70 years ago, communists started a deadly court case

Four people including the only woman Milada Horakova were executed and many others were sentenced to many years in prison. The process started May 31 1950. It was exceptional by its extent, punishment and method that were used in the USSR in the thirties. Many famous people from all over the world unsuccessfully requested the reprieve.


In Autumn 1948 Horakova initiated a meeting of non-communist parties leaders and by that she caught communist attention. She was arrested in September the year after. At first communists did not know what to accuse her from. Then only one witness said Horakova was part of illegal nacional socialist movement.


The court process itself started in May 1950 and Soviet assistents had the main word in this. They even were part of the interrogations. They forced the accused people to learn the questions and answers by heart. They used physical and psychological pressure. Four people were executed, four people life sentenced and the rest convicted to many years in prison. With 35 other court processes it was the biggest case in the country´s history. 639 people were investigated.


Milada Horakova refused to ask for reprieve. Her father and daughter asked for her. Many other famous people including Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein asked the Czechoslovak president not to carry out the death sentence. Despite that Klement Gottwald approved the sentence. Horakova was executed at the end of June.


In the sixties then more "liberal" communist leadership cancelled the whole case. Horakova was fully rehabilitated in the 1990s. President Vaclav Havel then granted her the Order of Tomáš Garigue Masaryk in memoriam. She became the symbol of resistance against the totalitarian regime for her resistant stance during the constructed court case.