Debrník
an extinct village · Železná Ruda 34, 340 04 Železná Ruda, Czech Republic
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He survived combat at Tobruk, died crossing the border

Available in: English | Česky

In late March 1948, close to Debrník near Železná Ruda, during an attempt to cross the state border into the so-called American occupation zone in Bavaria, František Zábřeský, National Export Administrator for Jablonec Merchandise, and his secretary Bohumila Příhodová lost their lives. At the time the court delivered a verdict of murder and suicide, with the guilt placed on Zábřeský, but the many questions surrounding the case are yet to be answered. Twenty-six year old Zábřeský, a former member of the Czechoslovak Foreign Army, veteran from Tobruk and member of the RAF, and his two years older secretary belonged to the social elite of pre-Communist Czechoslovakia, and as such were among the first to flee before the anticipated repressions of the ongoing Sovietisation of the country. At that time the borders were still open, but entry into the toll and border zone was forbidden in some areas, including around Železná Ruda. Zábřeský and Příhodová defied the ban, were seen by a police patrol, and so were forced to flee into the forest, where according to contemporary documents Zábřeský, “seeing that he would be able to cross the border, first shot Příhodová and then himself”. Despite the efforts of the Czech Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism, which had to abandon the case in 2003 for inconclusiveness, a number of matters remain as yet unclear. The missing personal files of the acting police officers and the missing autopsy reports of the corpses shine no light on whether or not a firearm was found in the vicinity of the bodies, or whether the fugitives had attempted to take a large sum of money across the border, which was not so unlikely considering the character of Zábřeský’s job.

Debrník

Available in: English | Česky

The Debrník castle was located in an extinct village bearing the same name, about 1 km away from Železná Ruda. Until 1949, a border platoon of the national police forces belonging to the 2nd battalion headquartered in Písek operated here. Subsequently, the castle became the seat of a border-guard company under the 7th brigade in Sušice. Although the historically immensely valuable castle survived this period in a relatively good condition, it was torn down completely by the border guards in autumn of 1989, leaving only the alley intact. A border-guard battalion was seated also in the nearby Železná Ruda, which witnessed such events as the death march of Jewish Women in 1945 and the expulsion of the German population in 1945-1946. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, symbolized by the recreation of the border railway station with Bavorská Ruda, the town once again became a popular mountain resort.

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