A new documentary explores the story of the Mašín brothers group, three members of which shot their way from Communist Czechoslovakia to the West in 1953. Escape to Berlin, featuring extensive interviews with the now elderly Josef Mašín and his sister Zdena, is written and directed by Jan Novák. I spoke to him ahead of next week’s cinema release of the film.
“I have been working on this story for half my life. I wrote a book, which I later adapted into a radio version. Then I used a screenplay that I wrote – and originally sold to Tomáš Mašín [distant relation], the author of the [recent fiction] film Bratři, Brothers – as a comic book.
“Finally now I’m doing this documentary, because I think it’s a really important story and unfortunately here in the Czech Republic people still have a very strange idea of what the Mašíns accomplished and did.”
The tagline is that it’s one of the greatest stories of the Cold War. What make it such a great story?
“It’s the hunt in East Germany, where up to 30,000 East German and Soviet troops are hunting down five young men. The Germans lose at least 10 people, some of them to friendly fire.
“And three of those guys make it to West Berlin and become American citizens eventually. Two are caught along the way and are hung in Prague in 1955.”
See the rest here.
Author: Ian Willoughby