Key StB agent who masterminded 'fake' border posts dies aged 92
The death has been announced of the man suspected of being behind one of the most perfidious plots hatched by Czechoslovakia’s Communist secret police, the StB. Shortly after the communist takeover of 1948, the StB created fake frontier posts in the west of the country, several kilometres short of the real border with Germany, in an elaborate operation that ensnared people trying to flee the Stalinist regime.
There they would be debriefed by the fake American military police. They would be encouraged to give away valuable information about others ‘back home’ who were also planning to flee. They would be relieved of their money and possessions before being sent further into what they believed was German territory – in fact what followed was arrest and a lengthy prison sentence in Communist Czechoslovakia.
The operation lasted until 1951, when the Communists could no longer maintain the fiction that the western border was still open. Libor Svoboda, a historian at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, specialises in the anti-Communist resistance.
“I think the StB’s primary motivation was extracting property from those trying to flee. And of course people would open up about who they were in contact with back home, who they’d spoken to, who else was planning to flee Czechoslovakia. Often they were able to blackmail people into becoming StB informers. So I would say the spectrum of information gained by the StB was truly very wide.”
Libor Svoboda is a historian not a politician, but he points out that Operation Stone was illegal even by the laws of Communist Czechoslovakia. It is to the country’s great shame, he says, that Abrahamovič was never brought to justice for cynically ensnaring people whose only crime was to flee their country.