This double life went on for several months. However, the routine was often disrupted because being mid-winter, ice and snow would often build-up under the Sleeping Cars. One day, due to a mechanical failure in the compressed air system, the two Jesuits were discovered and hauled before the Station Police, questioned about their accomplices and their addresses.
In consequence of this discovery, that same night, Francis had to leave his homeland for good; and his father was also detained for several months by the local Secret Police. During his escape, Francis briefly stayed in Vienna with the Jesuits, where he acquired a new personality through a simply folded false pass, called the ‘Ausweis’, which showed four photos with four pages repeating the Holder’s German name, address, etc. to satisfy the languages of the four occupying Forces. The pass was adorned with huge stamps, crudely resembling the grand, bombastic looking Austrian Communist Party’s official emblem. These stamps had been cleverly made out of humble, carefully carved, potato templates. This pass enabled Francis to travel through the checkpoints of the four zones of the Russian, British, American and French Occupying Forces, on an eight-hour train journey from Vienna, to his safe-haven of Innsbruck, Austria.
When crossing the Hungarian – Austrian border, it was Francis’ first view of the infamous ‘Iron Curtain’ (‘Eisener Vorhang’). As he climbed out of a deep trench in the pitch-dark freezing night, there appeared before his eyes this huge, four meter square, barbed-wire box frame, with its tightly drawn clanging and creaking tensile members , stretching from the far Northern Baltic Sea 1,400km. down to the Southern Balkan States; thus, separating the glorious Socialist Soviet East from the decadent Western countries. The concept of this iniquitous construction that served for an ideological and military barrier, isolated 8 Western capitals and created 7 Soviet-controlled States for 47 miserable years. Oddly, however, there were no records of any major escapes from the Westerly direction towards the Socialist ‘paradise’ in the East.
This fence-like monumental construction had 30 square cm. barbed wire mesh on both sides that was difficult for any escapee to negotiate. The Iron Curtain was equipped with touch-sensitive alarms, sandy strips to detect footprints, guard towers, minefields, bunkers with automated guns, and — finally — with the ultimate deterrent, the 3 to a few hundred meters wide ‘no-mans land’ containing a deep trench, immediately adjacent to and continued on either side of the Iron Curtain. There was also a further 15km. wide ‘Off-Limit’ land that required police permit to enter either for cultivating or crossing..
Coincidentally, when Francis first returned to his homeland, the Hungarian border Guard were dismantling on the same day the 140km. long barbed wire fence separating Austria; surprisingly, this unexpected event went on without any retaliation from the Soviet Authorities. This brave act was rewarded by the gratitude of the thousands of Germans trapped in the East for 47 years, who now could return to their homeland through Hungary.
The demolition of the Iron Curtain in its full length happened in August of the same year, which event was celebrated with the so called ‘Friendship Party’ held at the Hungarian border crossing; and commemorated with the display of a plaque with Latin inscription: “In necessariis unitas- In dubiis libertas- In omnibus caritas”; (Unity in unavoidable matters-Freedom in doubtful matters- Charity in all things).
While staying in Austria, Francis earned his Licentiate in Western Philosophy at the State University of Innsbruck. The next destination in his peregrination across the globe was Japan, during the Korean War. There, Francis was employed as design engineer at the H.Q. of the U.S. Armed Forces Far East Command in Tokyo.
The final destination was to settle down in Sydney, Australia. Francis did mechanical design work at various places, including the Dep’t of Tech’l Education, the Vacuum Oil Company at Hunters Hill; the Utah Company ammunition filling factory at St. Marys; and Stephenson and Turner in Sydney and then Wellington, New Zealand, for the Auckland Hospital design.
Upon return from NZ. to Sydney, he was employed on the engineering construction site of the Australian Reactor (HIFAR), at Lucas Heights, Sydney. Within these years, Francis did voluntary tutoring of descriptive geometry for two years, at the Structural Engineering Faculty of Sydney University.
Francis then joined the Project Management, Industrial design and Construction Section of Lend Lease Corporation as a senior mechanical design engineer for 15 years. While there, he was involved in building services engineering, primarily on shopping centers, hospitals and manufacturing factories.
During this time, one of his engineering innovations was applicable in hospital operating rooms; The concept was accepted by the local health authorities and the relevant hospital managers, adapted and combined the principles of industrial ‘clean room’ design with a special supply air quality system, delivering near 100% clean air with reduced outside air to operating rooms.
The system reduced running costs for hospitals and almost eliminated the rampant and costly post-operative retention rate of patients due to hospital-acquired cross-contamination. This design was first introduced in Australia by Lend Lease, in all four orthopedic operating rooms of the then new St. Vincent Private Hospital in Sydney, and subsequently installed at some other major hospitals of the country. The design has been awarded certification by the National Association of Testing Authorities of Australia (NATA). This certification was based on 7/24 hr. – tests over two week, and documented the operating room-air did not contain contaminant particles of 0.3 micron and over, at 99.93% efficiency.
Later on, Francis worked for the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) in Sydney for nearly 14 years, as the Regional Engineer for mechanical/electrical services, for NSW. and Queensland. He was responsible for the management of design, construction and site supervision of scientists’ technical requirements in new and existing establishments.
During this period, Francis redesigned the above-mentioned ‘clean room’ design to include ‘metal-free. environments. These were installed in various Fisheries and Textile laboratories of CSIRO. He also assisted with implementing the same design in the Government Fisheries Laboratories of Nairobi, in Kenya.
As mentioned earlier, Francis returned along with his wife Bernice, to Hungary for the first time from Sydney, in the first year of his retirement, and just three months before the total disappearance of the ‘Iron Curtain’ in 1989.
On this memorable occasion, just as the Orient Express from Vienna pulled in at the Austrian–Hungarian border crossing town, on a balmy, sunny morning in May, this much-expected happy event was, however, momentarily interrupted by an instant flash of memory from the far distant past; caused by the unexpected view as seen from the train window, the dramatic sight of the earlier described partial dismantling of the Iron Curtain along the Austrian border; remembering that the Hungarian border Guard were rolling up today that same barbed-wire fence, through which Francis had to crawl, in the opposite direction, on a late winter night 47 years before.
Finally, after having retired in 1988, Francis focused on voluntary work in Sydney, working with The Smith Family for three years, the St. John’s Ambulance Society for ten years, and the Saint-Vincent de Paul Society for two years. While at all these places he did English language tutoring school children, migrants and ex-prisoners; at the Smith Family he also interviewed and materially assisted disadvantaged people. At the same time, Francis exercised his lifelong interest in astronomy with his GPS- automated telescope. He was a member of the New South Wales Astronomical Society and, lately, of the Canberra Astronomical Society.
It was also during these retirement years that Francis developed the articles for his Website (perennialviews.com), guided by the desire to share with people the unfathomable richness of truth and intellectual joy of perennial philosophy, stimulated with modern cosmological concepts in clear and an unbiased way. As mentioned in the Introduction to this Website, these articles are aimed primarily at those readers who are earnestly interested in such ideas, but find it difficult to obtain unbiased and reliable information among the sea of modern philosophical and cosmological publications.
This brief resume would not be complete without thanking my late wife, Bernice, for her 53 years of faithful love and sacrifice, and for assisting me and the children, Shari and Stephen, throughout our difficult years.
Finally, I owe gratitude to Michael Peterson, the Designer and Administrator of this excellent Website, together with the generous and professional cooperation of his company catholicwebdesign.com.au.
I close these acknowledgements with the words of St. Augustine: “Your works praise you, O divine Creator, to the end that we may love you, and we love you to the end that your works may praise you.”