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Czech Republic Commemorates the Soviet Execution of Milada Horáková Today

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Today, various commemorations will take place to honor the memory of Milada Horáková, a lawyer and politician who was unjustly sentenced to death in a fabricated trial by the Communists in 1950. In addition to Horáková, other individuals who were executed, tortured, and imprisoned for political reasons will also be remembered. This day marks the 73rd anniversary of Horáková’s execution, as well as the commemoration of lawyer Oldřich Pecl, SNB staff sergeant Jan Buchal, and journalist Záviš Kalandra. The Czech Republic designates June 27 as the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Communist Regime.

Commemorative events will be held at significant locations, including the Pankrác Prison in Prague, where political prisoners were executed, the Milada Horáková monument in Mala Strana, Hradec Králové, and Terezín. Horáková, who participated in the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II, was imprisoned in the Small Fortress of Terezín. The unveiling of a memorial titled “Memorial to JUDr. Milada Horáková” by the academic sculptor Otmar Oliva will take place at the Milada Horáková Library in the Faculty of Law at Palacký University in Olomouc.

On Monday, people also paid tribute to the fate of Milada Horáková and other victims of communism at the Basilica of St. Peter and Paul in Vyšehrad. Notably, Horáková has a symbolic grave in the Vyšehrad cemetery, though the exact location of her remains remains unknown.

Together with Horáková, 12 other individuals who were accused of being part of a spy network faced a sham trial. Horáková, Pecl, Buchal, and Kalandra were sentenced to death on June 8, 1950, and executed 19 days later at Pankrác Prison. Although the sentences were overturned in 1968, the full judicial rehabilitation of the executed individuals did not occur until after 1989.

Milada Horáková, a lawyer, former MP of the National Socialist Party, and advocate for women’s rights, played an active role in the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II. She was imprisoned by the Gestapo for her involvement in the Women’s National Council. She also fought against the communist regime. In 1950, she was unjustly sentenced to death in a political trial for alleged espionage and treason. Despite international efforts to intervene on her behalf, she was executed. Horáková remains the only woman to have been convicted and executed by the Communists in Czechoslovakia following a political trial.

According to historians, approximately 250 people were executed for political reasons after February 1948. Additionally, at least 4,500 individuals died in prisons and camps due to torture or harsh living conditions. Vladivoje Tomek is regarded as the last person to have been executed in Czechoslovakia for political reasons. He was executed at Pankrác Prison on November 17, 1960, at the age of 27.

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