The Slansky Trial: Stalinism, anti-semitism and conspiracy theories: Workers' Liberty 3/36

The Slansky Trial: introduction

Published on: Mon, 06/02/2012 - 20:43

2012 marks the 60th anniversary of the so-called Trial of the Anti-State Conspiratorial Centre led by Rudolf Slansky.


The Slansky trial: contents.

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The Slansky Trial was one of a series of Eastern European post-war Stalinist show-trials in which leading Communist Party members confessed — after prolonged physical and psychological torture — to being longstanding agents of American imperialism.

But the trial also broke new ground. It was the first show-trial in which state-sponsored anti-semitism played a central role. As the New York Times, reporting under the

The Slansky Trial: the rehearsals

Published on: Mon, 06/02/2012 - 20:38

At the centre of the supposed conspiracy was Rudolf Slansky, a lifelong member of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (CPC). He had joined the party at its inception in 1921 and been elected to its Central Committee in 1929.


The Slansky trial: contents.
Elected to the Czechoslovak National Assembly in 1935, Slansky fled to the Soviet Union after the German annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938. He returned to Czechoslovakia in 1944, taking part in the Slovak National Rising, and was elected CPC General Secretary the following year.

Following the CPC putsch of 1948, in which the non-CPC parties

The Slansky Trial and “cosmopolitians”

Published on: Mon, 06/02/2012 - 20:33

The same meeting also marked the introduction of “anti-Zionism” (in reality: anti-semitism) into the preparations for the eventual show-trial.


The Slansky trial: contents.
While Gottwald made no more than a passing reference to the high number of arrested CPC members who “did not grow from the roots of our country and our party,” the party’s ideologue, Vaclav Kopecky spoke at length about the dangers of “cosmopolitanism” and Zionism:

“Cosmopolitans should in principle not be posted in leadership positions. This truly is an issue of cosmopolitanism, not a racial question. There are people of

The Slansky Trial: the performance

Published on: Mon, 06/02/2012 - 20:26

On 20 November 1952 the Slansky Trial finally opened in Prague.


The Slansky trial: contents.
Court documentation published in preparation for the trial emphasised the fact that this was not a trial of “ordinary” Czechoslovak nationals: the names of 11 of the 14 defendants were followed by the words “of Jewish origin.” Where the name was deemed not to sound sufficiently Jewish, the original name of the accused was also included: Slansky alias Salzmann, Frejka alias Freund, and Andre Simone alias Otto Katz.

Slansky and his 13 accomplices were accused of “high treason, espionage, sabotage and

The Slansky Trial and Israel

Published on: Mon, 06/02/2012 - 20:19

They claimed to have also sabotaged the Czechoslovak economy by making trade agreements with Israel under which the latter paid 17% less than it should have done for goods which it imported from Czechoslovakia.


The Slansky trial: contents.
Otto Sling, one-time CPC Brno Regional Secretary, “confessed” to having been part of a British espionage organisation and to having prevented accurate information about anti-Czechoslovak conspiracies from reaching Gottwald.

Sling also outlined the role of the “conspiratorial centre” in the event of war:

“Our anti-state conspiratorial centre was a fifth

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