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Quaker Studies

Authors

Maria Dowling

Abstract

This article takes as its theme the persecution of religious groups and individuals by governments that aspire to totalitarian power. Its subject is the Quakers of Prague during the first half of the twentieth century who suffered at the hands of both occupying German Nazis and native Czechoslovak Communists. In particular, the article focuses on Antonie Kleinerova (1901-1982), who entered into membership of the Religious Society of Friends in 1933 together with her husband.After the Nazis occupied the Czech lands in 1939 she was active in the underground resistance, and for this reason the couple were among the victims of the reign of terror under Heydr ich; he was shot, she spent the remainder of the war in Ravensbri.ick concentration camp. After the war and liberation she became a parliamentary deputy, but after the Communist coup of 1948 she joined the clandestine democratic opposition. As a result she was arrested in 1949, and was one of the co-defendants in the show trial of the more famous Milada Horakova in 1950. Antonie Kleinerova received a life sentence of which she served ten years. Within the context of her story, the article discusses the causes and nature of religious persecution, and the reasons for active resistance on the part of individuals.

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