Vysoké lávky
A vanished settlement · 16911, Šumava National Park, 342 01 Prášily, Czech Republic
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The comrades thought...

Available in: English | Česky

During the holidays of 1948, Emil Kintzl participated in the last Scout camp to be held before the Scout was abolished by the communist regime. It took place near an abandoned German village called Vysoké Lávky. The camp was a part of the “Boy Scouts to the help of Šumava” initiative. The Scouts worked in the woods in the morning and the afternoon was reserved for Scout activities. "We built our tents and we explored the abandoned houses left behind by the Germans. When we were on a patrol, we could observe in the morning Germans going back to their houses and collecting their belongings that they had stashed there when they had to leave. They brought what was theirs across the border to Germany. The cattle would wander around the countryside abandoned there, because the comrades thought that the cows would take care of themselves. They grazed on the meadows but there was no one there to milk them. So they bleated in pain," recalls the former post-war situation in Šumava Emil Kintzl, adding that at the end of the Scout camp, all the Scout leaders decided to leave communist Czechoslovakia and crossed the nearby border to Germany.

Emil Kintzl

Emil Kintzl

Emil Kintzl was born on 23 February 1934 in Prague, Nusle. After the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939 his family moved to Sušice. Here, he spent a large part of his childhood and experienced a number of war-related adventures. In May 1945, he witnessed the liberation of Sušice by the U.S. Army and this experience has deeply influenced him. After the war he became an avid Boy Scout and during the holidays of 1948 he participated in the last summer camp before the Boy Scouts were abolished. The last summer camp took place in dramatic circumstances in the environment of former German villages and settlements whose inhabitants had been driven out just a couple of years before. He witnessed some of the Boy Scout chiefs crossing the state border and leaving the republic right after the end of the camp. He also recalls the persecution of Sokol officials, small businessmen and farmers who refused to join the collective farm system. He also remembers the onset of the Communist Union of Youth, which he never entered. After graduation he started to study geometry but the arrogance of the young members of the Union and the tainted relationships in general at the university so disgusted him that he left the studies and made a living by delivering coal. An important moment in his life was the encounter with a favorite professor, who persuaded him to become a teacher as well. He became a teacher at a school in Hartmanice while studying remotely in Pilsen. He remembers the distinctive local community of Romanian Slovaks and Ukrainians. After returning from military service he found his place at the school occupied. He therefore went to teach to Srní and then to Kašperské Hory. He remembers the brutal devastation of the region, the destruction of entire villages located in the former military zone and their subsequent leveling with the ground, the looting and destruction of churches, chapels and cemeteries. In August 1968, he became involved in a tragicomic situation when - after visiting the German town of Zittau - he found himself in German internment for a week, (as a result of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact armies and the closing down of borders). His continuous conflict with the regime resulted in his being fired from the school in 1975. He then spent fourteen years in the boiler room of a local company as a stoker, and his children were prevented from studying. He remains faithful to Kašperské hory, as well as to his lifelong hobbies - scouting, hiking, sports, and especially skiing. He has developed an interest in the history of the region and is the author of two books on this topic.

Vysoké lávky

Available in: English | Česky

The former frontier village Vysoké lávky (Hohenstegen in German) was established in the 17th century. In 1921, there were 94 inhabitants in thirteen houses, all of German nationality. Six men from the village perished on the battlefields of the Second World War. In 1946, all the residents were displaced. The village was never resettled again and its buildings fell into disrepair. In the 1950s, the village was razed to the ground by the army. Under communism, many people would cross the state border in the vicinity of the former village at great risk to their lives just to escape the totalitarian regime and get to the West.

Vysoké lávky

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The comrades thought...

The comrades thought...

Emil Kintzl
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