Maříž
Slavonice 61, 378 81 Slavonice, Czech Republic
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A village for the rest of their lives

Available in: English | Česky

After 1951, when the village of Maříž suddenly found itself in the restricted border zone, its inhabitants faced an uncertain future. A local native, František Dušek, recalls this period: “for some time, Maříž was encircled by barbed wire; there were fences all around the village.” Although the plans to move out the population and demolish the village were later dropped, the authorities would not allow anybody new to move to the village. Only the original residents were granted the right to live in Maříž till the end of their days. Despite of this, the authorities also banned the renovation and reconstruction of the village houses. Thanks to František Dušek and his father, however, they allowed for at least a partial cultivation of Maříž in the 1970s. They filed a number of applications for the repair of their house and since they were both active members of the border guard, the communist authorities couldn't ignore their claims in the long run. After the family of Mr. Dušek was allowed to repair their house, similar requests were sent by the other villagers as well. Today Maříž is a popular tourist destination, renowned in particular for its production of ceramics.

František Dušek

František Dušek

František Dušek was born in Maříž nearby Slavonice in 1955 in a family of a border guard, who at the time served at the state border. Although his family moved frequently for professional reasons and František Dušek later studied and worked in different parts of the world himself, he’d often return to Maříž. After completing elementary school in Slavonice, he became a mechanical engineer, completed military service, and married. Because he was promised an apartment, he decided to become a professional soldier. He also began to study a boarding high school and because of his good studying results he was admitted to study at a college without having to take an entry examination. After graduation, he began working for the Office of the main border representative, where he was dealing with issues related to ensuring the security of the state border with neighboring Austria. He also studied protocol in Moscow.

Maříž

Available in: English | Česky

Before the Second World War, Maříž, (Meires in German), was a relatively big and prosperous community. In 1930, Maříž had 216 inhabitants living in 64 houses, which included an estate, sawmill with mill, two pubs, two shops, and many businesses. The village also had a one-room school. Its dominant was a neo-Gothic castle surrounded by a large park. The situation in Maříž radically changed after the war, as the majority of German inhabitants was displaced. In the early fifties, due to stricter surveillance of the state border and the establishment of a border zone, the population decreased again. Such developments resulted in a social and cultural decline of the village, which manifested itself by a steady reduction in inhabitants and the demolition of houses. In 1980, the village only had 45 inhabitants living in 15 houses. When the Iron Curtain fell in the late eighties, Maříž was a half-forgotten and almost destroyed village with only one Roma family and several elderly people living there. The local castle was left to a tragic fate - it turned into ruins.

Maříž

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A village for the rest of their lives

A village for the rest of their lives

František Dušek
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