Communist Josef Šoupal, the man who shot the minister

Josef Šoupal was born in 1903 into a poor family from the working-class district of Kokořín. Supposedly he was supposed to be a fanatical communist, but according to the opinion of the Ostrava collector and historian Milan Bajgar, who has a great hobby for the First Republic, Josef Šoupal was probably a man who suffered from a behavioural disorder with a tendency to antisocial behaviour and was indifferent to politics.

The first Minister of Finance of the independent Czechoslovak Republic, Alois Rašín, died at the hands of Josef Šoupal, a native of Německý Brod. The minister was shot at with two pistol shots on Friday, January 5, 1923, and Alois Rašín succumbed to his wounds on February 18 of that year.

Josef Šoupal graduated from the German-Brod Business School and after graduation found a job in an insurance company. From an early age he grew up in a proletarian environment – in the most communist district in the city – Na Kokořín. His father was a shoemaker, later he worked as a construction worker, and his mother earned extra money by repairing stockings from the Brothers Mahler factory. In 1921, the Communist Party was founded in Brod and found its regional headquarters in the town, specifically Na Ostrov.

Among the young communists was Josef Šoupal, who was apparently already planning his assassination at that time. He proudly claimed his crime and was sentenced to 18 years in a heavy prison, along with four of his Communist colleagues from Brod. He was released in 1943, when he also returned to Brod. After the war he changed his name and moved to North Bohemia, where he also died in 1959. In the pleiad of well-known Brod personalities, Šoupal is one of the few exceptions who made the town famous for a destructive act.

Šoupal, in his opinion, resembles, rather than a political fanatic, criminals from modern history who sometimes commit their acts without any emotion or remorse, just so they can become visible and enjoy their five minutes of fame on the media scene. They are indifferent to some, in quotation marks, higher goals, such as political changes in the social order.

Thus, Šoupal was, rather than a fanatical communist, a mere sociopath who used the political climate of the time for his own purposes. The armed Šoupal wanted to kill Minister Alois Rašín before Christmas 1922, when he came to his office, but the minister’s subordinates did not let the young unknown man into their boss’s office and thus thwarted the first murderous attempt of the German-born man. The second time, however, Šoupal was more successful.

Šoupal adopted the name Ilja Pravda

Sociopaths are people who suffer from antisocial personality disorder. According to psychologists, this disorder is characterized by a lack of empathy, an inability to feel pity or shame, manipulative behavior, egocentrism, and the ability to lie in order to achieve one’s goals.

Sociopaths can be dangerous, but they are often just insufferable and impossible to get along with. They lie without shame, often thinking they are great and wonderful. They usually don’t respond to criticism at all and have an exaggeratedly high opinion of themselves. They also feel that they deserve only a great life and that only great things should happen to them without any effort. Their subsequent fates then remain largely shrouded in mystery. After his release, the German-Brod native took the name Ilya Pravda and moved somewhere in northern Bohemia, where he also died in 1959.

Josef Šoupal (11 March 1903 Německý Brod – November 1959 Ústí nad Labem)


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