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"More Czechs Seek Asylum In the U.S."

July 1, 1970. My grandpa, Antonin Nenko, a Scientific Affairs Officer at the Czechoslovakian Embassy, had requested asylum for him and his family, when he was ordered to return home! I didn't even know what to think. I shared it with my husband immediately but I didn't say to anyone else for the longest time. No real good reason, more that I was processing what I found. I finally told my dad and sis, and now years later you. Here is the whole article... Below is a copy of the article that I found, via Omaha World-Heritage dated Wednesday, July 1, 1970. I found this copy of the article for free before the various historical newspaper sources request you to pay for their service.

More Czechs Seek Asylum in U.S.

“Washington - The scientific affairs officer of the Czechoslovak Embassy has defected to the United States with his family, the State Department confirmed on Tuesday. Antonin Nenko, 40, who was the second secretary at the Czech Embassy, reportedly requested asylum after he was ordered by the Czech government to return to Prague. The defection was the third involving a Czech diplomatic official in recent months. All are believed to be related to the Communist party purge in Czechoslovakia that has followed the Soviet-led 1968 invasion.

‘Under Consideration’ Nenko, who lives with his wife and two children in a Chevy Chase, MD., apartment was reportedly in the hands of the U.S. intelligence officials for debriefing. The State Department said his request for asylum was “under consideration”. Czech Embassy officials would not discuss hid defection referring to questioners to the U.S. State Department. Sources said Nenko began negotiating his defection with U.S. authorities after being ordered recently to return to Czechoslovakia. In U.S. 18 Months Though he has been in Washington for 18 months, he is not widely known in the city’s international scientific circles. “I’m not sure he was purely a scientist.” one Western scientist said. Several said he appeared to have a security role. One Western European diplomat said Nenko did not fill out a background questionnaire routinely sent to scientific attaches for social purposes, he said Nenko explained: “he had to have the permission of the Russian Embassy to answer.” Prague’s overseas embassies have been in a state of turmoil since the Soviet-led invasion. The embattled regime of deposed party leader Alexander Dubcke, exiled a number of liberals to embassies after the occupation to get them out of sensitive jobs. Reformers were sent abroad when it became clear the Soviets would not tolerate their work in Prague. A phrase, “persecution with a human face,” was coined to describe this phenomenon, and Dubcek himself was subjected to it when Party Leader Gustav Husak exiled him to Turkey as ambassador. Back to Prague As conservative factions tightened their hold in Prague, these liberals abroad began to weed out as well. Dubcek recalled from Turkey, was dropped from the Communist party last week.

Czechoslovakia’s ambassador to Washington, Ivan Rohal-Ilkiv is returning to Prague for consultations and vacationing this week. His standing with the Husak regime is considered excellent and the trip is described as routine by diplomatic observers. Describing the current round of interviews to which all party members must submit before their party membership can be renewed (a process referred to as “cleansing the party”). Rudo Pravo, the Czech Communist newspaper, said last week that “after initial nervousness, in the majority of party organizations composure, activity and engagement are now increasing.” As the effort to rid embassies abroad of liberals intensifies, however, the morale of individual officers has steadily worsened.” News source credit to Omaha World-Heritage dated Wednesday, July 1, 1970.


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