THE MEMORIAL – IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS

The Great Escape Memorial at MostMichal Holy, a Czech commercial pilot, had a long standing interest in aviation history, which led him to the story of the four Great Escape Allied air force officers executed near Most. Initially he was researching the air battle over the Ore Mountains (Czech Republic) of September 1944 between German and American air forces – which resulted in terrible losses. Some of the surviving US air force officers became POWs in Stalag Luft III. However, when Michal visited Stalag Luft III for the first time, he realised that there was another connection to the Czech Republic – the execution of the four near Most. He was profoundly moved by their story.

That marked the beginning of a new research program and an extraordinary effort to contact family members around the world so they could attend the unveiling of a permanent memorial to be unveiled in Most.

It was Michal Holy who arranged for a Czech Air Force fly-past and a Czech military band and an international memorial ceremony to honour Willy, Rusty, Leslie and Jerry. And, it was Michal who brought the men’s descendants together and arranged for them to trace their ill fated footsteps.

“It is something which should have been done many years ago,” he said.

But why single out these four men in a region devastated by the Nazi occupation of World War 2 and the austere Communist-era which followed?

This was deliberate, calculated murder, not death on a battlefield in war.

More about Michal, level three click through