tournament over 4000 other participants! Then he came to the United States, first living in New York, and then attending Thomas Jefferson High School in New Jersey to learn English! After finishing at Thomas Jefferson he came to Tarleton! After graduating Tarleton Frank went to Texas A & M!

What a story!

Come by the library and see the great International and Study Abroad display in the foyer!

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