Intruders Hiding in Trees above the Border Guard
In 1958, Jiří Minařík served as a border guard in Maxov company: “We were guarding a border section of something between 800 and 1,000 meters. But there were some parts that you couldn't overlook from the watchtower. There were two patrols per night.” The situation was sometimes little absurd, when the heavily armed Czechoslovak soldiers, stationed in watchtowers behind fences from barbed wire, were looking at their enemies, (that is patrols on the German side), who were on the other side of the Iron Curtain and just laughing at them. “We looked down from the watchtowers and saw the road to the villages of Eschlkam and Grossaig and the Americans driving in their jeeps along the border. We could tell who was white and who was black. They would take off their jackets and smoke Marlboros and Camels and they would wave their white scarves at us; they made fun of us,” he recalled. Towards the end of the 1950s, not very many people were fleeing across the border anymore. Jiří Minařík maintains that during his six-month duty at the company, he experienced only one raid: “They woke us up at one in the morning and told us to raid the border in the forest, about two kilometers from the barbed wire. We were there till ten in the morning and only then were we told the reason why: two Poles were attempting to flee across the border through our area. The funny thing was, though, that they were hiding in a tree above the commanding officers and listening to everything they said the entire time.” The two Poles managed to successfully cross the border by cutting the barbed wire in the Iron Curtain. “But some parts of the barbed wire were in such a poor shape that they did not even need to be cut, since there were brooks and when the water ran high, the electricity in the wires stopped working,” he recalled.