Rudolf Slánski (b. 1901) was one of the earliest members of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. A ruthless ideologue, he was a committed and loyal supporter of Stalin. He was general secretary of the party from 1944, and played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Communist state in 1948. After the anti-Semitic purges of the late 1940s in the USSR, but also e.g. in Hungary under Rákosi, Stalin put great pressure on Gottwald to agree to a number of show trials to eradicate supposed Jewish and Titoist influence from the Communist Party. Slánski was arrested on 23 November 1951 and, under torture, he admitted all the charges laid before him, including accusations of ‘cosmopolitanism’ (i.e. Zionism). Together with ten fellow Jews, he was entenced to death on 26 November 1952, and hanged on 3 December. He was rehabilitated posthumously during the Prague Spring in May 1968.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).