Alois Eliáš


Alois Eliáš

Alois Eliáš (September 29, 1890 – June 19, 1942) was a Czechoslovak general and politician. He served as prime minister of Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia from April 27, 1939 to September 28, 1941.

Career in 1939-1942

The first government of the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia was only provisional in nature because it served as a survival of the Second Republic. An appropriate replacement of the mentioned government was discussed from the end of April 1939. The State President of the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia Emil Hácha sought Alois Eliáš as his best choice. Hácha counted on popularity which had been earned by Alois Eliáš during his famous military career. He served as Czech legionary in France during the World War I, later he reached the rank of general. Although doubtful, some historians assume Hácha also hoped Eliáš' former contacts with the Reichsprotektor Konstantin von Neurath could persuade the Reichsprotektor of a desirability of appointing Eliáš as the Prime Minister.

Finally, on April 27, 1939, he was appointed as the Prime Minister. Eliáš took the office led by a conviction of having a unique possibility to help his country. During his service he supported underground resistance to Nazi occupiers. On September 27, 1941, a week after the appointment of Reinhard Heydrich into the office of Reichsprotektor, Eliáš was arrested, put into trial and sentenced to death, but his execution was postponed. After Heydrich was assassinated (see Operation Anthropoid) nearly a year later, on May 27, 1942, Eliáš was finally executed in Kobylisy Shooting Range as a part of wide German reprisals for Heydrich's death.

Eliáš was given a state funeral with full honours on May 7, 2006 and was buried at Vítkov Cemetery in Prague.

Sandwich Affair

In September 1941, Alois Eliáš planned and executed a poisoning of important Czech journalists who were actively cooperating with the Nazi regime. Eliáš officially invited the journalists to the Office of the Government. He bought sandwiches and took them to the office of his urologist, whose name has been never published following the request of his family. At the urologist's office, the sandwiches were laced with botulotoxine, tuberculosis-causing Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and typhus-causing Rickettsia bacteria . Eliáš took the poisoned sandwiches to the Office of the Government. Although he handled highly infectious materials, he did not fall ill.

On September 18, 1941, the delegation of the invited journalists ingested the poisoned sandwiches. The editor of the journal Czech Word ("České slovo") Karel Lažnovský died the only victim of poisoning. Other journalists, including Jaroslav Křemen and Emanuel Vajtauer, fell ill.

The subsequent arrest of Eliáš was not a consequence of the poisoning attempt, but rather related to his cooperation with Czech resistance movement. Although Eliáš was interrogated after his arrest, he provided no information, proving his guilt by association with his collaborator.

References

* Kvaček, Robert, 2002. Czech History: Part Two [České dějiny II] . Prague, CZ: SPL-Práce, Úvaly, CZ: Albra.
* Lustigová, Martina, 2006. 'Alois Eliáš Poisoned Pro-Nazi Journalists' [Alois Eliáš otrávil pronacistické novináře] . Český Rozhlas 7, Radio Praha, February 24, 2006 [cited July 25, 2006] . Available from http://www.radio.cz/cz/clanek/76230

ee also

* Emil Hácha, president of the protectorate

External links

* [http://zivotopisyonline.cz/alois-elias.php Biography of Alois Elias (in Czech)]
* [http://zivotopisyonline.cz/protektoratni-vlada-1939-1942-clenove.php Members of government led by Elias, 27.4.1939 - 19.1.1942 (in Czech)]
* [http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/vysilani/101014917670250-pohreb-generala-eliase-a-jeho-manzelky.html Funeral of Alois Eliáš and his wife 8 May 2006] - record of direct transmission (in Czech)


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