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Loebl, Eugen


LOEBL, EUGEN (1907–1987), Czechoslovak economist and politician. Loebl was born in Holič, Slovakia, into a wealthy Jewish family. In 1934 he became a member of the Communist Party. In March 1939, when the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia, Loebl fled to England, where he served as economic consultant to Jan Masaryk, the foreign minister of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile. After World War ii, he became a departmental head in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and a leading member of the Communist Party's economic council. In 1947 he headed the Czechoslovak mission to Moscow, which negotiated the first postwar political and economic agreement with the U.S.S.R., and in the following year, after the Communist seizure of power, became first deputy in the ministry of foreign trade. Loebl supported Czechoslovakia's acceptance of the American Marshall Aid Plan and also initiated the Czechoslovak-Israel transfer agreement. In November 1949 Loebl was arrested and put on trial together with Rudolf *Slansky. Under duress he confessed his guilt and in 1952 he was sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1963 he was rehabilitated and appointed director of the state bank in Bratislava. From 1965 onward, he campaigned for the implementation of economic reforms and the democratization of the Czechoslovak Communist regime. Following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Loebl moved first to Israel, and from there overseas, trying his luck in Canada and the United States. In Canada he joined the World Slovak Congress, an organization of Slovak exiles, mostly former supporters of the wartime Slovak state. In this organization he was elected vice president. In the United States he worked as an economist. His writings include Geistige Arbeitdie wahre Quelle des Reichtums (1966), Hinter den Kulissen des Slansky Prozesses (1968), an account of the Slansky trial, and Stalinism in Prague (1969).

[Erich Kulka /

Yeshayahu Jelinek (2nd ed.)]

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