STALINISM IN PRAGUE: The Loebl Story by Eugen Loebl


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Dr. Loebl, former Deputy Foreign Trade Minister of Czechoslovakia, is one of the few major survivors of the treason trials in Eastern Europe in the late 40's and early 50's with which Stalin sought to establish complete Soviet hegemony in the satellite bloc. The first of fourteen prominent Czech Communists arrested as ""conspirators"" in the notorious Slansky case (tried in November, 1952), Loebl describes and documents his experiences during the three years in which he was accused, imprisoned, questioned, tried, and sentenced for crimes he never committed. His grim account of the genesis of a ""traitor"" reveals how the specific victims were chosen by Beria's Soviet secret police and broken down by inhuman interrogation until they ceased to be human themselves, so intimidated and conditioned they wouldn't dream of withdrawing their ""confessions"" even if invited to do so by the Prosecutor himself, and how the trials were then organized and rehearsed down to the very last detail. The section on the trial proceedings is adapted from a transcript prepared by the BBC Monitoring Service. Loebl got by with a life sentence, was released conditionally in 1961 and finally ""rehabilitated"" in 1963, left the country after the Soviet invasion of 1968, and is now teaching in the U.S. Still deeply committed to an independent, humanistic socialism, Loebl offers a chilling and clinical dissection of Stalinism at its worst.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1969
Publisher: Grove