During our bike ride, we stumbled upon a small history lesson
at the Czech/German border
After the communist coup in 1948 the Czech/Bavarian border was closed. Thousands of soldiers of the so-called border guards did their job here until the year 1990.
The Iron Curtain, an expression first coined by Churchill, separated the democratic states from the so-called Eastern block countries for 40 years.
If people attempted to escape into the free democratic West, they were either shot dead or electrocuted by the high voltage of the wire on the border.
Thousands were arrested and sentenced to many years of imprisonment. Many opponents to the Communist regime were sentenced to death.
An off limits border strip in former Czechoslovakia was set up and it was strictly forbidden to step onto it. The inhabitants of the villages had to leave and were resettled somewhere else. Later all the buildings were destroyed.
I think, being from America - "the land of the free", this blew my mind. To be standing here next to this border with a person telling us stories of their personal experience of having to camp 3 days to watch the border (of another area) to find the perfect time to run and escape when guards weren't looking in hopes of finding a better life beyond communist control.