Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Tschechische Akademie der Wissenschaften
E-Mail: katerina.capkova [at] nyu.edu
Kateřina Čapková at Academia.edu
Photo: Jana Plavec, Akademie věd ČR
The Trial that Shook the World: The Slánský Process and the Dynamics of Czechoslovak Stalinism
The aim of my three months stay in Potsdam at the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History is to finish my part of the book manuscript with the preliminary title The Trial that Shook the World: The Slánský Process and the Dynamics of Czechoslovak Stalinism that we are writing together with my colleagues Chad Bryant (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Diana Dumitru (Ion Creanga State University of Moldova). For the years 2019-2020 we received the Collaborative Research Fellowships of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) for our research. In 2021, based on one of the chapters, we have received book contract from the Oxford University Press.
Our book is guided by a key question: To what extent were the origins and evolution of the Slánský trial in 1952, and the antisemitism that defined it, the result of pressures from Stalin and Soviet advisors, and to what extent did they emerge as a result of local, Czechoslovak actions and motives? We also pursue a number of related questions: How was it that Czechoslovak Communists came to try and murder their own? Why was this Stalinist trial in Czechoslovakia more violent, more widely publicized, than those found any other country in the Eastern bloc, save perhaps Hungary? How to explain the continuation of Czechoslovak political trials, and the continued persecution of leading Communist functionaries, well after Stalin’s death? These questions, in turn, allow us to explore a set of dynamics related to Czechoslovak Communism, Stalinism, and postwar Jewish history more generally.
During her stay at the ZZF Potsdam Kateřina Čapková researches in Dep. I "Abt. I "Communism and Society".