The death of a veteran double agent and border guide
Early in 1951 near what used to be the village of Pavlův Studenec, (Paulusbrunn), near Tachov, border guards shot and killed a guide, who was identified as Oskar Bergman. But research at the Czech Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes uncovered that in actual fact the deceased was the veteran double agent and adventurer Miloš Cettle. Officially, it was Bergman who was shot when attempting to guide Mr. and Mrs. Nezval over the borders into Germany. Border guards Karel Svanovský and Vladimír Polášek of the intercepting patrol were promoted, the Nezvals were arrested and sentenced to twelve and seven years in prison for “the crime of imperfectly exiting the country,” but the true identity of their guide was kept secret even from his own family. It was not Oskar Bergman, but the forty-eight-year-old Miloš Cettle, who was operating in West Germany at the time as an agent of the State Security, (Czech intelligence). This pre-war Czechoslovak army member had a long history. During the German occupation he was briefly a member of Vlajka, (Flag; a Nationalist group collaborating with the Nazis), and he then apparently functioned as double agent for both the British Intelligence Service and the German Sicherheitsdienst and Gestapo. After the war he joined the Czechoslovak intelligence service and became head agent for Italy, Austria, Bavaria, and Switzerland. However, his name was also mentioned in connection with the unsuccessful emigration attempt of writer Karel Pecka. But he brought doom upon himself by trying to guide “persons antagonistic to the people’s democratic regime” over the borders, and as his superiors note in contemporary documents, “he did this without our knowledge.” The case was taken up by the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism, but the investigation was not able to discern which of the participating border guards fired the fatal shot.