Polja (Fields), magazine for culture and art collection
Polja magazine [Fields in English], is one of the longest running periodicals in the former Yugoslavia, and was first published in 1955 in Novi Sad. Throughout 506 issues, Polja has covered important periods in Yugoslavian cultural history and has featured young authors in the fields of literature, cultural theory, and literary and film criticism. The magazine has a history of providing a platform for social criticism, as it became inseparable from the youth-led organization Tribina mladih [Tribune of Youth] which criticized the social and political situation in the country and the culture of its time.
The FV 112/15 Group Collection is a blend of artistic materials representing the time, social movements, and lifestyle of young people in Slovenia in the 1980s. It documents a central part of Ljubljana’s subculture and the alternative youth movement through the work of an amateur theatre group called the FV 112/15 Theatre and through the activities of three alternative clubs. The group cultivated an ironic attitude toward socialism and deconstructed bourgeois stereotypes.
The Lajos Vajda Studio was officially established in 1972 as a circle of visual artists interested in experimental practices. The origins of the cohesiveness of the group lie in the spirit of the place and the group’s attachment to Szentendre and its artistic traditions. At the end of the 1960s, a vital, informal counterculture-cell came into existence in Szentendre in part because of the activities of young artists who inspired one another. The archive documents the history and the activities of the studio and its members.
Gheorghe Zgherea Collection at SIS Archive Moldova
Gheorghe Zgherea Collection at SIS Archive Moldova
This ad-hoc collection was separated from the fonds of judicial files concerning persons subject to political repression during the communist regime which is currently stored in the Archive of the Intelligence and Security Service of the Republic of Moldova (formerly the KGB Archive). It focuses on the case of Gheorghe Zgherea, a person of peasant background who was a member of the Inochentist religious community, a millenarian and eschatological movement active in Bessarabia and Transnistria mostly during the first half of the twentieth century. The collection materials are revealing for the repressive policy of the Soviet regime in the religious sphere, showing the Soviet authorities’ hostile attitude toward non-mainstream and marginal denominations, which were perceived as a particularly serious threat. Zgherea, a preacher within his community starting from late 1950, was accused of “roaming the villages” of the Moldavian SSR and spreading “anti-Soviet ideas” among the local populace by “using their religious prejudices.” Arrested on 2 May 1953, he received a harsh sentence of twenty-five years of hard labour. His sentence was reduced to five years of hard labour in June 1955, when he was also amnestied according to a special decree of March 1953. Zgherea’s case thus points to the changing strategies of the regime applied after Stalin’s death, but also to the continuity of repression and to the shifting practices of stifling dissent in post-Stalinist Soviet society.
By means of the concert posters that he kept, Mihai Manea’s collection documents the coordinates of alternative musical culture in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly the jazz, rock, and folk genres. In communist Romania, these Western-inspired genres were permitted in the public space with considerable reservations and suspicion, given that they contravened the “Theses of July 1971” by which Nicolae Ceauşescu had imposed the re-autochthonizing of culture and the arts.
The Nelu Stratone collection is one of the most impressive collections of rock, jazz, and folk records created in communist Romania, as a result of the happy combination between its owner’s exceptional passion for alternative music and his ability to acquire records that were not imported officially. The collection is important not only for its size, but even more for the significant number of albums of Western provenance, which were unavailable in shops in Romania but could nevertheless be obtained due to the existence of an alternative market for such products. The creation and preservation of such a collection were activities regarded with suspicion by the communist authorities in Romania, because they proved the younger generation’s fascination with Western cultural products, in contravention of the spirit of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s Theses of July 1971.
Collection of the Calvinist youth congregation of Pasarét
Collection of the Calvinist youth congregation of Pasarét
The collection, which is the private property of István Viczián, illustrates the history of the Calvinist youth organization of Pasarét under socialism. The collection includes letters and photographs, which provide insights into the aspirations of the group to create an active religious community in an era when such communities were a threat to and contradiction of official communist youth policy.
The second issue of the magazine Viks, entitled “Homosexuality and Culture,” came out on April 24,1984, the opening day of the Magnus Film Festival, the first cultural manifestation dedicated to homosexuality in any socialist country. The magazine was edited by a group of gays and lesbians who gathered around the youth cultural center ŠKUC and organized the festival. This special edition of the magazine was printed in 600 copies and handed to audiences at the festival. It contains 42 pages, and approximately 20 illustrations with contemporary, easily recognizable European gay subcultural motifs. Over the three following decades, this issue of Viks gained a cult status in Slovenian and the post-Yugoslav LGBT community, and was exhibited at events dedicated to the history of homosexuality and the LGBT movement.
Alongside the festival’s program and a schedule of affiliated cultural and club events, in an effort to appeal to the younger generation of Ljubljana’s gays, lesbians and artists, Viks also carried several lengthy programmatic articles and interviews with emancipatory, educational and mobilizing overtones. Thus it aligned itself politically and theoretically with contemporary liberationist, leftist and counter-cultural movements in Slovenia and Western Europe. These texts promote an ideal of freely and openly lived (homo)sexuality. Non-normative sexual practices were viewed as strongly dissident in nature, but not so much against socialism as against patriarchal and traditional forms of sexual and family life.
The article “Pink Love under the Red Stars – Homosexuality under Real Socialism” (“Roza ljubezen pod rdečimi zvezdami – homoseksualizem pod realnim socializmom,” pp. 18-21) delivers a historical overview of the legal and social status of same-sex sexual and emotional relationships in socialist countries. The anonymous author is equally critical of the 20th century discrimination of homosexuality both in western liberal democracies and socialist countries. However, the Stalinist period in the USSR was seen as especially brutal and arduous insofar as it attributed negative political meanings to homosexuality, declaring homosexuals “traitors,” foreign “spies,” decadent bourgeoisie, and enemies of socialism. Soviet homosexuals, the article suggests, were not able to recover from this traumatic period, and were still unable to engage with emancipatory social movements and practices. At the same time, the example of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, known also as East Germany) is held as an example of both positive changes in communist stance on homosexuality, and a way in which, since the late 1970s, a dialogue could take place between the government and gay and lesbian groups.
This collection is a valuable source of knowledge about a religious and philosophical doctrine of great cultural influence. The Christian Esoteric School of the so-called Universal White Brotherhood, created by Petar Danov / Beinsa Douno in 1922, was registered as a religious community after the establishment of Communist rule in 1948. In practice, however, the Brotherhood, referred to by the socialist state as “the Danovists’ Sect", led a semi-legal existence: their properties were seized and so-called "reactionary literature by author P. Danov" was confiscated, members of the Brotherhood and supporters were subjected to persecution, sentenced in prison and forced labour camps. State Security agents also infiltrated the spiritual community and a number of publications were published to rebut the "antiscientific and reactionary nature of Danovism". Despite these harsh conditions, followers of Petar Danov / Beinsa Douno managed to preserve their movement. This collection, which covers a wide period from the end of the 19th century through the present day, documents the activities of Petar Danov and his followers. Additionally, the collection demonstrates the increased interest and importance of the spiritual movement after the political events of 1989.
The periodical “Student” was one of the most important magazines in socialist Yugoslavia. The magazine was published by students of Belgrade University and dealt with student problems as well as with broader social and political issues. It was often critical towards the regime and the communist party authorities, which resulted in its being banned several times. The collection is kept at the National and University Library in Belgrade.
This collection expresses the artistic tendencies in the last decades of Polish reality under socialist regime. It includes a huge number of graphics, posters, paintings and drawings, as well as some items produced by opposition members held under detention.
Velid Đekić Collection of Rock and Disco Culture in Rijeka
Velid Đekić Collection of Rock and Disco Culture in Rijeka
The Velid Đekić collection covers beginning of rock and disco culture not only in Rijeka but also in the former Yugoslavia. While working on the books 91 decibels (2009) and Red! River! Rock! (2013), Đekić collected materials on many of Rijeka's bands that have existed from the late 1950s until the early 1980s, and on the places where young people gathered. That is why this collection testifies to the unique history of rock 'n' roll behind the Iron Curtain.
