REPORT ON MY HUSBAND by Josefa Slanska


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Through the eyes of the principal victim's widow, this is (part of) the story of the Czech purges of 1951-2, in which Rudolf Slansky, Central Secretary of the Czech Communist Party, was tried--along with others--and executed for crimes against State and Party. The narrative is in two parts: first, a documentary record, with excerpts from the press (""Throughout the whole land rings the voice of hatred and contempt for this gang of spies and traitors""), the court record (which notes the ""Jewish"" origin of most of the accused), and from the grudging rehabilitations of 1960-3. After which, Mrs. Slanska's own account of her life with ""Ruda,"" and of the nine years of imprisonment and persecutions she suffered after his fall. In spite of the documents and the personal testimony, the central events remain sketchy. The author, a rather simple-minded, idealistic comrade who believed, ""If Stalin says so, it must be true."" never suggests why her husband was attacked (some think it was a scapegoating effort by Party leaders evening up the failures of the Five Year Plan) or why he made such an abject confession (not included here). Possibly Mrs. Slanska's freedom of speech was limited--the book dates from the pre-Dubcek era. In any case, the general reader would need a Western-oriented introduction to understand the background of this Darkness-at-Noon memoir.

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1969
Publisher: Atheneum