Adam Bartos, chairman of National Democracy, a far-right Czech political party, and Ladislav Zemanek, a party official, have been convicted of an anti-Semitic hate crime according to the Prague Daily Monitor.
The pair had left a signed note last Easter at a memorial to Anezka Hruzova, a 19-year-old Christian woman who was murdered in 1899 in the southeastern Czech town of Polna.
Both men later posted a photograph of the note on social media.
Leopold Hilsner, from the local Jewish ghetto, was sentenced to death for the crime, which attorneys alleged had been part of a Jewish ritual. The case received a great deal of attention and became one of Europe’s most notorious blood libel trials. Hilsner was pardoned after 18 years in prison but never acquitted.
The cause celebre triggered waves of anti-Semitism in the Czech Lands at the beginning of the 20th century. Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, who later became the first Czechoslovak president (1918-35), denied the theory of a ritual murder for which he faced vicious public attacks.
The note, signed by Bartos and Zemanek on behalf of the National Democracy party, said the murder “united the Czech nation and showed the urgent need to solve the Jewish question. The Jewish question has not been satisfactorily dealt with to this day.”
The judge issued a criminal order in the case, but the exact penalty will not be disclosed until the decision has been delivered to all parties. Bartos said he was surprised at the speed of the decision as the charges had only been brought last week.
He said he wanted a trial to be held before a court and that he would raise a protest against the criminal order.