Hamry
Koppertweg, 93453 Neukirchen beim Heiligen Blut, Germany
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Shot for picking blueberries

Available in: English | Česky

In August 1948, close to Hamry near Nýrsko, Czechoslovaks carried out a blanket sweep on all Bavarian Germans who were in the border zone picking blueberries. It was suspected that some of them had participated in a robbery. During the sweep, 34-year-old German Ludwig Brandl was shot trying to flee from the Czechoslovakian police. The worker Brandl was innocent, he was fleeing only because of a natural fear and his death was completely unnecessary. In the days before the Iron Curtain was completed, the border with Bavaria was more-or-less open and it was crossed by Germans on an almost daily basis. In August, many native Bavarians would earn some extra income by picking blueberries on the Czech side, but apart from these there were also a number of deported Sudeten Germans who were trying to regain and smuggle part of their former property over the border. When one of them stole a horse from a Czech coachman, the Czech police, (National Defence Corps), in Nýrsko ordered all Germans from Bavaria to be detained as, according to contemporary documents, “there was reasonable suspicion that they may have participated in the robbery […], and that the blueberry picking on our territory may merely function as cover for their sinister activities.” Brandl was among those detained, but he panicked and attempted to get away. He was subsequently shot by Sergeant Jan Konarovský. And yet the real robber was caught that very day in Germany, and after some negotiations the stolen horse was returned to Czechoslovakia in exchange for the thirteen detained Germans. Brandl’s body was buried in the parish graveyard in Hamry. No one was prosecuted for his death. The case was taken up in 2003 by the Czech Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism, but it was abandoned due to the fact that the responsible policemen had already died.

Hamry

Available in: English | Česky

The village of Hamry u Nýrska owes its existence to the fact that it was situated on a medieval trade route, close to significant deposits of iron ore and also close to the seat of one of the most important foremen of the so-called Künische Freibauern, (free peasants). Its landmark is the former Petzold paper-mill chimney from the 19th century and the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows repaired from the contributions of the former German residents. Before World War II, there were about 1,500 inhabitants living in the village. However, after the post-war expulsion of the German population, the village was on the brink of physical extinction. Until 1949, a border platoon of the SNB belonging to the 3rd battalion based in Plzeň was garrisoned in the village. Later, a battalion falling under the authority of the 7th border-guard brigade based in Sušice had its seat in Hamry. A part of the village was located right in the border zone and anybody entering the village was subject to the control of the border guard.

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