The Slánský trial (officially "Proces s protistátním spikleneckým centrem Rudolfa Slánského" meaning "Trial of anti-state conspiracy centered around Rudolf Slánský") was a
show trialagainst elements of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia(KSČ) who were thought to have adopted the line of the maverick Yugoslav leader Josip Tito[Igor Lukes, "The Rudolf Slansky Affair", "Slavic Review", Spring 1999] . On November 20, 1952, Rudolf Slánský, General Secretaryof the KSČ, and 13 other Communist leaders or bureaucrats, 11 of them Jews, were accused of participating in a Trotskyite-Titoite-Zionist conspiracy and convicted: 11 were executed and 3 sentenced to life imprisonment.The state prosecutor was Josef Urválek.
The trial was the result of a split within the Communist leadership on the degree to which the state should emulate the
Soviet Union, and was part of a Stalin-inspired purge of "disloyal" elements in the national Communist parties in Central Europe, as well as an antisemiticpurge of Jews from the leadership of Communist parties. Klement Gottwald, president of Czechoslovakia and leader of the Communist Party, feared being purged, and decided to sacrifice Slánský, a long term collaborator and personal friend who was the second-in-command of the party. The others were picked to convey a clear threat to different groups in the state bureaucracy. A couple of them (Šváb, Reicin) were brutal sadists conveniently added for a more realistic show.
The trial was orchestrated (and the subsequent terror staged in
Czechoslovakia) on the order of Moscowleadership by Soviet advisors, who ironically were invited by Rudolf Slánskýand Klement Gottwald, with the help of the Czechoslovak State Security personnel following the László Rajktrial in Budapestin September 1949.
Those put on trial confessed to all crimes (under duress or after torture) and were sentenced to punishment. Slánský attempted suicide while in prison. The people of Czechoslovakia signed petitions asking for death for the alleged traitors. The harsh treatment given to those on trial was a way of showing that the Communist Party would stop at nothing and that potential dissidents could expect no mercy.
After Stalin's death in March 1953, the harshness of the persecutions slowly decreased, and the victims of the trial quietly received amnesty one by one, including those who had survived the Prague Trial. Later, the official historiography of the Communist Party was rather quiet on the trial, vaguely putting blame on errors that happened as a result of a "
cult of personality". Many other political trials followed on sending many innocent victims to jail and hard labour in Jáchymovuranium mines and labour camps.
List of defendants
Rudolf Slánský(1901), General Secretaryof the KSČ (executed)
Vladimír Clementis(1902), Minister of Foreign Affairs (executed)
Otto Fischl(1902), Deputy Minister of Finance (executed)
Josef Frank(1909), Deputy General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (executed)
Ludvík Frejka(1904), Chief of the Economic Committee in the Chancellery of the President (executed)
Bedřich Geminder(1901), Chief of the International Section of the Party Secretariat (executed)
Vavro Hajdů(1913), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (life imprisonment)
Evžen Löbl(1907), Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade (life imprisonment)
Artur London(1915), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (life imprisonment)
Rudolf Margolius(1913), Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade (executed)
Bedřich Reicin(1911) , Deputy Minister of National Defence (executed)
André Simone(1895), editor of Rudé právo(executed)
Otto Šling(1912), Regional Party Secretary (executed)
Karel Šváb(1904), Deputy Minister of State Security (executed)
Ludvík Svobodahonoured several defendants on May 1, 1968:
Vladimír Clementis, Hero of ČSSR, in memoriam
*Josef Frank, Hero of ČSSR, in memoriam
*Ludvík Frejka, Order of the Republic, in memoriam
*Vavro Hajdů, Order of the Republic
Artur London, Order of the Republic
Rudolf Margolius, Order of the Republic, in memoriam
*André Simone, Order of the Republic, in memoriam
*Bedřich Geminder, Order of the Labour, in memoriam
*Evžen Löbl, Order of the Labour
The Slánský trial was dramatised in the 1970 film "L'Aveu" ("The Confession"), directed by
Costa-Gavrasand starring Yves Montandand Simone Signoret. The film was based on the book of the same name by Artur London, who was a survivor of the trial.
The Slánský trial is a key element of the book "Under a Cruel Star: A life in Prague 1941-1968" (ISBN 0841913773). A memoir by
Heda Margolius Kovaly, the book follows the life of a Jewish woman, starting with her escape from a concentration camp during World War II, up until her escape from Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring of 1968. Kovaly's husband, Rudolf Margolius, a fellow Holocaust survivor, was one of the eleven men executed during the Slánský trial.
See also another book about the Slánský trial by the son of
Rudolf Margolius, Ivan Margolius: "Reflections of Prague: Journeys through the 20th Century" (ISBN 0470022191)
*cite book | author=Kaplan, Karel | title=Report on the Murder of the General Secretary | location=London | publisher=I. B. Tauris & Co | year=1990 | id=ISBN 1850432112
*cite book | author=Slánská, Josefa | title=Report on My Husband | location=New York | publisher=Atheneum | year=1969
March 1968 events
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
SLÁNSKÝ TRIAL — SLÁNSKÝ TRIAL, the first of a series of antisemitic show trials held in Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s whose prime victim was Rudolf Slánský (1901–1952), secretary general of the Czechoslovak Communist Party after World War II. Of the 14… … Encyclopedia of Judaism
Slansky Trial — On 22 November 1952, Rudolf Slansky and 13 other former leaders of the Czechoslovak Communist Party were tried for treason, charged with espionage for the United States and Israel. All were convicted and 11 were immediately hanged. Slansky and … Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence
Slánský, Rudolf — ▪ Czech communist leader born July 31, 1901, Nezvěstice, near Plzeň, Austria Hungary [now in Czech Republic] died December 3, 1952, Prague, Czechoslovakia Czech Communist leader who was the central victim in the November 1952 “Slánský trial … Universalium
Slánský, Rudolf — (1901–52) Czech Communist politician. Slánský was secretary general of the Czech Communist Party after World War II. He was of Jewish origin but had no other connection with Judaism or the Jewish community. In 1952 he was the central figure in … Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament
Rudolf Slánský — (July 31 1901, Nezvěstice near Blovice ndash; December 3 1952, Prague) was a Czech Communist politician and the party s General Secretary after World War II and was one of the leading creators and organizers of communist rule in Czechoslovakia at … Wikipedia
Rudolf Margolius — (born August 31 1913, Prague, died December 3 1952, Prague), Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, Czechoslovakia 1949 1952, co defendant in the Slánský trial (November 1952)The 1952 Slánský trial involved the Communist Party General Secretary,… … Wikipedia
Otto Šling — (24 August 1912 3 December 1952) was born in Nová Cerekev, a village in south Bohemia, then part of the Austrian Empire. After World War II, Šling became the Communist Party s Regional Secretary of Brno in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) … Wikipedia
CZECHOSLOVAKIA — CZECHOSLOVAKIA, republic in Central Europe. Founded in 1918, it united within its political framework the Jewries of the historic countries (bohemia , moravia , and part of silesia ), connected with the hapsburg Empire from 1526 and under its… … Encyclopedia of Judaism
List of Czech and Slovak Jews — There was a large and thriving community of Jews, both religious and secular, in Czechoslovakia before World War II. Many perished after the Holocaust. Today, nearly all of the survivors inter married and assimilated into the Czech and Slovak… … Wikipedia
László Rajk — (May 8, 1909 Székelyudvarhely ndash; October 15, 1949 Budapest) was a Hungarian Communist; politician, former Minister of Interior and former Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was an important organizer of the Hungarian communist s power (for… … Wikipedia