The Train of Liberty
One of the most famous mass escapes across the Iron Curtain happened on September 11, 1951. That day the train number 3717 went through the station in Aš-Main Station without stopping and was heading to the border. Approximately a kilometre later the station the train stopped because the engine driver did not know the situation in Germany and did not want to incur the risk. In total 110 people got to the Western Germany – the organizers of the action, students from the grammar school from Cheb, spa visitors, workers and SNB (national police) and StB (secret police) members. Only 77 went back to Czechoslovakia. The successful escape became famous all around the world and its organizers became international heroes. At the same time the Czechoslovak communists harshly punished the refugees' friends and relatives who stayed in the republic. As a reaction to the successful breaking of the Iron Curtain, the authorities strengthened the security of the western border. The communist propaganda showed the organizers of the escape as “American gangsters”.