In a major memorial event, Czechs will honor the memory of Milada Horáková who was executed 70 years ago by the communist regime after a trial based on a fabricated charge of conspiring to overthrow the totalitarian government.
Black flags and banners with the slogan, “Murdered by communists”, and a photo of Horáková will appear on buildings all over Prague with the electronic sirens system in the capital playing authentic recordings from her trial.
Horáková was the only woman executed by the communist regime in the political trials of the 1950s, becoming a symbol of defiance against the injustice and violence in then totalitarian Czechoslovakia.
After obtaining her law degree, Horáková headed the social care department at the Prague City Hall. During World War II, she joined the resistance movement, for which she was sentenced in 1944 to eight years in prison. After the war, as a member of the Czech National Social Party, she was elected a deputy.
However, she gave up her elected position in protest of the communist coup in Czechoslovakia in February 1948 and then arrested in September 1949.
Later, she was charged with high treason and conspiracy. The trial, led by Soviet advisers, began in May 1950, with the verdict being announced on June 8. However, Horáková refused to ask for a pardon despite many notable people, including Albert Einstein, asked the regime to change the verdict. She was executed on June 27, 1950.
“Milada Horáková was murdered by the communists. There was only one reason for this crime: Dr. Milada Horáková was not indifferent to injustice and dared to face it. We must commemorate her story and defend it from those for whom the truth is still uncomfortable,” wrote Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib on Facebook, attaching footage of the trial.
“I feel obliged to involve the city in the memorial event commemorating 70 years since the judicial murder of Dr. Horáková. She is a symbol of the despotism of the Communist regime and the total abuse of the justice system with the aim to remove uncomfortable critics. We must also commemorate such tragic events to keep in mind what has happened to our nation and not to be doomed to repeat our past,” explained Prague Councilor Jan Chabr.
The political trials, first launched in the Soviet Union, hit the countries of the Eastern bloc after the Kremlin called for a “model process” that would deter all potential opponents of the regime.
Eventually, Horáková was chosen by Soviet authorities to be implicated as the head of the fabricated conspiracy. Thirteen defendants, including Horáková, appeared before the State Court in May 1950.
The lawsuit accused them of plotting a coup and several terrorist actions out of hatred towards the regime. Allegedly, they worked with the intelligence services of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Yugoslavia.
A total of four people were executed as a result of this trial.
Title image: Milada Horáková appears before the court (Rostislav Novák / Czech News Agency)