Václav Nosek, Minister of the Interior within the newly formed Czechoslovak Government and Chairman of the Society for the Restoration of Lidice, was born on September 26th, 1882, in Velká Dobrá, near Kladno, into a mining family. He worked in the Kladno mines for many years. As a member of the Social Democratic Party, he became involved in the party apparatus in Kladno. As the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia grew in popularity during the 1930s, Nosek left the Democrats in favour of the hard-line movement. His involvement came via the trade union movement, which the Communist Party successfully penetrated. The “Nose” rose to become the leader of the Czech International All-Union Association.
After the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, martial law was declared in Kladno, and Nosek decided to emigrate as he was threatened with arrest. He eventually reached Great Britain via Poland and Sweden, where, as a Communist Party official, he represented the Soviet Union’s interests in London’s Czechoslovak Government-in-exile. At the beginning of November, President in exile Edvard Beneš appointed Nosek and four other communists to the State Council. The Moscow leadership approved entry into this institution.
Nosek, who became known as a “good communist” by the Czech Democrats for his solidarity and cooperative approach, devoted himself to giving lectures and engaging in educational activities for the benefit of Czechoslovakia during his time in Britain, working within the Council.
In March 1945, Nosek flew as part of a state delegation to Moscow for negotiations on a governance programme. He never returned to London, instead being appointed Minister of the Interior of the new Czechoslovak Government, one of the most important posts within Czechoslovakia and a launchpad for control of its political machinery. He held this position until September 1953, when he moved to the Ministry of Social Welfare, then later the Ministry of Labour, where he worked until July 22nd, 1955.
Nosek, the prime mover behind the construction of a new Lidice, was also a principal agitator at a community level and within industry, ruthless in the pursuit of the Communists’ manifesto and willing to implement totalitarian methods. As Minister of the Interior, he played a significant role in the coup d’état that brought totalitarian Communist rule to Czechoslovakia in February 1948. And he was brazenly candid about it, once announcing at a speech in Brno in October 1947 that he was happy to apply the techniques of the Nazis to the Communist cause in order that the Czechs out-Gestapo the Gestapo:
“We are accused of Gestapism. I do not deny it. On the contrary, we shall show our opponents that we can do this better than the Germans,” he said.
With this ideological thinking at work in 1947, the groundwork was being laid for the political weaponisation of the future village of Lidice by an increasingly hard-line Stalinist government.