The seat of the Academy of Sciences on Národní třída in Prague.
Prague – Historian Karel Kaplan died at the age of 94 on Sunday. He was the author of many scientific publications, mainly on Czechoslovak history between 1945 and 1968. In 2008, President Václav Klaus awarded him a medal for services to the state in the field of science. The Institute for Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (AV ČR), where Kaplan worked for many years, reported on the death of the pioneer of the historiography of Czechoslovak contemporary history.
Karel Kaplan was born in 1928 in Horní Jelení in Pardubice. In 1947, he joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) and 13 years later became an employee of the apparatus of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in Prague. Due to his so-called revisionist attitudes, he later had to leave it and in 1964 found employment at the Historical Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, where he worked as deputy director in the second half of the 1960s.
During the Prague Spring, Kaplan was involved in pro-reform politics and sat in the so-called Piller Commission, which was supposed to re-examine the political processes of the 1950s. Kaplan was subsequently expelled from the Communist Party, and in 1976 he traveled to West Germany, where he managed to take copies of archival materials he had been collecting for years. During the years of exile, he processed these materials in publications, through which he provided valuable insight into the repressive power structures of the communist state, the Memory of the Nation website states.
Kaplan worked in exile until 1989. After the establishment of the Institute for Contemporary History, based on at the offer of the historian Vilém Prečan, he became one of his first researchers. He worked at the institute for 13 years and was an emeritus worker since 2016. During this time, he published a number of publications, mainly on Czechoslovak post-war history. Among other things, he was the author of the books Communist Regime and Political Processes in Czechoslovakia, National Front 1948-1960 or the multi-volume Chronicle of Communist Czechoslovakia.