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Take Tomášská, go straight on and the first street on your left will lead you to the monument of a nightingale sitting on a microphone.
Joseph Faltus’s memorial commemorates the show trial of the courageous Czechoslovak politician and feminist, Milada Horáková (1901-1950). Milada Horáková showed her bravery when, in 1918 as a high school student, she took part in an anti-Austrian demonstration, stepped out of the procession and tossed a rose to Czech soldiers in the Újezd barracks. Students were at that time not allowed to participate in political life and Milada Horáková was therefore expelled from high school. In the new Republic, however, she was able to finish her studies and complete a law degree, after which worked for the Czechoslovak Red Cross and later in Prague’s Social Office. At the same time, she worked as a younger colleague of Františka Plamínková, the founder of the Women’s National Council, and Milada Horáková also followed Plamínková in joining the Czech National Socialist Party.
In 1939, Milada Horáková joined the anti-Nazi resistance movement, responsible for obtaining housing for fellow citizens facing persecution, cooperated with Politické ústředí (Political Headquarters), and became a member of the leadership of the petitions committee, Věrni zůstaneme (Faithful We Remain). When Milada Horáková and her husband Bohuslav were arrested by the Gestapo, their seven-year-old daughter was brought up by Bohuslav’s parents. Milada Horáková was imprisoned in Pankrác and in the Small Fortress in Terezín. In October 1944, the Nazis sentenced her to eight years in a female prison in Aichach near Munich, where she remained until the liberation by the US Army in April 1945.
With the war over, Milada Horáková wanted to devote herself more to her family, but the post-war atmosphere lured her back into public activities. She resumed her pre-war work for the National Socialist Party, became a member of Prozatimní shromáždění (Interim National Assembly) and Ústavodárné shromáždění (National Assembly for the Constitution). After Františka Plamínková was executed by the Nazis, Milada Horáková assumed the leadership of the women’s movement and became the chair of the Council of Czechoslovak women. As the Vice-President, she was also engaged in Svaz osvobozených politických vězňů (Union of Liberated Political Prisoners).
As a Democrat, she often found herself in conflict with the Communist Party and openly opposed their de facto coup d’état of February 1948. She did not emigrate, as many others did, although she must have been aware of the fact that powerful enemies wanted to destroy her. She was soon deprived of her positions and in protest resigned from her parliamentary mandate on March 10, 1948. She was expelled from many organizations, including some to which she had never belonged! Having experienced resistance in World War II, she began to work as before: she helped people facing persecution, worked on a new political agenda and maintained contact with people already in exile abroad.
She was arrested in September 1949 and played the leading part in the show trial run by Soviet security advisors sent by Stalin. In 1950, she and three other defendants were sentenced to death for alleged treason and espionage. The remaining nine defendants received sentences ranging from many years to life imprisonment and Milada Horáková was executed on June 27 1950. Before her execution, she wrote: “The birds are waking up - dawn is breaking. I go with my head up – one must also be able to lose. It is no shame. Even the enemy does not lose respect if they are true and honest. In a fight, people get killed, and what is life but a fight? My blessings to you!”
From the Nightingale on the microphone, it is about ten minutes to Hradčanské náměstí. Take Sněmovní as if toward the St. Nicholas church, but after about fifty meters turn right uphill to Thunovská: the Zámecké Schody stairs will lead you to Hradčanské náměstí and the statue of T.G. Masaryk.