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Archive receives discovered film materials from 1952 show trial

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Prague, March 20 (CTK) – Several thousand kilometres of audiovisual materials from political show trials from 1952 were found in a disused plant in central Bohemia, National Film Archive (NFA) director Michal Bregant told CTK on Tuesday.

Although the existence of this material was speculated about for decades, as Bregant said, it took an insolvency administrator to discover 14 metal and six wooden boxes in an old production hall of a disused plant.

The insolvency administrator’s staff turned to experts to assess their contents.

Historians Petr Blazek and filmmaker Martin Vadas inspected the material in mid March, documented it photographically and stated it was seriously damaged. They also mediated the contact with the NFA.

The basic identification of the material revealed it captures the 1952 show trial of Rudolf Slansky, a former Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSC) general secretary who became the main victim in a show trial that led to his execution along with another eleven senior KSC members.

The boxes contained image and sound negatives, duplicate copies, tape recorder tapes, combined copies and rephotographed copies of original documents from the Central Committee of the KSC.

It is likely that the boxes were transported to the plant shortly after the Velvet Revolution overthrow of the Communist regime in 1989, where they remained hidden for 29 years, Bregant said.

The NFA was handed the material by the insolvency administrator on Tuesday and it is kept safe now. After the NFA experts inspect it thoroughly, it is to be secured and made accessible.

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