Aktionsgruppe Banat. Engagement, in German, 1974. Manuscript
Aktionsgruppe Banat. Engagement, in German, 1974. Manuscript
According to the testimony of the Aktionsgruppe Banatmembers, the poem was the collective work of the entire group, which they assumed and published as such (Totok 2001, 22). The text was sent for publication in Romania in 1974, but the censorship prevented it. It was first published two years later in a changed form in the West German cultural magazine Akzente. Zeitschrift für Literatur (No. 6/1976; Totok 2001, 22–23).
The poem uses wordplays to suggest the omnipresence of coercion in the society they lived in and it represent a subtle critique of the state–citizens relation in Ceaușescu’s Romania. The authors played with the meanings of the German word Engagement which in the poem could be understood both as employment and (ideological) commitment. In the second part of the poem, the authors suggest overtly and ironically the coercive character of the state–citizen relation in the society they lived in and the impossibility of the latter modifying this relation either in ideological or in practical terms:
The Mērija Grīnberga Jr (1909-1975) collection is a testimony to the rescue by museum employees of cultural values threatened by both the Second World War and by political change. It is also a testimony to the persecution and distrust of members of the 'old' Latvian intelligentsia in Soviet Latvia, despite their sometimes desperate attempts to accommodate the political demands of the regime.
Unknown author. Jazz festival poster, in Romanian, April ...
Unknown author. Jazz festival poster, in Romanian, April 1969
The concert poster giving details of the concerts that were to be held as part of the first Jazz Festival in communist Romania is one of the earliest in the Mihai Manea collection. It is almost half a century old; it dates from 1969 and is preserved in very good condition. The poster provides concert information for the days of 4, 5, and 6 April 1969, when a series of jazz performances took place in the Philharmonic Hall in Ploieşti. Among the participants were a number of prestigious groups and artists in the genre from various places in Romania, who gathered for an exceptional show at a jazz festival that was very well-known and appreciated in communist Romania. Among them were the Richard Oschanitzki quartet and the Ștefan Berindei sextet, both from Bucharest, Jazz Club from Roman, Big Band from Cluj-Napoca (at the time simply named Cluj), the Choralys octet from Constanţa, the Robert Kovacs trio and the Robert Movsessian trio, both from Ploiești, the Free Jazz trio from Timișoara, and the soloists Elena Constantinescu and Aura Urziceanu. The concert poster is printed on thick paper and has a white background on which horizontal yellow lines are discretely traced. The text is placed within a well marked frame and is in the two colours that are most common in the Mihai Manea collection: red and blue. The quality of the poster, even if it is not extraordinary, contrasts with that of those from later years, which were printed on paper of worse and worse quality and became less and less elaborate from an aesthetic point of view.
Everyday life East. A digital guide to everyday life in t...
Everyday life East. A digital guide to everyday life in the GDR
This digital guide to everyday life in the GDR is a project initiated in 2017 by Kooperative Berlin, a Berlin-based media association, in collaboration with the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship. The aim of the project is to create a digital guide to everyday life in the GDR by focusing on various places throughout the GDR. The project sheds light on a myriad of locations associated with activities tolerated or banned by the regime, which eventually impacted everyday life. The interactive platform was created with the purpose of providing tourists a tool to guide them to lesser-known places, which nevertheless provide broad insights into the stories and histories which made up everyday life in the GDR.
Vilnius University Party Committee Collection (1945-1986)
Vilnius University Party Committee Collection (1945-1986)
The Vilnius University Party Committee collection reflects the official policy and attitudes towards teachers, researchers and students. The university administration and Party Committee tried to control the educational process and the creative expression of scholars and students. On the other hand, documents from the collection help us to better understand the creative ambitions of Lithuanian researchers and even students, which did not always comply with the official ideology.
The breakdance movement emerged in the GDR in the 1980s. The private collection of Heiko Hahnewald represents one of the largest repositories of materials concerning this movement and provides insight into how breakdance culture found its place within the confines of life in the GDR as well as its continued development after 1990.
Gossiping and police reports shaped legends of homosexual and queer subcultures in socialist Hungary. The records of the first Hungarian homosexual association provide unique insights into the opportunities for self-organisation and collective identity, beyond official and popular misrepresentation.
The Polish Underground Library was set up in 2009 in collaboration with the The Karta Center Foundation in Warsaw. It is comprised of Polish underground and exile publications, Polish flyers, posters, sound and visual recordings that are part of the Libri Prohibiti’s collections.
Orfeo Collection in the Historical Archives of the Hungar...
Orfeo Collection in the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security (ÁBTL)
From the agents’ reports about the Orfeo-group, one gleans insights into one of the most unique alternative theatre companies in Hungary. These accounts were based on personal meetings and recollections of the performances. The secret police was interested in members’ political views, and they wanted to know how their ideas were presented in the plays and the talks and debates held after the performances. These documents are preserved at the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security (ÁBTL). The folder with the cover name “Community” shows how the political police created a picture about a group of “hostile” artists, who were perceived as dangerous to “the existing social order.”
The Mihai Moroșanu Private Collection comprises various materials relating to the anti-regime activity of Mihai Moroșanu, one of the most famous Moldovan dissidents of the Soviet period, well-known for his staunch criticism of the regime and for his strong nationally oriented views. The collection consists of a number of personal files, interviews, photos and judicial materials relating to Moroșanu’s case, spanning the period from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. Due to his uncompromising resistance to the Soviet regime, Moroșanu is one of the very few authentic dissident figures in the Moldovan context.
The topic of the collection addresses the 1981 demonstrations in Kosovo. This collection holds archival documents distributed in different fonds of the Kosovo Archives. It illustrates the nature of demonstrations that took place in March and April 1981 and the corresponding responses of political and academic elites.
Jan Faktor established a center for the independent literary scene in the GDR in the 1980s. His own writings contributed to this scene, while at the same time challenging its conventions and standards. His pre-mortem bequest (estate) to the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Arts) contributes to better understanding the independent literary scene in the GDR, the ties among authors and texts, as well as its limitations.
The Tamás Cseh Archive is an interdisciplinary collection focusing on the materials related to the life and oeuvre of the legendary singer. His songs authenthically capture the atmosphere of the era, the feelings, moods and problems faced by the members of a generation that came of age in the 1960s and early 1970s and had to confront the complexities of integrating into socialist society. The goal of the archive is to present its materials in context, adding to the documents with oral history recordings of Cseh‘s contemporaries.
Estonian Students' Building Brigade archive at the Nation...
Estonian Students' Building Brigade archive at the National Archives of Estonia
The Estonian Student Building Brigade collection contains material about the activities of the Estonian Student Building Brigade, a feature of student life in Soviet Estonia. The activities of this organisation are sometimes described as a free space, which is also reflected by this collection. The documents and artefacts show how students used the summer not only for building work but also for provocative entertainment and irritating the authorities. The Estonian Student Building Brigade has a relatively positive image, and is the only remarkable phenomenon from Soviet times which has ever been celebrated since the restoration of independence.
Religious sociological collection of István Kamarás
Religious sociological collection of István Kamarás
This interview collection provides fascinating insights into the barely known everyday culture of grassroots Catholic communities under late socialism. Sociologist István Kamarás’ research collection represents an alternative lifestyle which never suited the official communist ideology.
The Women’s Activism in Kosovo collection belongs to the Kosovo Oral History Initiative, and contains Kosovan women's vivid personal stories, which often intersect with broader historic events within Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1999. It depicts women's specific forms of engagement and resistance in protests against the Yugoslav regime, as well as their fight for women’s rights. The Women’s Activism collection offers a unique online archive of oral records, giving visibility and permanence to a history of women’s experience, which has been consistently marginalized, if not forgotten. To date, the collection contains thirty interviews with women activists, of which twenty-five are Albanian, three are Serbian, and two are of other nationality.
The Ion Monoran Collection documents the intellectual profile of one of the leaders of the underground cultural movements in the Banat, who, thanks to his ability to catalyse the action of the crowd gathered in the streets of Timişoara on 16 December 1989, became one of the figures who incontestably made a mark on the Romanian Revolution.
