A dead electrician taken to court
Two days before Christmas Eve, near Nový Žár in the Cheb District, 18-year-old Břetislav Funiok attempted to cross the border into West Germany. When trying to overcome the high-voltage wire fence he was hit by an electric shock and died from his wounds later that day. Despite this, state officials began prosecuting him for the criminal offence of leaving the Republic, abandoning legal action only after two weeks for reason of his death. The 18-year-old electrician from the Frýdek-Místek area arrived at the state border on foot from Aš, having first set out along the railway leading to Cheb. According to contemporary documents “after coming to the signal device [border] he crawled through, causing a short circuit, and carried on to the wire fence. He attempted to cross this by climbing through, during which his head touched a live conductor and the shock caused him to fall unconscious.” The short circuit on the signal barrier alerted a border patrol; upon arriving they found the injured man just barely alive. After a failed attempt at resuscitation he was taken to the hospital in Aš, where the only thing left to do was an autopsy. It might seem paradoxical that he was prosecuted despite already being dead, but that was standard practice in those days.