Exactly 10 years ago, I wrote a blog post about the 60th anniversary of the most famous judicial murder in the modern Czech history. You may also watch this 5-minute-long video summary in English.
Even though my former colleague Albert Einstein wrote a letter to the first Czechoslovak working-class president and alcoholic Klement Gottwald (just like Bertrand Russell, Winston Churchill, and many others), Gottwald kickstarted her execution by his signature. She wrote a very touching letter to her daughter and other relatives, resisted for 15 minutes on the rope, but ultimately she surrendered and was hanged. Mr Mrnka recorded the movie about her in 2017; it probably isn't too deep and personal a movie. (The film director Mr Mrnka didn't get any money from the Czech pro-film government institutions, Czech billionaires, and others, all of them had some complaints or excuses: only Netflix said Yes at the end. An Israeli actress starred as Horáková.)
Czechoslovak servants of Mr Stalin were surfer dudes who were convinced that they discovered the exceptional Lie groups. That's probably why they executed 248 people (yes, I mean \(E_8\)). Milada Horáková was the only woman. Stalin probably ordered her death personally and our leftists considered him an authoritative comrade. The trial proceeded along the Soviet templates. On one hand, the number of people who were murdered by the Czechoslovak communists was tiny relatively to the Soviet numbers. On the other hand, we used to be a country at a completely different level – and we turned ourselves into the "second after the Soviet Union itself" Stalinist despotical regime.
Lots of men were executed as well – I guess that Horáková is much more famous than the men partly because we think that it's worse to execute women than to execute men (or, almost equivalently, we perform some affirmative action even among martyrs). The last woman who got the "legitimate" death penalty in Czechoslovakia (for driving a truck through a streetcar stop) was Ms Olga Hepnarová in 1975.
At any rate, Dr Milada Horáková, a former lawmaker for the National Socialist Party (which uses the same word as NSDAP but the Czech namesake was vigorously antifascist and so was she personally, a survivor of a Nazi death penalty verdict!), became the most famous modern Czech martyr due to her apparently idealistic world view, courage, and other traits. The most famous Czech martyr of all times is arguably John Huss, an early church reformer and the apparent father of our šowy diacritical signs, who was burned at stake for heresy on July 6th, 1415 (those German aßholes lured him to Constance by promises that he would get the opportunity to present his ideas; instead, they murdered him).
The speeches of her as well as her Stalinist killers were delivered in some amazing Czech language that pretty much uses almost the exact same rules that are still valid today but their speech was much more polished. The content was fabricated, a political trial. She was clearly forced to recite the sentences that the commies demanded and I find it somewhat hard to exactly distinguish what was written by her and what was added by the commies.
We have retroactively reclassified the epoch 1948-1989 as an era of injustice so similar verdicts are no longer valid and Horáková's death penalty is clearly considered the most unjust verdict in the whole communist history of Czechoslovakia. On the other hand, she was executed primarily for high treason (and some spying) and similar charges could bring people similar sentences even in democracy. She has admitted to cooperate with forces that wanted to defeat Czechoslovakia militarily. Of course it made sense to look for foreign allies, support some U.S. invasion here (a far-fetched scenario) and other things. But I simply do not know whether these contacts and plans were real or fabricated or what was exactly going on.
The indictment was articulated by some career Stalinist lawyers, especially Ms Ludmila Brožová-Polednová. That justification of the death penalty was a nasty piece of hateful propaganda. Whenever I listen to it, it feels exactly the same like the articles about deniers, racists, and homophobes (see e.g. this recent DailyKos rant about your humble correspondent and a few colleagues). In those 70 years from the trial with Horáková, hardcore leftists haven't changed significantly. What has primarily changed is their geographic distribution. In those difficult times around 1950, they were concentrated in the (geographically) Eastern Europe; these days, they are spread in all of Europe (not to mention North America, Australia, and New Zealand) although ironically enough, their fanaticism is much higher in the (geographically) Western Europe now.
Ms Brožová-Polednová was actually prosecuted after 2000 and she was pardoned by Klaus in 2010, at age of 89 (her age and the time in the prison were quoted as justifications of the pardon). She died 5 years later which is OK. But when she was pardoned, she still considered the pardon a formality. Of course she was innocent, we heard from her. Not really. But I think she was right when she argued that she was just a visible puppet serving someone else and e.g. the constitutional lawyers were more important (not to mention the big fish like Gottwald himself, of course). But her being an emotional puppet-talking head, just like Greta Thunberg, doesn't mean that she was innocent.
As I just indicated, the indictment was a text of the same genre as e.g. Greta's U.N. speech or something like that. We the killers whose mouth is full of equality and a better future are obviously the great people and then there are the rightwingers and they are villains because we say so, they have always oppressed us because we say so, and they would continue to oppress us unless we execute them or otherwise existentially harm them. There was zero almost zero substance in the purely demagogic, emotional, class-struggle-promoting accusations, just like there is zero substance when some nasty leftists scream that you are a racist homophobe denier today. Their heads are only filled with hatred, ignorance, primitivism, and fanaticism. In Czechoslovakia of 1950, they also had the power to execute people. These days, their ideological descendants only have the power to end the wise people's careers and contaminate the nice people's image. Let's hope that it won't get worse e.g. in U.S. and these monstrous neo-Stalinist anti-Trump loons will lose (because Biden is just a demented man chosen to add a human face to these inhuman fanatics) as expected.
Archbishop of Prague Duka: Recently I am worried that there are many fellow humans who would love to "redefine" some unquestionable symbols of the fight for the human freedom in the name of progress. We mustn't forget, we mustn't relativize; on the contrary, ... https://t.co/ieZWdrlGc1— Luboš Motl (@lumidek) June 26, 2020