The art collection of Indrek Hirv consists of works by artists who continued the spirit of art from before the Soviet occupation. Many of them were persecuted, and later they did not obtain official recognition. Some became reformers of art, who resisted the Soviet discourse and Socialist Realism. Although some works in this collection depicted directly forbidden subject matter, like prison camps and prisoners, resistance to the Soviet regime is expressed mostly through the style.
Liget Gallery is a small non-profit gallery operated by the Cultural House of the 14th district of Budapest. Since its founding in 1983, it has arranged approximately 450 exhibitions and events in the gallery and elsewhere. In the 1980s, it started to present solo shows of works by radical artists from the region and exhibit new tendencies within the local scene. The archive documents these activities.
The Rock Museum was established in 2014 as a grassroots initiative by former musicians, experts, and collectors. The museum is the first collection in Hungary that presents documents and items of importance to the Hungarian rock and popular music scene (with an international and primarily regional focus) from the late 1950s to the present. Generally, the phenomenon of rock music under state socialism is considered a form of cultural resistance.
The Section LL archive contains material produced by an important part of the Slovenian lesbian and gay movement and its activist groups since their establishment in 1984. The collection primarily holds documents and other materials related to the activities of Section LL, comprehensive press-clippings, underground magazines, promotional materials (posters, leaflets, etc.) and a variety of visual material, some with artistic merit. The archival materials testify to the first lesbian and gay organizations established not only in Yugoslavia, but also in socialist Europe. Moreover, the Slovenian gay and lesbian movement in the 1980s was somehow unique in the socialist context, since its activities were completely public and it enjoyed extensive, often even rather positive media coverage.
The base community named Bokor was established by Roman Catholic people and was very active in the 1970s and 1980s, functioning according to the guidelines given by Pious monk György Bulányi. Bokor members were considered a dangerous by the communist regime, which regarded them as a suspicious group because they sought to live their religion as part of their everyday lives.
The digital collection of the Oral History Center contains more than 2000 interviews with twentieth-century witnesses, which are divided into different themes and topics, thus presenting a unique collection of professionally created interviews and memories, many of which are related to the theme of cultural opposition.
The Queer Archives (QAI) Institute is a non-profit, artist-run organisation dedicated to research, collection, digitalisation, presentation, exhibition, analysis, and artistic interpretation of queer archives, with special focus on Central and Eastern Europe. Founded in November 2015 by Karol Radziszewski, the QAI is a long-term project open to transnational collaboration with artists, activists, and academic researchers.
This collection addresses the 1968 demonstrations in Kosovo. It is comprised of archival documents distributed throughout different fonds of the Archives of the Republic of Kosovo. It addresses demands articulated by students, most of a political nature, which included: the creation of an Albanian language university in Pristina; designating Albanian as an official language of the government in Kosovo; self-determination for Kosovo and Albanian areas in Macedonia and Montenegro, and assigning Kosovo the status of a republic within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), with its own constitution. These student reactions were the first examples of open Albanian political resistance in Kosovo during the socialist regime.
The Hungarian Provincial Archive of the Society of Jesus holds sources on the members of the forbidden and persecuted Hungarian Jesuit Order (1950–1990). The archival documents represent the Jesuit monks’ efforts to preserve their identity in the face of pressures from the Communist dictatorship.
The Libri Prohibiti’s collection of Czech samizdat monographs and periodicals contains over 17 500 units from Czech samizdat publishers from the 1950s to the 1980s, and more than 440 Czech samizdat periodical titles.
Artpool is an archive, library, documentation center and place of research concerning the progressive, non-official trends in Hungarian art in the 1970s and 1980s (including alternative art scenes and groups, underground art magazines, samizdat publications etc.) and contemporary avant-garde tendencies.
Artpool – beside being a research institute - defines itself as an active archive: seeks out new forms of societal activity, takes a formative role in processes, organizes events, documents, archives them and freely distributes information.
Punk culture in the GDR developed its own language, music and aesthetics. These constituted an open provocation to the existing system, fostering the notion of breaking with the conformity of everyday life under the regime of state socialism. In contrast to their role models in the UK who championed the slogan "no future", punks in the GDR feared "too much future", or the uniformity of prescribed and pre-determined life trajectories. 'Substitut', a privately run agency in Berlin, houses the most extensive archival collection relating to punk culture in the GDR. The archive grew out of 'Substitut's' numerous projects, including the 'production' of exhibitions and release of music compilations and publications.
This unique private collection of Jindřich Štreit, a well-known photographer, curator and collector of largely unofficial 20th-century art, mainly contains the materials of unofficial exhibitions he held in Sovinec, as well as his own photographs and works and photographs of several dozen artists. The exhibitions in Sovinec were unique occasions for exhibitions of these artists who otherwise were not allowed to exhibit in Czechoslovakia, as well as for foreign and exile artists invited by Štreit. Secret police often attended these exhibitions, and on several occasions, the exhibitions were also cancelled.
The Youth Subcultures Ad-hoc Collection at CNSAS comprises documents created or collected by the Romanian secret police, the Securitate, about the emergence and development of Western-inspired subcultures among the members of the younger generation in Romania, subcultures which the communist regime considered harmful for their education and whose influence it thus tried to counteract. This collection illustrates that young people even in an isolated country like Romania in the 1970s and the 1980s still became exposed via Western broadcasting agencies to Western cultural goods, especially to music, which made them adopt alternative life styles and wear provocative outfits in order to build distinctive collective identities. Out of the many young people who attracted the unwanted attention of the Securitate two cases stand out and are featured in this ad-hoc collection: Clubul Regilor Liberi (The Club of the Free Kings) in Brăila and Organizația Tinerilor Liberi (The Organisation of Free Young People) in Bistrița.
From 1938 until 1978 (i.e. under different political regimes, namely those of Horthy, Rákosi, and Kádár), a unique summer festival of sorts (“nyaraltatás”) was held not far from Budapest on the shores of Lake Bánk (over the course of 40 years, more than 800 children took part in the festivals). It was organized by Eszter Leveleki in the spirit of the reform pedagogy movements of the1920s and 1930s. The festivals were a separate and liberal universe which was shaped by certain cultural (roleplaying) and collective practices. Accordingly, they ignored and implicitly challenged the dominant cultural-social norms. The tangible heritage of the festivals (e.g. various objects and items) has been preserved by the participants, especially by private collectors Ferenc Fábri and Ferenc Háber.
Operation Tuškanac in the Croatian State Security Service...
Operation Tuškanac in the Croatian State Security Service Collection (1971)
The collection includes different operational reports, transcripts of conversations, anonymous letters and pamphlets, as well as other written materials collected by the Croatian State Security Service during Operation Tuškanac, conducted against students and professors at the University in Zagreb in the early 1970s, based on charges of nationalist and hostile activities against the communist regime in Croatia. It was one of several operations conducted by the Croatian State Security Service against members of the Croatian Spring, a national movement which included student reform demands among its essential elements.
Andrei Partoș – Radio Vacanța-Costinești Private Collection
Andrei Partoș – Radio Vacanța-Costinești Private Collection
The Andrei Partoş–Radio Vacanţa-Costineşti Private Collection includes photographs, publications, and various documents regarding a seasonal radio station that operated during the summer holiday period in Costineşti, which was officially and popularly considered to be the seaside resort for young people. This radio station and its associated activity in Costineşti was a social phenomenon without any term of comparison in the Romania of the 1980s, an epitome of the alternative culture of the younger generation under later Romanian communism and a formative experience for the generation who supports the democratic consolidation in present-day Romania.
Lazar Stojanović (1944-2017), film director, journalist and intellectual, was one of the most famous cultural dissidents of socialist Yugoslavia. His film “Plastic Jesus” (1971) was declared as anti-communist and anti-state propaganda and led to Stojanović’s three year imprisonment. The collection represents Stojanović’s personal compilation gathered over the previous decades and consists of books, newspapers, posters, catalogues and video materials/films.
The large collection of different works of art belonging to the artist Heldur Viires reflects the activities of the Tartu Circle, a group of artists in Tartu. Some of these artists, including Viires himself, were sent to a prison camp in 1949. The Tartu Circle used the picturesque style, which opposed the Soviet view of art. In this way, young artists in the group resisted the strict rules of Socialist Realism.
