Born Dec. 19, 1884, in Zakolany, near Kladno; died Nov. 13, 1957, in Prague. Leader in the Czechoslovakian and international workers’ movement, writer, and Czechoslovakian political figure; the son of L. Zápotocký.
Zápotocký was a stonemason by trade. After 1900 he was active in the youth movement of the Social Democratic Party. From 1907 to 1911 he was secretary of the regional Social Democratic Party organization in Kladno, while simultaneously holding a post in a trade union. In 1919 he was one of the organizers of the revolutionary wing of the Social Democratic Party, participating as a delegate in the Second Congress of the Comintern (Moscow, 1920), where he met V. I. Lenin. Zápotocký was one of the organizers of the December political strikes of 1920 and chairman of the revolutionary committee in Kladno. He was arrested along with 3,000 other participants in the strike and imprisoned for nine months. Zápotocký was one of the founders of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPC). After the party was founded in May 1921, Zápotocký became a member of the Central Committee, serving as secretary-general from 1922 to 1925. He attended the Sixth (1928) and Seventh (1935) Congresses of the Comintern, where he was elected a candidate member of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, and the Fourth Congress of the Profintern. From 1925 to 1938 he was a Communist Party deputy in the Czechoslovakian National Assembly and from 1929 to 1939 a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and secretary-general of the Central Council of Trade Unions (the Red Trade Unions). He played an important role in organizing the large strikes of farm workers (1929), metalworkers (1931), and miners (1932). After the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was outlawed in October 1938, Zápotocký became a member of its underground central committee. He was arrested by the Nazis in April 1939 and spent time in fascist prisons and concentration camps, where he participated in underground activities. After his liberation and return to Czechoslovakia in 1945 he became chairman of the Central Council of Trade Unions (until 1950), a member of the Presidium (Politburo from 1945 to 1954) of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and a deputy of the National Assembly (1945-53). From February 1945 until June 1948 he was deputy prime minister and from June 1948 until March 1953 prime minister; after March 1953 he was presi-dent of the republic. Zápotocký is the author of many articles on the workers’ movement as well as documentary novels of the Czech proletarian movement.