Saturday, November 20, 2010

Remnants of the Iron Curtain

A remnant of the Iron Curtain still stands at Cizov, in the Czech Republic. It's about two kilometers from the actual border with Austria, creating a broad "No Man's Land." If you succeeded in getting past the fence and the guards, you might assume you were in Austria, but you'd be wrong. The former inhabitants of this area were forcibly removed and their farms and villages demolished when the Iron Curtain dropped in 1951. This area is now the entrance to Podyji National Park.

Concrete pyramidal and rectangular bollards discourage driving and parking but provide interesting geometry in the beautiful early morning fog.

If you were trying to escape, you wouldn't just have guards, dogs and barbed wire to deal with, either. Until the mid 1960s, the fence was electrified with up to 10,000 volts.

A watchtower still stands.

According to a sign at the site, between 1948 and 1989, 390 people were killed on the Czechoslovakian border while trying to escape. In addition, "654 border guards also died here, although only 10 died in conflicts with border violators. The others died from suicide, electrocution, drowning or accidents with guns."

It does make you wonder, doesn't it, how stable—or good—any country, political philosophy, religion, organization, marriage or anything could be if you risk being killed for leaving.

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite - for its pictures and its words. I can still hear Peter, Paul, and Mary many deaths will it take 'till they know that too many people have died...