The German Historical Museum in Berlin was granted in 1991 the user rights for a series of photos from Jürgen Nagel. At the point when the GDR was about to become history, the museum actively engaged in acquiring items which were representative for the regime to overcome. Jürgen Nagel's photos are significant for capturing everyday life in the GDR, culminating with the immortalisation of the autumn demonstrations in 1989 in East Berlin and the last days of the GDR in October 1990.
The collection reflects the activity of the architect Gheorghe Leahu, known in Romania for his watercolours representing streets and monuments of Bucharest destroyed as a result of the “urban systematisation” policy of Ceauşescu’s regime. The Gheorghe Leahu Collection includes watercolours, drawings, manuscripts, letters, photographs, and books.
When Michal Šufliarsky began to collect these items in 1969, his philosophy was that "what is forbidden is good." He worked as an employee of Czechoslovak television in Bratislava in the field of film and television production. His small private collection contains samizdat, recordings of Western music, photos of everyday life during communism, and unique recordings of student events. The activities of Mr. Šufliarsky are a good example of individual rather than political activism.
Archive of the GDR-Opposition at the Robert Havemann Society
Archive of the GDR-Opposition at the Robert Havemann Society
The Archive of the Opposition to the GDR, founded by the Robert-Havemann Society, is the largest and most significant amongst the so-called ‘reappraisal archives’. With its impressive collection of personal documents, the Archive offers a wealth of alternative and contrasting source material to that found in state and party files.
András Kisfaludy’s collection suggests ways of interpreting retrospective gazes on the alternative culture of the socialist period. While Kisfaludy is the owner of a sizable private collection that concerns alternative and dissent culture of the era, he is more a creator than a collector of documents. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, he was a member of the famous youth gang called "Kalef" (in 2006, he made a film about the gang). From 1968 to 1971, he was the percussionist of the underground band "Kex.” Kisfaludy began to make documentary films on cultural opposition in the 1990s. The core of his oeuvre was done between the early 1990s and early 2000s. The status of the collection is special because the rights of the movies belong exclusively to András Kisfaludy, so the collection exists only as a private collection. However, the majority of his films are accessible via Youtube.
The photo archive of Goran Pavelić Pipo contains over 15,000 negatives. The photographs are mainly black and white, and on them Pavelić recorded rock concerts and everyday life around the popular Zagreb cafés Zvečka, Blato and Kavkaz in the period from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, also known as the new wave era. His photographs were conceptually and aesthetically opposed to the photographs in the then official press, such as Večernji list, Vjesnik or Borba, and thus represented a kind of cultural opposition. The Pavelić Photo Archive is extremely important to an understanding the phenomenon of the new wave and the contemporary urban scene in socialist Zagreb.
In the GDR, child care and education were firmly in the hands of the ruling SED party, but in 1950 the protestants were allowed to open a seminary on the Island of Hermannswerder, near Potsdam. First, it offered men, and from the 1950s women banned from attending regular secondary schools, the opportunity to obtain their secondary school leaving qualification (Abitur), enabling them to study theology or church music. In the GDR pupils were often prohibited from attending secondary schools for religious and/or political reasons. It was particularly common for the children of clergy members to attend the seminary.
In addition to a growth in the school size during the 1970s, the curriculum also changed. It then included more subjects that were not part of theological education, for example the possibility to focus on modern languages. From 1982, the school even adopted the curriculum of North Rhine–Westphalia (West Germany) as part of their leaving qualifications.
The State Security Service (Stasi) constantly had their eyes on the institute and commonly conducted searches for forbidden material. “Youth Sundays”, taking place yearly from 1949, were a huge thorn in the government’s side. During these events, young people discussed, away from the official socialist apparatus, how to lead a Christian life. Even an eventual ban could not stop the meetings as even without official announcements, meeting times were simply passed on by word-of-mouth.
Apart from “Youth Sundays”, the island was also home to church synods and later environmental gatherings and bicycle “star rides”. These are events in which the participants start at different locations, all meeting at the same spot in the centre thus forming a star. In Germany they have taken place since the 1970s to bring attention to different causes, such as the environment.
After reunification, anyone who graduated from the school was retroactively granted the right to study anything, not just theology and church music. Today it is a Protestant secondary school.
The private collection created and owned by Piotr ‘Pietia’ Wierzbicki contains hardcore punk fanzines, articles, and papers from the 1980s, including the original matrices of ‘QQRYQ’ fanzine edited and published by Wierzbicki from 1985. ‘QQRYQ’ was the leading Polish magazine about the underground punk scene and Wierzbicki became an influential author and promoter on that scene.
The collection Public Against Violence is a large archival collection that documents the activities of this movement during the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and then as a political party until 1992. This collection contains valuable materials, including letters from the public and other documents, thematising the presence of cultural opposition.
The Nebojša Popov Collection is held at the Historical Archives of Belgrade in Serbia. Nebojša Popov, a sociologist and intellectual, became one of the most renowned antiwar activists in Serbia and former Yugoslavia and was known for his involvement in various intellectual, academic, and political activities critical of contemporary authorities. From 1975 to 1981, Popov's work was deemed politically unsuitable so that he was excluded from academic institutions. This collection contains manuscripts, press clippings, court decisions, appeals, minutes of opposition meetings and round table discussions, book excerpts, articles from academic journals, and about three-hundred books from Popov's private library.
The János Baksa Soós Special Collection administers the acoustic, written and visual documents of János Baksa Soós’ oeuvre. Throughout his career (which began in Budapest and consummated in Berlin), Baksa Soós turned attitude into an artistic medium and acted in the spirit of conviviality. The goal of the collection, which is held in the Tamás Cseh Archive, is to present the works of the artist, who was active in several genres, in the context of the era and the effects of his attitude on his milieu.
Through colour photographs and slides, the Alexandru Barnea private collection documents the demolitions imposed by the communist regime in the centre of Bucharest following the devastating earthquake of 1977, which served as a pretext for the destruction or mutilation of many historic monuments. The policy of demolishing the architectural and urbanistic heritage has been considered one of the most aberrant and arbitrary measures in the recent history of Romania.
Thuringian Archive for Contemporary History 'Matthias Dom...
Thuringian Archive for Contemporary History 'Matthias Domaschk'
The "Matthias Domaschk" Thuringian Archive of Contemporary History is one of the most important "reappraisal archives" for documenting the history of opposition and nonviolent resistance in the GDR. The Archive is supported by a private association and holds the largest cache of documents and files relating to the GDR in Thuringia. The archive is named after Matthias Domaschk, who died under still-unsolved circumstances while being held in remand by the Ministry for State Security in 1981.
For Nelu Stratone, as for all of his generation, born under communism and coming to maturity in the 1960s, Bob Dylan was an idol. A Bob Dylan single was among the five records that challenged and inspired Nelu Stratone to collect rock, folk, and jazz records. Before 1989, in the years of glory of the collection, he was proud to be the owner of the complete discography of Bob Dylan. “Bob Dylan was a sort of cult for me. I hunted out all his discography and I had at home, in the form of records, about everything that passed through Romania in that period,” he confesses. Bob Dylan is also the subject of a book that Nelu Stratone has set himself to write, and for which he has done part of the research, although it is not (yet) written. His passion for listening to Bob Dylan, as he himself confesses, is still intact today.
