A naïve Pole tragically attempting to overcome the border barrier
In mid-August 1962 close to Hrabětice in the Znojmo District of Czechoslovakia, an attempt to cross the border into Austria proved lethal to the Polish citizen Tadeusz Bernard. Together with another Pole of his age, Jan Wois, they crossed the distance between the Polish-Czechoslovak and Czechoslovak-Austrian borders on foot. They managed to overcome the first signal fence of the border barrier, but Bernard was hit and killed when climbing through the middle fence. Thirty-year-old bricklayer Bernard and professional chauffeur Wois entered Czechoslovakia in the area of Kladsko in late July 1962. On foot and with the help of a compass they proceeded in the direction of Brno and Hrušovany nad Jeviškou until they arrived at the border zone. There they hid in a haystack. Their journey took them twelve days, and another two were spent in their hideout. When they mustered the courage to approach the border, by a stroke of luck they were able to overcome the first signal barrier without setting off the alarm. Bernard’s luck changed, however, and when tackling the middle barrier he was hit by a lethal dose of electricity. Wois was only affected when he touched Bernard’s body, he was not wounded. Border guards arrived upon the scene led by a guard hound and Wois surrendered himself to them, was taken into custody and a few weeks later was deported to Poland. The young Poles were badly equipped to cross the closely guarded border as they had no tools to help them overcome the barriers.