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Prague Trial Concludes; 11 Sentenced to Death, Three to Life Terms

The Prague “purge” trial, which was conducted with strongly anti-Semitic overtones, concluded today with 11 defendants–nine of them Jews–sentenced to death by hanging on charges of “treason and sabotage” and “plotting against the state in the interests of the West and of Israel.” The other three were sentenced to life imprisonment. They included two Jews–Arthur London and Evzen Loebl, Czech Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Trade, respectively.

In demanding the death sentence for the accused ex-Communist leaders, the prosecutor told the court: “It is no accident that of the fourteen accused eleven are the product of Zionist organizations. The danger of Zionism has increased with the foundation of the State of Israel by the Americans. Zionism and Jewish bourgeois nationalism are two sides of the same coin, which was minted in Wall Street.”

Reports reaching here today from Czechoslovakia reveal that the anti-Jewish propaganda which marked the trial has inspired anti-Semitic elements throughout the country to start open incitement against Jews. In Bratislava Jewish houses were marked with chalked inscriptions ” Frightened leaders of the local Jewish community, one report said, appealed to the authorities but were told that they need not remove the inscriptions since they have nothing to fear.

OFFICIAL COMMUNIST ORGAN ASKS DESTRUCTION OF ZIONISM

For the first time since the “treason” trial opened, the Prague Communist organ, Rude Pravo, sought to distinguish between Zionism and the Jewish people and to argue that while the Czech Communist Party opposes Zionism, it is, however, “consistently internationalist” and as such opposes anti-Semitism. The newspaper said that the Communists “must destroy Zionism.”

In a vicious attack on the Zionist movement, the paper said that among “the scum which has linked itself with United States imperialism to destroy the achievements of our people, to liquidate the people’s democratic order, to restore capitalism in our country and to bring it under the yoke of the imperialists, “a foremost place was held by the Zionists, “a reliable agency of United States imperialism.”

(In Tel Aviv today the Israeli police guard around the Czechoslovak legation was strengthened after an unidentified person threw a stone at the building and smashed a window, following the announcement of the verdict at the Prague trial.)

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