The reception of Bob Dylan in Romania deserves a more extended discussion, however, due to the evident differences between the perception of his music among young people in this country in comparison not only with their contemporaries in the West, but also with those in other countries of the Soviet bloc. While on the other side of the Iron Curtain, Bob Dylan was a symbol of leftist anti-capitalist, anti-war, anti-racial-segregation movements, in communist Europe he was in general a symbol of freedom of expression against dictatorships of the left. At the same time, Bob Dylan was received in an ambiguous manner in Romania, in contrast to other states dominated by communist regimes. For all that, his influence among young people, starting from the late 1960s, was significant, albeit ambivalent. In this connection it is illustrative that his famous song “Blowing in the Wind” was translated for the first time in 1973, into easily singable lines but under the less than inspired title ”Vânare de vânt” (literally “Hunting/chasing the wind”), by the poet Adrian Păunescu, recently returned from a scholarship at the University of Iowa. On the one hand, the translation allowed the wide dissemination of this song in the performance of Florian Pittiş, an incontestable leader of the alternative culture of the younger generation. On the other hand, the music of Bob Dylan and the spirit of social rebellion associated with it were totally corrupted in Romania precisely through the intermediary of the translator Adrian Păunescu, who in 1973, under the umbrella of the Cenaclu Flacăra (Flame cenacle), began an ample campaign to divert the rebelliousness of the younger generation, with the aim of emptying it of any potential of revolt against the Ceauşescu regime (D. Petrescu 2010, 306–307). Thus the anti-war message of American folk became in Romania a musical current that, in its most nonconformist variant, limited itself to promoting a supposed romanticized medieval past, as was attempted by groups that were very popular among young people, like Phoenix or Sfinx (T. Ionescu 2016). Due to the Flame Cenacle, however, the anti-war message of American folk became associated with the campaign for world peace orchestrated by the Ceauşescu regime in the hope of obtaining a Nobel Peace Prize for the General Secratary of the Romanian Communist Party. Mircea Vintilă, who in his turn interpreted Bob Dylan for the Romanian public in the Păunescu’s translation, comments on the distorsion of the message of this sort of music: “Folk protested in Romania too, only not against the regime, but against light music, which had become something facile, with absolutely awful lyrics.” (D. Ionescu 2017, 175).
Confiscated ideologically by the Ceauşescu regime, the verses of Bob Dylan were only recuperated in the post-communist period through the translation of the talented writer Mircea Cărtărescu. A review of his volume of a hundred poems by Bob Dylan translated into Romanian underlines: “Where Păunescu used Dylan as a librettist, Cărtărescu reinvents a poet. But this only adds to ideological liberation a poetic liberation. Rewritten by Cărtărescu, Bob Dylan acquires vision, just as he has in the original” (Ursa 2016). To understand the difference between the two translations, the second stanza of ”Blowing in the wind” provides a good illustration. Here is the English original:
"Yes, and how many years can a mountain exist/ Before it is washed to the sea?/ Yes, and how many years can some people exist/Before they're allowed to be free?/ Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head/ And pretend that he just doesn't see?/ The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind/The answer is blowing in the wind."
In Adrian Păunescu’s translation of 1973, which renders the lines literally but eludes the general message of the poem, it goes:
"Câți ani poate-un munte în lume trăi/ Până marea să-l spele-ntr-o zi?/ Si câți ani oamenii pot viețui/ Până liberi permis le va fi?/ De câte ori omul vede un rău/ Şi tace întorcând capul său?/ Răspunsul prieteni e vânare de vânt/ Răspunsu-i vânare de vânt."
[How many years can a mountain live in the world / Until the sea washes it [away] one day? / And how many years can people live / Until being free is permitted to them? / How many times does a person see an evil / And keeps silent, turning his head? / The answer, friends, is chasing the wind / The answer is chasing the wind.]
Mircea Cărtărescu’s translation under the title ”Suflare în vânt” (Breath/blowing in the wind) has significantly modified lines 3 and 4, which now talk about the liberation of a people, and lines 5 and 6, which refer to the “great light” that many claim not to see, pretending to be blind. Thus Bob Dylan’s poem takes on a meaning that is more militant, more politicized, and more faithful to the author than in the previous translation.
"Câţi ani pe pământ poate-un pisc să existe/ Până ce spălat e de mare?/ Şi câţi ani poate un popor să reziste/ Până la visata eliberare?/ De câte ori te prefaci că eşti orb/ Ca să nu vezi lumina cea mare?/ Răspunsul, prietene, e suflare în vânt/ Răspunsu-i suflare în vânt."
[How many years on earth can a peak exist / Until it is washed by the sea? / And how many years can a people resist / Until the dreamed-of liberation? / How many times do you pretend you are blind / So as not to see the great light? / The answer, friend, is blowing in the wind / The answer is blowing in the wind.]
Cornel Chiriac During One of His Broadcasts, Munich, 1970...
Cornel Chiriac During One of His Broadcasts, Munich, 1970. Photo
The photograph represents Cornel Chiriac during one of his broadcasts at the Romanian desk of Radio Free Europe (RFE). Taken in 1970, it was sent together with a letter to his mother in Pitești. Unfortunately, the Securitate confiscated the letter and the photograph and thus they never reached their destination. The picture is very telling for Cornel Chiriac’s passion for music and his rebellious nature. He is smiling to the camera as he is about to play one of the many vinyl records on his desk. His broadcasts at RFE enjoyed huge popularity among Romanian young people. This popularity was partly due to his passion for music, his vast knowledge about it, and the dedication with which he performed his job as radio producer at RFE. The photograph also showed the same rebellious Cornel Chiriac with long hair and beard, and a lit cigarette placed on an ashtray. The outfit, a long-sleeved striped shirt and a jacket on a hook on the wall, complete his rebellious outlook specific to the period. It is interesting to note that, although Cornel Chiriac was the idol of an entire generation, many people were not at all familiar with his face. It is from this photograph in the Securitate files that many discovered the image of their hero after 1989: “The great majority of us did not even know what our hero looked like, but he had become a lively presence, our close-faraway comrade, the protector of our sounding utopia. In a Romania, which was more and more isolated in its unhappiness, the music that Cornel Chiriac offered us represented one of the few open horizons, one of the few breaths of hope” (Jurnalul 2008). Today, the photograph confiscated by the secret police is his most widely circulated image, and it was selected by his fans to illustrate the Facebook page which keeps alive his memory (https://www.facebook.com/Metronom-In-amintirea-lui-Cornel-Chiriac).
Polish Rock Granary in Jarocin, a branch of the Regional Museum, possesses a unique collection of photographs, documents, and films related to the history of Polish rock music, dated from 1959 until today. The most interesting exhibits are presented at a permanent exhibition, available also on-line. The history of Polish rock is not only the evolution of the genre and styles, bands, albums, concerts, and festivals; it is also the dissent against the dominant culture and the search for an alternative. The location of Polish Rock Granary is by no means coincidental. In the 1980s the small town of Jarocin hosted the Rock Musicians’ Festival that attracted rock music fans and alternative culture participants from all over Poland, and even from Czechoslovakia and GDR.
Most specialists and fans of rock music in Romania agree that three albums marked the history of this musical genre under communism: (1) Muguri de fluier (Flute buds) of 1974, an LP by the Timișoara-based band Phoenix; (2) Zalmoxe of 1979, the album by the Bucharest-based band Sfinx, which underwent tedious a three-year process of protracted censorship until its release, although it was named after the famous god of the Dacians, the ancestors of the Romanians who under Ceaușescu’s regime took prominence over the Romans in the myth of common descent; and (3) Cantafabule of 1975 by the same Phoenix. Together with Sfinx, Phoenix was among the most innovative rock bands in communist Romania, and is credited with developing the so-called ethno-rock style. This represented an original synthesis of lyrics inspired from ancestral traditions and pre-Christian folklore with modern sounds specific to progressive and psychedelic rock. More than a decade after their debut, already at the height of their musical career, Phoenix created during the winter of 1974–1975 what remains to this day their masterpiece: the double LP entitled Cantafabule (erroneously printed on the front cover as “Cantofabule”). The lyrics were the work of two very talented poets from Timișoara, Andrei Ujică and Şerban Foarță, who had also collaborated with Phoenix to create their previous hit, Muguri de Fluier. This album, however, was far less oriented towards local sources of inspiration than the previous one, which had highlighted autochthonous pre-modern traditions. For the new album, the two poets took inspiration from Western medieval bestiaries and authored a universal story about a series of mythological creatures, some small and rather innocent, such as the unicorn or the scarab, and others vicious and dangerous, such as the asp and the basilisk. Towards the end of the rock poem, which has fourteen parts, all these fantastic creatures enter into a fierce conflict with each other, which leads to a new beginning. Accordingly, the last piece of the album is dedicated to the fantastic bird of rebirth and eternal return, the phoenix, which gave its name to the band. Phoenix toured entire Romania to stage concerts with this rock poem. During concerts, the members of the band dressed in special costumes to interpret these fantastic animals and used volunteer students to complete the entire gallery of mythological creatures, which were also represented on the cover of the album. Cantafabule was a best-seller of that time, as it seems that half a million copies were sold, according to the estimations of the members of the band. It is from this album that the phrase came which rock fans and the eternal admirers of this band use to greet one another: Fie să renască (Be it reborn). Two years after the release of the album, all the members of the group (except for one) managed to clandestinely cross the border, so all pieces by Phoenix were banned in communist Romania. Yet, the band survived in the collective memory of its fans, while its albums, which became extremely expensive items on the black market, continued to disseminate their music among younger generations who did not have the chance to attend its concerts. The last of the Phoenix albums produced under communism, Cantafabule represents to this day a great achievement due to its original blend of ancestral lyrics and modern music, a genuine masterpiece of rock in Romania.
