Robert Kramann

* 1945

  • “The cartridge casings were found in our territory by customs officers from the customs guards. He gave them to me saying: You found him… it was clear he had been shot in our territory. However, they denied everything. The Czech police officers thought that those were hunting cartridges of hunters… so they denied everything.”

  • “He was thirty-three years old František Faktor who came from Vyšné and who escaped through the wires which set off the signal alarm, the soldiers came to the Austrian territory and shot him from behind three-hundred metres from the border. I and my colleague found him, he was lying on his stomach, he had three gunshot wounds on his back, and you could see – it was later said that he heard forestry work in the forest, cutting trees and so on, so he thought he would turn up the radio so that those people could not hear him, but it was not the case… And then he died.”

  • “On 30 October 1984, I was on duty at the station in Gmünd II. and we were announced that a dead body was reportedly lying in the forest. A farmer found it when working in the field. At first, he thought that those were just pieces of clothes, he got off the tractor and he made sure that a corpse – a dead man was lying there.”

  • “It was Josef Kranner for the second time, it was on 19 September 1968, and he was one hundred or two-hundred metres near the Czechoslovak border. And he went mushroom picking as always did. And he was stopped by the soldiers this time, he was allegedly on their territory in Czechoslovakia. He was bitten to the leg by dogs and by the clearly visible tracks in the woods he was dragged further inland, and all along we could see mushrooms he was dropping."

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    Nové Hrady , 02.08.2020

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Witness to the death of František Faktor

Portrait of Robert Kramann when he was studying to become a confectioner
Portrait of Robert Kramann when he was studying to become a confectioner
photo: Robert Kramann´s archive

Robert Kramann was born on 31 July 1945 in the village of Henrichs near Weitra in Austria close to the Czechoslovak border. His father came from nearby České Velenice, but he went to work for a national railway company in Gmünd. His mother came from a farm in Heinrichs. After the end of the Second World War, the family was transferred but his grandfather refused to leave for Austria, he stayed in České Velenice and he never saw his son or grandson again. After the death of Robert´s mother, his father got married again to her sister, and together they raised five children. Robert studied to become a confectioner, when he was twenty-three years old, he went into the police service, which he did until 2003, when he retired. As a police officer at the border police station in Gmünd, behind the Iron Curtain, he several times witnessed the border guards’ action against so-called intruders on the Czechoslovak border, in 1984 he was called to the case of the killed refugee František Faktor, and two years later he witnessed the inhuman treatment of Josef Kranner by Czechoslovak border guards. In 1969, his family gave initial refuge to his nephew Jiří Kudrna from Slaný, who emigrated with his entire family to Austria, and later moved to Augsburg, Germany.