OCTOBER 23, 1950
HYDE PARK, Sunday—All of us will welcome the day when General MacArthur can announce at last that the United Nations forces are finally victorious in Korea, and the fighting is over. One wishes, too, that in other parts of Asia peace could come and settlements be made around the table instead of on the field of battle.
On Friday evening I attended a memorial service held here for Dr. Milada Horakova, lawyer, member of Parliament and president of the National Council of Women in Czechoslovakia. She was a noble crusader for freedom, human rights and justice. In 1939, when the Nazis occupied her country, she was undaunted in her opposition to them. In consequence she spent four years in jail and was sentenced to death in Dresden. The sentence was commuted, and the American army freed her in 1945.
She went back immediately to work for the widows and orphans who were victims of Nazi persecution. She fought against Communism just as she had fought against Nazism, and when the Communists came into power in Czechoslovakia in February, 1948, she knew that her days of freedom were numbered. She was arrested in September, 1949, and accused of being unfriendly to the Soviet Union and friendly to the Western democracies. She was one of 13 men and women tried in June, 1950. With three of the men, she was sentenced to death and executed on June 27.
Dr. Horakova admitted to the crime of wanting free elections under international supervision and of wanting to change the present rule of terror in Czechoslovakia. Her last words were that she was content to die for what she had done.
Women's organizations all over the world protested the sentence and execution, but protests of that kind are not heard very loudly in some countries. A spirit like that of Dr. Horakova, however, will live on and inspire other people to fight for the things in which they believe. When these things are freedom, justice and fundamental human rights, they must in the end win out.
It was interesting to me to find that several women representing the National Council of Women attended this meeting on Friday night. I drove home with one who came from Utah and another from Indiana. Apparently this concern for a free and liberal soul in a far country is widespread in our country, and it should help us finally to get the ear of people even in the totalitarian states.
I find that an increasing number of people are concerned about our own freedom here in this country. All four of the women with me in the taxicab spoke of the fact that we were passing legislation and acting, in general, largely through fear, and that such motivations were dangerous. They felt that whether these fears affect only our lawmakers or reach down into our communities, they build an atmosphere of suspicion and uncertainty instead of giving us confidence and security in ourselves.