The Istrian Fighter Digital Collection is available at the University Library of Pula website. It is the collection of the first Croatian youth journal Istrian Fighter/IBOR, which was published in Pula from 1953 to 1979 (with two minor interruptions). The journal was published by the Istrian Fighter Literary Club with the objective of preserving the Croatian language in Istria. The journal developed a reputation as a critical media in the 1970s, covering more and more cultural, local and social themes whose tone was not well-received by the socialist authorities, so the financing of the journal was cancelled in 1979 after which it ceased publication.
Lithuanian Communist Party Central Committee Collection (...
Lithuanian Communist Party Central Committee Collection (1953-1962)
The collection holds much valuable information on the policy of Lithuanian Communist Party Central Committee towards various manifestations of cultural opposition. The documents also reflect the situation of the Lithuanian intelligentsia, whose main goal was to preserve the Lithuanian cultural heritage. The documents cover the period of liberalisation, i.e. de-Stalinisation, in Soviet Lithuania.
Samizdat Collection of Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
Samizdat Collection of Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
This unique collection of samizdat literature (1972-1989) contains samizdat books by Czech and Slovak authors whose works could not officially be published in socialist Czechoslovakia, as well as a collection of samizdat periodicals and individual texts.
This ad-hoc collection comprises a series of archival materials relating to the activity of the musical band Noroc (officially known as the Noroc Vocal-Instrumental Ensemble). This group of young musicians reached the peak of its popularity during the period 1968–1970. Noroc represented one of the most important examples of an alternative musical style and subculture not only in the Moldavian SSR, but also at the all-Union level. Its members practised an original genre mixing local folkloric elements and Western influences (mostly jazz, rock, and beat). Due to the ”subversive” character of their music, the band was dissolved by the Soviet Moldavian authorities in September 1970. The materials in this collection were selected from Fonds No. 51 (Fonds of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Moldavia), which is currently held in the Archive of Social-Political Organisations (AOSPRM) of the Republic of Moldova. These documents reflect the emergence of a mass youth subculture in the USSR in the late 1960s and the ideological constraints placed by the regime on such displays of an alternative lifestyle.
Information on student activities related to the 23rd ple...
Information on student activities related to the 23rd plenary session of the Central Committee of the League of Croatia. 13 December 1971. Archival document
The crackdown on the Croatian Spring and the repression against its members came in December 1971, after the twenty-first session of the Presidium of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, held in Tito's residence in Karađorđevo. Croatian political leaders were removed from their posts and banned from engaging in any public work. On the eve of the twenty-third session of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia held in Zagreb on 12 December 1971, where they formally resigned, as a show of support students organised various activities. According to the report written by Valentin Huzjak, secretary of the Republic Internal Affairs Secretariat of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, early in the morning on that day, approximately 1,000 students gathered in three student dormitories in Zagreb and then went to demonstrate in front of the Central Committee's headquarters, but were halted by police forces. In the student dormitories they shouted and wrote slogans on the walls in support of Savka Dabčević-Kučar, Miko Tripalo, Pero Pirker and other political leaders dismissed from their posts. Huzjak also reported that later in the afternoon, approximately 500 students demonstrated, shouted and posted slogans and distributed handwritten pamphlets on Zagreb’s main square. According to the report, a few dozen people were arrested, and while breaking up the demonstrations, the “police used nightsticks.ˮ Besides the staff of the Public Security Service in Zagreb, 812 police officers from other towns and cities were engaged to suppress the demonstrations.
The document is available for research and copying.
Pamphlet of support for Croatian reformist and nationally...
Pamphlet of support for Croatian reformist and nationally-oriented political leaders. 1971. Archival document
Students also demonstrated their support for Croatian reformist and nationally-oriented political leaders by distributing handwritten pamphlets on different types of paper. This collection includes several examples of such pamphlets, and one mentions Savka Dabčević-Kučar and Mika Tripalo, both removed from their posts in December 1971. On the pamphlets themselves or in separate notes, the State Security Service recorded where and when the pamphlets were found. Together with other materials collected during Operation Tuškanac, these pamphlets were used in the prosecution of participants in the student movement.
The documents are available for research and copying.
The Soft Geometry Archive was built up by Géza Perneczky in Cologne, Germany. The archive consists primarily of publications by artists since the 1970s and works from the art movements of late Fluxus, Mail Art, and visual and experimental poetry. The collection includes works by artists from all over the world, for instance Latin America and Japan. Works by East-European artists constitute about 25 percent of the content.
"Vidici" [Horizons] was one of the most prominent Yugoslav magazines for literature and culture. During the socialist period the journal was often targeted by the authorities and repeatedly banned, due to its criticism of the Communist party’s social and cultural policies. The magazine "Vidici" is kept as part of the collection "Periodicals", and does not represent a separate library unit. All the available numbers are kept in two institutions - the National Library of Serbia and the University Library of Belgrade.
Vjesnik Newspaper Documentation is an archival collection created in the Vjesnik newspaper publishing enterprise from 1964 to 2006. It includes about twelve million press clippings, organized into six thousand topics and sixty thousand dossiers on public persons. Inter alia, it documents various forms of cultural opposition in the former Yugoslavia, but also in other communist countries in Europe and worldwide.
Frantisek Starek was one of the leading figures of the Czechoslovak underground movement and culture. Due to his long-lasting activity, he has built a very rich and interesting collection. In this collection, a lot of material – often unique – about Czechoslovak counterculture and personal resistance can be found. The collection covers the time period from the seventies to the nineties.
Unknown author. Concert poster, in Romanian, 10 May 1985
Unknown author. Concert poster, in Romanian, 10 May 1985
The poster gives details of two extraordinary concerts held on 10 and 11 May 1985 by some of the most appreciated rebel artists and rock groups of that period. Among the participants were the bands Roșu și Negru (“Red and Black”), Hardton, Post Scriptum, Celelalte cuvinte (“The Other Words”), Compact, Progresiv TM, Vali Sterian și Compania de Sunet, (“Vali Sterian and the Sound Company”), and the soloists Florian Pittiș and Alexandru Andrieș. All these participants were in the grey zone of tolerance admitted by the communist regime in Romania, and numbered among those that the younger generation considered nonconformist in comparison with the musical landscape of the period. The poster is not spectacular: on a white background, the text is printed in two colours, red and blue. The rock concerts announced by this poster were held in the Polyvalent Hall. Completed in 1974 and inaugurated under the name of “Palace of Sport and of Culture,” this hall was the largest performance space in Romania at the time, with a capacity of over 5,000 places. At both concerts, the auditorium was completely packed, due to the fact that they brought together an unusually large number of stars of nonconformist music. Such concerts with a very large audience posed a particular problem for the communist authorities, who were afraid that any crowd gathered at a performance might turn into a collective protest against the economic crisis, which was weighing more and more heavily on the population of Romania. The moment at which the concerts took place is also significant, because 1985 marked a turning point. On the one hand, for fear of revolt, such shows with large numbers of stars were not organised again after this event. On the other, the years that followed up until 1989 were the most difficult for the majority of people in communist Romania, who saw the growing discrepancy between their daily lives and those of people not only in the West but also in all the other communist countries.
