Artur London

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Artur London (1 February 1915 – 8 November 1986) was a Czechoslovak communist politician and co-defendant in the Slánský Trial. He was born in Ostrava, Margraviate of Moravia, Austria-Hungary to a Jewish family.

London spent 1934-1937 in Moscow. In 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, he left to Barcelona where he worked for SIM (Servicio de Información Militar), an intelligence service run by the soviet NKVD. He moved to France after the defeat of the Republicans and, during World War II, was arrested by the Nazis and sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp. After the war he lived in Switzerland but soon moved with family to Prague, where he became a leading figure in the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and was eventually nominated deputy minister of foreign affairs in 1948. In 1951 he was arrested and became a co-defendant in the Slánský trial alongside Rudolf Slánský. London was accused of being a Zionist, Trotskyite and Titoist and sentenced to life in prison, but released in 1955 and rehabilitated in 1963.

After the Slánský trial, London collaborated with the authorities and served as a lead witness in other construed political processes against top Czechoslovak communists, such as Eduard Goldstücker, Josef Pavel, Osvald Závodský, Gustáv Husák, Otakar Hromádko and others.

He later moved to France with his wife Lise London, and the couple wrote L'Aveu (The Confession) there about his ordeal in the Prague Trials. While the main defendants were senior to London, he gained prominence worldwide by writing the book. The book was made into a film directed by Costa-Gavras, starring Yves Montand and Simone Signoret. Lise later narrated the documentary A Trial in Prague, dir. Zuzana Justman (2002, 83min).

Artur London died in Paris in 1986, aged 71. His wife Lise later died there in 2012, aged 96.[1][2]


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