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EU platform announces uncovering of Iron Curtain victims’ graves

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Prague, July 27 (CTK) – Researchers from the Platform of European Memory and Conscience have found the graves of six out of the 13 Polish victims of the Iron Curtain who were killed by electric wiring on the border of communist Czechoslovakia, the Platform wrote in a press release today.

Mainly Lubomir Strougal, former Czechoslovak communist interior minister and prime minister, is to blame for the Polish victims’ death, the Platform said.

The Polish National Memory Institute recently said it wants to exhume its citizens’ remains.

The Platform previously said Strougal is responsible for the death of at least 60 people who died while trying to cross the Iron Curtain westwards. A 4000 to 6000 volt wiring was installed along the border when Strougal was minister.

A team from the Platform has identified all 13 Polish victims, and in search of their graves, it has uncovered six of them so far.

According to the communist directives, the remains of those killed along the Iron Curtain were buried in unmarked graves that were levelled with the ground. Their family members or friends were not informed about the burial.

The Platform has handed the results of the research to Polish state attorneys who have been dealing with the deaths of the Poles.

The Czech police, too, checked Strougal’s role in the killing of people by electric voltage, but they shelved the case as statute-barred.

Strougal, now 92, together with former Czechoslovak Communist party leader Milos Jakes, 94, also face criminal charges in Germany, due to the death of five Germans along the Iron Curtain.

The Communists started to build the Iron Curtain in 1951, the electric voltage being installed one year later and switched off in the mid-1960s.

Information about Czechoslovak as well as foreign victims who died along the Czechoslovak border is available on an interactive map released by the Czech Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR). According to it, at least 266 people died there from 1948 to 1989. The map puts the number of killed Poles at 22.

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