Krzysztof Skiba's archive is a private collection of photos, movies, zines, books, articles, and leaflets documenting the alternative culture phenomena that Skiba participated in during the 1980s. The majority of the collection covers the street happenings created by the Gallery of Maniacal Activities in Łódź, the activities of anarchist Alternative Society Movement in Gdańsk, the very first years of the punk cabaret Big Cyc, and the first exhibition of the third circuit papers and magazines co-organized by Skiba in 1989.
Đekić, Velid. Interior of the Husar Club in Rijeka, 2010....
Đekić, Velid. Interior of the Husar Club in Rijeka, 2010. Photograph
The Husar Club was founded by the Club of Friends of Popular Music Rijeka in 1957. In the Husar, young people gathered to "dance to music from LP records." Beginning in 1962, the first rock bands in Rijeka performed in the club. The club operated until 1964 and is considered as the first disco club in Croatia and one of the first in Europe. The establishment of this club heralded the creation of the rock and disco culture movement as a counterculture in socialist Yugoslavia.
The unique resource value of the collection stems from the historical fact that the continuity of Hungarian scouting established in 1910 was in fact maintained by the émigré Hungarian scouting movement worldwide for more than four decades, from 1948 to 1989, in a period when it was prohibited in communist Hungary. According to Hungarian émigré scout leaders, the movement was intended to serve a two-front struggle of cultural resistance: on one hand against the official forgery of “the real” national heritage in communist Hungary; and on the other against the linguistic and cultural assimilation of Hungarian émigré youth within the multi-ethnic environment of some 20 countries of 4 continents worldwide.
Manuscript magazines at the Estonian Cultural History Arc...
Manuscript magazines at the Estonian Cultural History Archives
The collection of manuscript magazines at the Estonian Cultural History Archives reflects the samizdat activities of writers and other cultural figures during Soviet times. It was formed in the 1990s after several donations, mostly from Jaan Isotamm. Nevertheless, the ‘almanac movement’ had numerous authors, outsiders as well as those recognised by the authorities whose works are now available in this collection. The collection contains manuscript magazines, poetry written in refugee camps, and material about religious movements and groups dealing with esoteric issues, etc. It also includes underground almanacs from Soviet times. These handwritten journals were not censored, and contain literary essays and poems, as well as socio-critical writings.
The Libri Prohibiti’s collection of Czech exile monographs and periodicals contains over 8100 publications including the complete works of many publishers. More than 940 titles of Czechoslovak exile periodicals, some of them complete editions, are part of this collection as well.
This interview collection contains Pál Diósi’s sociological research on prostitution. This topic was ideologically troublesome. The interviews demonstrated alternative lifestyles and ways of making money in a society which tried to deny their existence.
The Circle of History Students was a society for history students and lecturers at the University of Tartu during Soviet times which was officially part of the Students' Scientific Union. Although it was an official organisation, the Circle of History Students offered space for relatively free discussions between students and lecturers. It was a breeding ground for the growing protest spirit in the late 1980s. The Circle of History Students archive, which is preserved today in the National Archives of Estonia, contains various documents about its activities. Although it followed the formal rules for Soviet public speaking, these documents also display ironic and critical attitudes towards the regime, and reflect the free atmosphere for research and communication in the society.
The Irina Margareta Nistor Private Collection includes a series of written documents, together with a few dozen VHS video cassettes preserving a small part of the Western films that were introduced clandestinely into Romania between 1985 and 1989, to be translated and dubbed and then distributed on video cassettes (semi)clandestinely. This collection epitomises a popular culture phenomenon without any equivalent in Eastern Europe, which emerged in Romania as a reaction to the reduction of the official programme broadcast on television channels to just two hours per day and to news broadcasts about the activity of Nicolae Ceauşescu and the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party.
The collection shows the life, work and activities of the Lithuanian historian Rimantas Jasas (1929-2002). Jasas never called himself a dissident. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he did not speak much about his involvement in underground (samizdat) literature, and saw himself only as a professional historian. The files in the collection show his close ties with the dissident movement, especially with the Soviet dissident and political prisoner Vytautas Skuodis (1929-2016). Jasas was involved with the samizdat journal Perspektyvos (Perspectives), the most highly thought-of publication by members of the intelligentsia.
The Memory of Nations is an extensive online collection of the memories of witnesses, which is being developed throughout Europe by individuals, organizations, schools and institutions. It preserves and makes available the collections of memories of witnesses who have agreed that their testimony should serve to explore modern history and be publicly accessible. The collection includes testimonies of communism resistance, holocaust survival, artists of alternative culture and underground and many others.
Avantgarde fashion designer Tamás Király’s legacy, which criticized the uniformity and mediocrity of the contemporary cultural canon, represents an important, unique counter-cultural creation of the late socialist period. Furthermore, it is an important source for an understanding of a crucial counter-cultural attitude: conscious reflection on absence.
Oto Tasinato (1921-2011) was one of the first open homosexuals in Czechoslovakia before 1989. He performed dressed in women’s clothing under the pseudonym of Countess Mondschein, and in the 1990s, he was regarded as a legend of the Czechoslovak queer community. The apartment of Oto Tasinato was unfortunately very quickly cleared out after his death in 2011. When the Society for Queer Memory tried to acquired his personal estate or at least part of it, it was regrettably found that all relevant objects of the Otto estate had been thrown away and destroyed. All the Society succeeded in securing were humble belongings as his glasses, a hand fan, his last pack of cigarettes, handkerchiefs with a monogram, visiting cards, an stamps. Besides these few belongings the collection also contains an interview with Otto Tasinato and various photographs of his.
The collection consists of documents from various KGB departments, found in its rooms and offices in 1991. This material gives good information about the last days of the KGB: what kind of files were on the desks, on the shelves and in the cupboards of KGB officers.
The poster for the first feminist-lesbian cultural night, organized by the Lilith Women’s Club, was made by the artist known under the pseudonym Jona Veronika Rev. This event, held in Ljubljana April 1984, is considered the first public lesbian gathering in Yugoslavia. The poster is a unique piece of art, currently exhibited at the Lesbian Library and Archive in Ljubljana. The painter, Jona Veronika Rev, was a frequent collaborator of Lilit and, later on, Section LL of the ŠKUC Association. Since 1984, Rev has made several posters and visuals for their events, including the front-page illustration for the special issue of Mladina, dedicated to lesbianism with the title ”We Love Women“ (”Ljubimo ženske,” Mladina, no. 37, Oct. 30, 1987, Ljubljana). The poster, alongside an invitation for the event and a round table discussion on sexuality, contains feminist and lesbian visual cues and symbols, decorated with a hammer and sickle, the symbol of the international workers’ and communist movement. A leaflet, lost since then, was handed out with a copy of the poster. It referred to various modes of lesbian gender expression so as to communicate the nature of the event clearly to lesbians, without explicitly calling it lesbian. Such semi-clandestine means of communication demonstrate the necessity of keeping lesbian identity hidden in the then predominantly homonegative social context.
The Beatles were one of the formative groups for Nelu Stratone’s musical culture. The music of this band, about which it was known in Romania too that they were at the origin of an unprecedented worldwide phenomenon, was sought after and much desired by collectors at the time. “I think records of the Beatles were among the most listened to of all that I had in my collection. There were a number of groups or soloists who tried, by imitation more explicit or more discreet, to approach the music they made. But the Beatles were unique,” considers Nelu Stratone. The music of the Beatles was not forbidden in Romania, but their records could not be found for sale except on the alternative market. Even basic information about the group’s discography, about the songs included in each album, was a sort of alternative knowledge, which aroused envy among classmates, admiration among friends, and even attraction (generally on the part of the opposite sex). The Beatles were one of the most popular groups in communist Romania, perhaps precisely because their period of glory coincided with the period of liberalization in the 1960s. Many Romanian bands sang their songs, taking advantage of the lack of clarity concerning copyright, which was characteristic of the entire Soviet bloc. After the Theses of July 1971, which virulently attacked the custom of admiring Western cultural and artistic creations, the words of the Beatles’ songs had to be translated so that they could be sung by Romanian groups. On top of that, their music was broadcast in an utterly absurd form, under the name of the group translated into Romanian as “Scarabeii” (The scarabs) (Stratone 2016, 169). Gradually, radio and TV broadcasts almost completely eliminated Western groups, but the music of the Beatles continued to attract new generations of young people. In the 1980s, the communist authorities tolerated for a while a show put on by Florian Pittiş at the Bulandra Theatre under the title “Poezia muzicii tinere” (The poetry of young music), during which the great successes of the Beatles were presented, followed by playing of music from their repertoire. Young people crowded to get into the show, which quickly became extremely popular, despite the fact that it was not advertised in any way. Sometimes 900 spectators squeezed into an auditorium with 450 places, with the result that in 1985, after four years, the show was banned. In short, the Beatles were dangerous especially because, like other Western bands, they catalysed the energies of the younger generation. “At these shows you recovered your freedom and your dignity,” recalls Andrei Partoş (George 2007). The complete albums of The Beatles, so precious in the days of communism, are now only a memory for Nelu Stratone. At present not one album from this complete set is still in his collection, but all the music that the group performed, together with what their members produced in other musical combinations, can be found in his electronic archive.
