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Zeman: Peroutka succumbed to Nazi ideology

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Prague, May 23 (CTK) – The late Ferdinand Peroutka was definitely a great journalist but he succumbed to the Nazi ideology at a certain stage, which can be proved by his articles written in 1938-39, Czech President Milos Zeman said at the Zofin Forum discussion meeting on Wednesday.

Zeman said Peroutka’s article “Czechs, Germans and Jews” is repulsively anti-Semitic. He said he considers Peroutka’s article “Dynamic Life” to be a celebration of Adolf Hitler.

Zeman and representatives of his office made similar statements even before.

In his address at a conference on the Holocaust in 2015, Zeman said Peroutka showed pro-Nazi leanings which could be proved by his article “Hitler is a Gentleman” published in his Pritomnost (Present) magazine. Czech historians said Peroutka wrote no such text, but Zeman insisted on having read it.

Peroutka’s granddaughter Terezie Kaslova sued Zeman for slander and demanded an apology. Zeman refused this. His spokesman Jiri Ovcacek searched for the article for a long time, but in vain. Zeman’s office claimed that other articles by Peroutka, especially the two above mentioned, proved Peroutka’s admiration for Nazism. Experts did not share this opinion.

In the Zeman vs Peroutka’s granddaughter dispute, a court ruled in 2016 that Zeman should apologise for declaring that Peroutka wrote an article “Hitler is a Gentleman.” As the Presidential Office ignored the verdict and did not apologise, Kaslova filed a distraint proposal against it. But the Supreme Court decided that the Presidential Office need not apologise as the verdict is not final.

On Wednesday, Kaslova said the Supreme Court ordered a new trial in the dispute.

Zeman said on Wednesday he made a mistake three years ago when he referred to an article that cannot be found.

Zeman said he was fully satisfied with the verdict from 2016 that ordered the Presidential Office to apologise.

Peroutka (1895-1978) was a prominent Czech democratic journalist of the interwar period. He was imprisoned by the Nazi regime in 1939-1945. He left the country after the 1948 communist coup and later worked for Radio Free Europe. He died in the USA.

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