Roklan Cabin
341 92 Modrava, Czech Republic · Šumava National Park, Modrava 59, 341 92 Modrava, Czech Republic
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Horseplay below Roklan Peak

Available in: English | Česky

In 1956 František Mandák began his compulsory military service with the Border Guards. After initial training he was allocated to Roklan Company, named after one of the highest Šumava peaks nearby. His new life was one full of the sparking electricity of the Iron Curtain fences, full of drills in the tough climatic conditions. A routine exercise would often devolve into a life-threatening situations: “One group defended the Roklan Cabin and the other tried to attack it. I was the corporal in charge of that. Lieutenant Waltr was watching from afar and he gave me the advice: ‘You have to go through the window.’ There are two small windows up there, facing west. I tried to get to one of them. Even though I knew that the other group occasionally fired blanks from it. The SMGs were given different barrels, narrower ones to give them a bigger kick. So I pushed myself into the window, luckily I had my old Model 24 in front of me, with its long cartridge shielding my face. The boy defending the cabin fired a burst at me. I collapsed out of the window shouting: ‘I’m blind!’ My whole face was pocked with the flakes from the blank round, just my eyes and nose which were protected by the sub. I opened my eyes, stinging with tears of course, and I could see! Lieutenant Waltr immediately put an end to this kind of horseplay and we never trained in such a way again.”

Mgr. František Mandák

Mgr. František Mandák

František Mandák was born on October 19, 1936, in Rohanov in Šumava, (the Bohemian Forest), in the family of a cottager and a dandy - a mason, who usually spent most of the year away from home with a bunch of other masons, usually in Germany, where he earned money for the livelihood of his family. Since 1942, František went to school in nearby Vacov. In addition to the usual boyhood joys and worries he also experienced some unpleasant moments, such as his encounter with the fanaticized German youth or the rehearsal of the 'sieg heil' directly in the classroom. Furthermore, he recalls several dramatic events that happened later on in the war and also the stay of U.S. troops in Vacov and Javorník. František didn't become a farmer or a mason, but a teacher. In 1956, he entered military service in the Border Guard. He spent the longest part of his service at the 19th border-guard company at Roklan forest cottage where he experienced very hard service in harsh conditions. After completing his military service, he worked for most of his later life as a teacher in Zdíkov in Šumava. He is interested in the history of his region and he is also the author of several articles and books on the subject.

Roklan Cabin

Available in: English | Česky

It is nestled in the middle of the Šumava Mountains, in the wild forests, about half a mile south of Bear Mountain and to the north-east of the Novohuťské Marshes and the Modravská Fen. Originally it was a cabin of the Czech Tourist Club, built in 1936 next to the old Roklan Gamekeeper’s Lodge, though that is no longer standing. In the 1950s it became the base of operations for the Border Guards Roklan Company in the close vicinity of the Iron Curtain.

Roklan Cabin

On this place

Horseplay below Roklan Peak

Horseplay below Roklan Peak

Mgr. František Mandák
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