Milada Horáková and other victims of communism remembered across Czechia today

The politician and freedom fighter was executed in Prague 73 years ago along with three other people following a communist show trial. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 27.06.2023 12:30:00 (updated on 27.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Executed politician and lawyer Milada Horáková and others will be honored today. The Czech Republic commemorates June 27 as the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Communist Regime.

Horáková stood up against the single-party communist rule in Czechoslovakia, and became the subject of a show trial where she was accused of espionage and treason. On June 8, 1950, she was sentenced to death along with lawyer Oldřich Pecl, state security staff guard Jan Buchal, and journalist Závis Kalandra. They were all executed on June 27, 1950, in Pankrác prison in Prague.

memorial for Milada Horáková in Malá Strana. Photo: Raymond Johnston
Memorial for Milada Horáková in Malá Strana. Photo: Raymond Johnston

Commemorative events will take place today in Prague's Pankrác prison, at the Memorial for the Victims of Communism at the base of Petřín hill, at a memorial sculpture of a bird on a microphone in Malá Strana, as well as in Hradec Králové and in Terezín.

Horáková was imprisoned in the Small Fortress of Terezín as a participant in the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II. She will also be remembered at the Milada Horáková Library at the Faculty of Law of the Palacký University in Olomouc, where there is a sculpture of her, news agency ČTK reported.

There are several other memorial spots in Prague, including a plaque unveiled in Vinohrady in 2022, a statue in front of a church in Smíchov by sculptor Olbram Zoubek, a bust in Nusle, and an abstract sculpture in Zahrada Ztracenka. You can see them in our previous story. Banners commemorating Horáková were seen on public buildings in 2020 on the 70th anniversary of her execution.

Some commemorative events already took place yesterday at the cemetery in Vyšehrad, where there is a symbolic empty tomb. The exact location of her remains is unknown, as the communists kept it a secret to prevent it from becoming a rallying point for the opposition. A service was held in the Basilica of St. Peter and Paul in Vyšehrad to remember her and other victims of communism.

Plaque for Milada Horáková. Photo: Raymond Johnston
Plaque for Milada Horáková in Prague 2. Photo: Raymond Johnston

The sentences against Horáková and the others who were executed with her were overturned in 1968, but a judicial rehabilitation did not happen until after 1989.

Horáková's trial and execution were widely condemned around the world, with scientist Albert Einstein, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt all trying to intervene.

Horáková was the only woman convicted and executed in a political trial by the communists in Czechoslovakia. Historians say around 250 people were executed for political reasons after the February 1948 communist coup. At least 4,500 people died in prisons and camps as a result of torture or poor living conditions.  

Statue of Milada Horáková. Photo: Raymond Johnston
Statue of Milada Horáková in Prague 4. Photo: Raymond Johnston
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