The Czech government’s Commissioner for Human Rights Helena Válková (ANO) is under pressure after the news site Info.cz accused her of defending laws used against dissidents during the normalisation era, providing an article on “protective surveillance” that she penned with a famous show trial procurator in 1979 as evidence. Mrs Válková told Czech Radio that the accusation was a “horrendous lie”. However, the opposition has called for her resignation and even the prime minister says that the allegations need to be explained.
Former minister of justice and current government commissioner for human
rights, Helena Válková, defended laws against dissidents during the
Communist regime, the news site info.cz reported on Thursday.
At the turn of the 1970s and 80s, Mrs Válková published a series of articles in which she defended measures used by the Communist regime to restrict the rights of its opponents, the website writes.
It also says she collaborated on writing one of her articles with the state prosecutor Josef Urválek, who was responsible for securing the death sentences of Milada Horáková, Rudolf Slánský and others in 1950s Communist show trials.
Mrs Válková, whom President Miloš Zeman recently proposed for the post of the Czech Republic’s ombudswoman, denied any wrongdoing, saying the article was insulting and untruthful.
The Prague Municipal Court on Wednesday rehabilitated the late General
Milan Píka over his unjustified imprisonment by the Communist regime in
the late 1940s. The judge said it was the only possible response to the
wrongs committed against him by the regime.
Milan Píka was jailed in 1948 for allegedly plotting to break his father, General Heliodor Píka, out of prison. In 1949 war hero Heliodor Píka became the first victim of judicial murder during Czechoslovakia’s Communist show trials.
Milan Píka died earlier this year and the case to clear his name was taken by his daughter Dagmar Sedláčková.
Until recently Zdeněk Toman was an obscure name to many Czechs. However, his incredible story has now reached a broad audience thanks to an eponymous film about him that was released last autumn. Just this week Toman was nominated for 13 prizes at the upcoming annual Czech Lion awards. I spoke to Martin Šmok, the man who originally discovered his extraordinary story.
The Czech National Archive has taken possession of recently discovered film
and audio recordings of the 1950s show trial of Rudolf Slánský and
others. Since being found the materials had been looked after by the
National Film Archive. The NFA comes under the Ministry of Culture, which
had promised to apply for government funding for their care.
A spokesperson for the National Archive (which comes under the Ministry of the Interior) said however that it should oversee the recordings under Czech law.
The valuable materials were uncovered by chance by insolvency administrators at a factory in Central Bohemia.
It’s been described by one historian as one of the greatest finds about the Czechoslovak communist era. Several kilometres of film and sound were recently discovered at a factory and they cover the show trial of one of the country’s top communist officials. Details of the discovery and plans for the find were revealed on Thursday.
Heda Margolius Kovály was a well-known writer and translator who survived the Auschwitz extermination camp and whose first husband, Rudolf Margolius, a deputy minister of foreign trade, was found guilty in the notorious Slánský show trials in what is one of the darkest chapters of in modern Czechoslovak history. In the 1970s, Heda published a memoir which has been in print ever since, but now, a new publication called “Hitler, Stalin and I”, based on four days of interviews with documentary filmmaker Helena Treštíková in 2000 and made into a film
The country’s Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes on Tuesday launched a new project to commemorate victims of former Czechoslovakia’s communist regime. Called “Last Address”, the idea was inspired by similar initiatives in Russia. Within the project, plaques will be installed at victims’ final addresses – recalling their lives and what they stood for, for which they died.
Communist Party MP Marta Semelová, who shocked many with her comments on the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia and the judicial murder of Milada Horáková in the 1950s, will not have to apologize for her words. A Prague district court dismissed the case against her on Wednesday, saying that the complaint was legally unsubstantiated.