Heliodor Píka

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Heliodor Píka as a French legionnaire during World War I

General Heliodor Píka (July 3, 1897 Štítina – June 21, 1949 Plzeň [1]) was a Czechoslovakian army officer. He is also well known as representative of Czechoslovakian anti-Nazi resistance and a victim of communism.

Early life[change | change source]

Heliodor Píka was born on July 3,1897 in Štítina near Opava. His father was Ignác Píka, who was a wheelwright. In 1915 he graduated from the Gymnasium in Opava. Originally, he wanted to study Pharmacy. In 1916 he was sent to the Galician front. On July 28, 1916, he was captured by Russian units in Berestechko. Later he joined Czechoslovakian legion.

Czechoslovak Army[change | change source]

In 1917 he was sent to the Western front in France. In Le Havre he went through intensive military training. He fought there until 1919.

In 1920 he graduated from École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr. He became a teacher at the Military academy in Hranice. In the 1930s, Píka acted as a military attaché to Romania and Turkey.

[2] In 1941 he cooperated with Czechoslovakian units in USSR. They were supported by Czechoslovakian government in exile. He also attended the ceremonial signing of the Czechoslovak-Soviet treaty. In 1943 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. After the war, he was promoted to major general and served as Deputy Chief of Staff.

Memorial plaque on the left side of the main entrance to the historic building of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic
 

Execution[change | change source]

At the time of the February coup, General Píka was ill. In March 1948, he had to stay at the military hospital in Prague. While he was recovering, General Reicin ordered him to be arrested and interrogated. He was falsely accused of spying and of High treason. In January 26 to 28, 1948 he was tried and sentenced to death. The execution took place in the prison in Plzeň on June 21, 1948.

Rehabilitation[change | change source]

Thanks to Milan Píka, who was Píkas son, his case was reviewed. A military court proved that there is no single piece of evidence, which would convict him. On December 13, 1968 he was cleared of all charges and fully rehabilitated.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Military historical archive" (PDF).
  2. "Life of Heliodor Píka".