A Trial In Prague

 

At the height of the Cold War, an infamous political show trial took place in Czechoslovakia. In 1952 fourteen leading Communists, including Rudolf Slansky, the second most powerful man in the nsky, the second most powerful man in the country, were tried on charges of high treason and espionage. Although they were innocent of these charges, they confessed and were convicted. Most of the men were hanged and three received life sentences. Eleven of the fourteen were Jews. The film tells the story of the trial and the paranoia of the period through testimonies, trial footage, archival films and extensive documentation. Among the people who appear in the film are Lise London, whose late husband Arthur (released from prison in 1956) wrote about the trial in a widely published memoir, The Confession; Eduard Goldstucker, a Kafka scholar and the first Czech Ambassador to Israel who was jailed and forced to testify at the trial; and Jan Kavan, the present Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose father, also a trial witness, died shortly after his release from prison. What led these men to their passionate belief in Communism and why did they publicly confess to crimes they did not commit?

"POWERFUL REMINDER OF THE ABUSES OF GOVERNEMNT."
Loren King, The Boston Globe

"STRAIGHTFORWARD, INFORMATIVE, AND CHILLING!"
Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

"A SOLID, EVEN ESSENTIAL, PIECE OF WORK ON AN IMPORTANT, BUT LITTLE REMEMBERED, DARK EPISODE OF TWENTIETH-CENTURY HISTORY."
Louis Menashe, Cineaste


 
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