Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou, Czech - Austrian border
Alt-Prerau, 2164, Austria
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The last Czech victim of the Iron Curtain

Available in: English | Česky

In 1985, close to Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou in the Znojmo District, a few hundred meters from the much desired Austrian border, Ladislav Malina committed suicide surrounded by border guards. With this tragic act the trained car mechanic from Kutná Hora became the last Czechoslovak citizen to lose his life while attempting to illegally cross the borders to the West. Paradoxically this did not take place until several hours after he and his friend, police 2nd Lt Richard Dastych, had overcome the border barrier, which contemporary documents state they “partially dug under, partially cut through, succeeding in crawling over to the other side. On their way they tried to avoid touching the signal wires in front of the barrier, which they stepped over carefully. When they got past the wires they fled over the open ground and hid in the bushes.” Although both men were well-prepared for crossing the border, in the last phase they lost their way in the marshy terrain and did not know exactly in which direction the Austrian border lay. They tarried helplessly until the following day, when they were discovered by a Border Guard patrol. When it became clear that their attempt to emigrate had failed, 29-year-old Ladislav Malina decided to end his life with a bullet from Dastych’s pistol to the temple, as he had already had some experience with imprisonment and he did not want it repeated.

Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou, Czech - Austrian border

Available in: English | Česky

Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou, (Grussbach in German), is located in the Znojmo district, five kilometers from the Austrian border on the Jevišovka River. In 1996, the settlement was granted town status. In the era of the Habsburg Empire, it was an important railway junction, which, however, later lost its importance, in particular because of the Iron Curtain. Most of the indigenous population was displaced after World War II, but the village remained viable. Since the 19th century, sugar production has had a strong tradition in Hrušovany and the local sugar refinery is presently owned by an Austrian investor. The company and battalion of the border guard in Hrušovany fell under the 4th brigade based in Znojmo. Since 1986, it was garrisoned in the town center, initially in the Empire castle and later in a new building closer to the border.

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