Under A Cruel Star Paper

Under A Cruel Star Paper - Jim Stanley Prof. Youngblood...

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Jim Stanley Prof. Youngblood HIST 114 November 20, 2009 Heda’s Life Before and After Rudolph’s Arrest and How She Dealt With the Changes In 1952 the Czechoslovak Deputy Foreign Minister for Trade Rudolph Margolius was arrested for treason, tried and was executed along with 10 other government officials in what became known as the Slansky Trial. The book Under A Cruel Star was written by Rudolph’s wife Heda, and chronicles here experiences before, during, and after her husband’s trial. Although Rudolph was the one imprisoned and eventually executed, the broad reach of the Slansky Trial did not spare his wife Heda. The Czechoslovak Communist Party, like most others in Eastern Europe did not merely punish “offenders”; oftentimes their entire family was also punished. This paper will chronicle Heda’s transition from a member of the Party elite into an “enemy of the people” and the coping mechanisms she developed to survive in her new status. The book begins as Heda is deported from her native Prague to the ghetto of Lodz. From there she is transferred to a labor camp where she works in a brick factory. When the Russian Army nears the camp it is evacuated, its inhabitants made to march through the countryside to another camp. On this march Heda and two of her companions slip away from the rest of the group at night. When she finally returns to Prague she is shunned by the majority of her old friends because of the danger in
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harboring an escapee. Eventually Heda finds a place to stay at the home of one of her pre-war friends who is now in the resistance. Heda is taken care of by the resistance until the liberation of Prague, during which she volunteers with the Red Cross. Months after the war ended, Heda was reunited with Rudolph, whom she knew before the war. Eventually Heda and Rudolph move in together, and Rudolph becomes enamored with communism after studying it from an academic point of view. After much discussion, the two join the Communist Party; Rudolph takes a job with the Czechoslovak Chamber of Industry, and Heda as an art editor. After a period of time, Rudolph is offered a cabinet job in the Ministry of Foreign Trade; he tries to turn it down, however the Party orders him to accept it. As Rudolph continues to rise through the ranks of the government, Heda becomes worried about the dangers of his position, and this causes considerable tension between the couple. Eventually Rudolph is arrested as part of the Slansky Case, however Heda does not know that at the time. After Rudolph’s arrest and execution Heda
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2010 for the course HIST 114 taught by Professor Deniseyoungblood during the Summer '09 term at Vermont.

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Under A Cruel Star Paper - Jim Stanley Prof. Youngblood...

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