Nový Žďár – Neuenbrand, state border
Electric fences for the protection of the state border · Mühlbach 25, 95100 Selb, Germany
  • Story
  • Place

The death of a deserter from Aš

Available in: English | Česky

Günther Vadas was born on September 1, 1938, in Aš. He knew the surrounding terrain very well and according to the border guard he had already twice tried to cross the border. During his military service he frequently got involved in violations with the result that he was sentenced to nine months of imprisonment. This apparently made him once again try to get out of Czechoslovakia to the West. On April 6, 1961, at 2:43 in the night, he embarked on his journey from the railway station Aš-town equipped with some modified pliers. He proceeded to the point where he intended to cross the border down the road and then he walked along the railway tracks. Shortly before 4:00 in the morning, Vadas entered the border zone. His march towards the state border was veiled by the morning mist. When he detected the movement of the members of a border patrol, he lay down. After a while, he kept on crawling to the border, reaching the first defensive line of barbed-wire entanglements. He managed to crawl underneath 5 rows of signaling wire-entanglements. He managed to overcome the middle row of entanglements crawling on his toes and fists, thus not leaving behind too many traces. He then cut through the first and the second wall of the outer wire barricade with his pliers, the handle of which he coated with rubber hoses to protect himself from electric shock. However, he underestimated the risk of electric shock in the extremely humid weather on that day. When slithering through the charged wire entanglements, he was struck and then he fell with the brunt of his body on another entanglement. At 5:00 in the morning, the controller at the nearby company garrison noted a short circuit at the central section of the electric wire-barricade. However, he thought that the short circuit was caused by moisture and switched on the system again. After fifteen minutes, the device reported a short circuit again. He thus sounded the alarm and at 5:35, the dispatched patrol found the dead body of Günther Vadas in the wire barricade.

Nový Žďár – Neuenbrand, state border

Available in: English | Česky

Dozens of people were killed by electric power at the state border – some of them were border violators, some of them people from the surrounding area. In the second half of the 1950s, the border near Nový Žďár was secured by three fences, (so-called walls). The outer walls were supposed to slow down the penetration of intruders and restrict access for animals to the middle fence, which was charged. The electricity for the wires was supplied from the nearby transformer of the infantry company. In case of a disturbance of the electric conductor, (for example by cutting the wires), there occurred a short circuit followed by a subsequent power outage. This was the signal for sounding the alarm and immediately sending a patrol on site. This device was discontinued because of its high cost but also because of the criticism it received from other European countries. Therefore it was definitely terminated by a decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party on December 26, 1965.

Memory of Nations Places Mobile App
Get the app for free in your mobile app store!