Sándor Goják

* 1947

  • The SZ-100 electrical signaling system marked the third period of the Iron Curtain era. There was a tremendous difference between the SZ-100 and the land mines. The minefield closely followed the line of the border. This is why it was 365 km long. However the electrical signaling system was laid 50 m and 10 km distant away the confines of the state towards the inside of Hungary depending on the current configurations of the terrain. The length of SZ-100 was only 235 km and it didn’t kill anybody since it only served as a signaling system. It wasn’t a new technology. The Soviet Union had already installed it on the boundary of Afghanistan in the fifties. It was wired and carried high tension current of 380 V there, while in Hungary it carried barely 24 V approximately. At the Berlin Wall it was 180 km in length and carried 380 V. That’s why the East Germans tried to escape at the Hungarian frontier. Why was the Soviet Union hit upon the idea of laying this type of system on the boundary of Afghanistan? Well, the Nazi concentration camps. The barbed wire carried 24000 power voltage there. When a prisoner made an attempt to escape and touched it, burned away at once. We know that German scientists escaped to the Soviet Union too not only to the USA at the end of the Second World War. They gave the idea.

  • Very few people know why The Soviet Union –under the leadership of Brezsnyev- decided to raise the landmines in 1966. The final decision was greatly influenced by the Pinka River which got the thing moving in 1965. How did it happen? In 1957 -when the Iron Curtain descended for the second time- the bed of Pinka River was mined 50-70 m long from the frontier towards the inside of the country in order to hinder escape. Hungary was submerged by the greatest frozen flood of all time at the end of March 1965. Every river including Pinka overflowed and the landmines were washed out. Pinka River leaves Hungary at Pornóapáti and after an 8 km long reach in Austria, comes back at Szentpéterfa. After it returned to its bed, hundreds of landmines were inactivated by the explosives experts in Austria in the Summer of 1965. Unfortunately they couldn’t find all of them, and these mines killed two little girls. The Austrian Government requested the assistance of the United Nations to try to persuade the Soviet Union to raise the mines. The Soviet Union chose to do so in 1965, but the landmines had to be replaced, as the Austrian-Hungarian border couldn’t have functioned without the Iron Curtain. Then came the third period-the electrical signaling system-SZ100.

  • There is a long straight section on the main road between Sopronlövő and Sopronkövesd. This escape was made at dawn on a foggy day in March or April in 1967. A professional sports aircraft was flying in Austria parallel to the frontier. It was coming so low that the radar coverage couldn’t detect it. The aircraft unexpectedly turned to the main road in the neighbourhood of Sopronkövesd. This part of the road was straight one km long. The road was unhindered on both sides-there were no trees or kilometre stones there. Only the milk cart or the bread supply might have appeared suddenly at this hour around 4 a.m. The plane could touch down after a hundred meters’ landing. Huba Szeremley and his family were waiting there. They got out of the car and quickly embarked in. The aircraft turned back and took off at once. It stayed in Hungary for no more than 6-8 minutes and went back to Austria immediately.

  • Bakelite mines were made in the Soviet Union. They were ready for use by the summer in 1957 only. One and a half million were laid as shown on the demonstration board close to each other like chess pieces. These mines were designed specifically against people. The quantity of explosive material was calculated in that way to rip off minimum a person’s foot when somebody hit a mine. If somebody’s foot is ripped off, that person can’t walk on and bleeds to death. The mines were intended to wound adults who weigh more than 40 kilograms, not boars, hares or deer. They were armed, dug into the ground and covered with 1-2 cm soil.

  • Full recordings
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    Budapest, Oral History Archívum, 02.09.2013

    duration: 01:33:37
    media recorded in project Iron Curtain Stories
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the Iron Curtain Museum is my Life

Sándor Goják soldier, 1967
Sándor Goják soldier, 1967
photo: magán

Sándor Goják was born in Borjád village (Baranya county) on 25th February 1947. His father was a mine worker and his mother was a housewife. The family had four children. After finishing primary school, Goják moved to Budapest. He played in Dózsa Football Team of Újpest as a kid soccer team player, later he was a member of the Youth Team. He was trained at an engine fitter’s vocational school. He completed it in 1964. He was drafted into the army as a frontier guard on 22nd February 1965 and had military training in Nyírbátor. Upon completion of this training he then went to military officer’s school. He served as a platoon sergeant in Pornóapáti. He was discharged on 15th February 1968. He got married in 1971 and had two daughters. He worked for MÁV Vehicle Repair in Szombathely from 1971. He was a group leader there. He continued his studies and graduated from engineering tertiary school. He built a villa on Vashegy in the neighborhood of Felsőcsatár in 1981 and ran a wine bar there from 1990. From that time on he began to collect artifacts and stories of the 41 years during the Iron Curtain period to build a museum. The Iron Curtain Museum of Felsőcsatár officially opened in 2001.