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Mitteleuropa - Escape from Hong Kong - A272

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 19 November 2011

John McCarthy looks at Eastern Europe with broadcaster Dennis Marks who visited many of the places described by the author Joseph Roth who wrote between the wars about the declining years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and often depicted Jewish life. Dennis journeyed around this 'Mitteleuropa' in search of a world which has all but disappeared since the Holocaust and the years of the Iron Curtain.

Journalist Tim Luard also makes a journey into the past. He traces the escape from Hong Kong in 1942 of a one-legged Chinese admiral with a party of British military personnel. Tim and his wife followed their path through what was once bandit country but is now part of bustling modern China. John also talks to Rita Boogaart, one half of a Dutch couple whose obsession with the A272 has led them to publish a guide to the delights to be found along its route through Sussex and Hampshire.

Producer: Harry Parker.

  • Rita and Pieter Boogaart

    are from the Netherlands and both retired; she was an art historian and he is a former English language and literature teacher. They have written a number of books together, one on the follies of France and another on the curiosities of Bedfordshire. Their latest book is on the road A272.

    A272. An Ode to a Road
    Publisher: Pallas Athene Arts; illustrated edition
    ISBN-10: 1873429290
    ISBN-13: 978-1873429297

    Find out more about Pieter Boogaart
  • Dennis Marks

    is a writer, broadcaster and film maker. He is a former director of the English National Opera. He is also a seasoned traveller with a particular interest in the culture and history of lands as diverse as Eastern Europe, Russia, West Africa and the Central America.

    Wandering Jew: The Search for Joseph Roth
    Publisher: Notting Hill Editions
    ISBN-10: 1907903046
    ISBN-13: 978-1907903045

    Find out more about Dennis Marks
  • Tim Luard

    is a former China correspondent for the BBC. He lived in Hong Kong for a number of years. Together with his wife Alison he followed in the footsteps of his father-in-law Major Colin McEwan who supervised a group of military personnel who escaped from Hong Kong when the Japanese invaded in 1941.

    Escape from Hong Kong
    Publisher: Hong Kong University Press
    ISBN-10: 9888083767
    ISBN-13: 978-9888083763

    Find out more about Tim Luard



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