The ‘Fuck 89’ collection is an archive of Warsaw anarchistic movement from the last years of state socialism and the beginning of capitalism. It documents activities of groups such as A-Cykliści (A-Cyclists), Alternative Society Movement, Wolność i Pokój (Freedom and Peace), Intercity Anarchist Federation, and others.
Transnational Roma Networks Ad-hoc Collection at CNSAS
Transnational Roma Networks Ad-hoc Collection at CNSAS
The Transnational Roma Networks Ad-hoc Collectionat CNSAS comprises documents created or collected by the Romanian secret police, the Securitate, about the transnational relations of the Roma community. From among the members of this community who willingly assumed this identity, two leaders and activists, Nicolae Gheorghe and Ion Cioabă, stood out during the 1980s. They were among the few people in communist Romania who had the courage to rise up against the aggressive policy of forced assimilation of Roma that threatened their survival as a distinct ethnic and cultural group. As a result, their stand against discriminatory treatment of Roma people in communist Romania brought them into close collaboration with foreign researchers and Roma transnational organisations, also interested in the fate of the persecuted Roma.
The collection consists of poetry and translations by the anti-Soviet partisan Bronius Krivickas (1919–1952). It comprises of six manuscripts: poems, and translations of Goethe’s poetry by Krivickas, when he was a guerrilla fighter against the Soviet regime.
The Roma Archive is the first digital collection devoted specifically to the Roma community in Bulgaria. Its aim is to show the history and memories of a people which have been invisible to the general Bulgarian public, and who are usually portrayed by the media in terms of deviant social and cultural behavior. The collection was created by the Balkan Society for Autobiography and Social Communication (BSASC). It includes numerous autobiographic interviews, rich visual materials, and a variety of other documents and images containing information on the Roma community in Bulgaria taken from Bulgarian State archives. One of the main themes of the collection is the fate of the Roma minority under communism, during which it was subjected to frequent assimilation campaigns and when expressions of Roma culture was severely restricted. The collection aims to contribute to the democratization of historical knowledge, raising the profile of Bulgaria’s Roma community as well as increasing awareness within the community of the value of historical documents. At the same time, the ongoing process of building the collection itself contributes to overcoming ethnocentricity in Bulgaria’s education system. It strengthens intercultural dialogue and aids in the educational potential of Roma community members. The Roma Archive help makes the Roma more visible in Bulgarian society, education, and academia.
Noor-Tartu (Young-Tartu) was a non-institutional student movement in Tartu between 1979 and 1984 (from 1979-1981 it was called Kodulinn, or Hometown). It was formed mostly by history students who wanted to do something useful for their city, without being connected to any official institution. Arranging urban space, collecting antiquities and organising cultural events were the main activities of the movement. Various pieces of material (announcements, newspapers, overviews, photographs) about these activities have been preserved. Today, this material forms an unofficial private collection owned by the core group of the Noor-Tartu movement.
The No Art Collection is a part of the Anti-Museum founded by Vladimir Dodig Trokut. It consists of characteristic avant-garde and post-avant-garde artefacts. The Anti-Museum’s No Art Collection was established during the many years of Trokut’s activity as a member of the informal cultural opposition, which was supported by prominent individuals and public personalities, such as artists and politicians like Koča Popović and Jure Kaštelan.
Photographic Collection of European Solidarity Centre
Photographic Collection of European Solidarity Centre
Photographic collection of European Solidarity Centre documents the most important political events from the 1970s and 1980s in Northern Poland. They are a testimonial of suppression, fight and victory, but they also tell little histories: of alternative lifestyles and artistic sensibility. The still-growing archive resources contain over 63.000 items.
Hidoș, Emil. Musical publication Wald old popp, in Romani...
Hidoș, Emil. Musical publication Wald old popp, in Romanian, 1969. Samizdat
Wald old popp was one of the few musical samizdat publications in communist Romania. It was created in 1969 by Emil Hidoș, a twenty-year-old man from the town of Bistrița, who was passionate about foreign music. He was a faithful listener to Cornel Chiriac’s musical programme Metronom, broadcast by the Romanian department of Radio Free Europe (RFE). The copies of Wald old popp were confiscated by the Romanian secret police, the Securitate, in June 1970, after a search at Hidoș’s home. The Securitate used the samizdat as the main evidence against him and for his prosecution under the charge of “propaganda against the socialist order,” and copies of the publication were included in his penal file.
The musical samizdat Wald old popp was a handwritten publication whose chief editor was “Braim Iones,” the nickname used by Emil Hidoș. The copies were made using carbon paper. The subtitle of the samizdat, The Bistrița supplement of musical information, gives a hint as to the purpose of the editor: “to help the young people of this backward town, to inform them about the latest musical news from the world of popp (sic!).” Very interesting is Emil Hidoș’s short self-description, which illustrates his revolt against the limitations the communist regime put on the consumption of foreign cultural goods, which were nonetheless highly interesting to young people: “I am a young man in Bistrița just like you, unhappy with the care shown to us… by the older people, with the way in which they understand how we should spend our free time, have fun etc.” After stating that Romanian youth needed a magazine, a radio or a television programme to get information about the latest musical developments, Emil Hidoș underlined once again his personal revolt against this state of affairs and the fact that he was forced to create “such miserable supplements, which resemble more closely a manifesto than a supplement of music information.” From his point of view, the forced isolation of youth from the outside Western musical world would only increase their revolt against the communist regime to the point where things would get out of hand and the authorities would not be able to silence the young people’s revolt.
This editorial was followed by several articles about the latest developments in “popp” music, as Emil Hidoș misspelled and mistakenly labelled all music played at RFE and other foreign radio stations at that time. The entries concerned the latest “El-PY” (LP or Long Play) of a former member of the British rock band Cream and new releases of albums. Other columns contained the addresses of fan clubs of the most popular bands of that time, such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and a musical chart. A special feature was dedicated to “Events in Bistrița,” where Hidoș described how the authorities had reacted negatively to the exaltation displayed by young people during the concert of Cromatic Group, a rock band from the nearby city of Cluj-Napoca. He used the event as pretext for fresh criticism of the communist regime, which labelled as “hooliganism” the patterns of spending their free time that many young people adopted in revolt against the older generation and implicitly the communist regime. From Hidoș’s point of view, the critical stance of the authorities toward this issue was unfounded, as the officially-sponsored relevant organisations failed to take into consideration alternative and more appealing modes of entertainment. He ended his article by wondering when youth in Romanian would enjoy “total freedom” (ACNSAS, P 14400 vol. 1, ff. 215–223 f–v).
Copy of a criminal indictment against student leaders. 11...
Copy of a criminal indictment against student leaders. 11 December 1971. Archival document
On 11 December 1971, the Public Security Secretariat in Zagreb filed criminal charges with the District Public Prosecutor in Zagreb against student leaders Ivan Zvonimir Čičak, Dražen Budiša, Ante Paradžik and Goran Dodig on grounds of enemy propaganda and “criminal offences against the people and state by a counter-revolutionary attack on the state and social order.ˮ They were charged, inter alia, for incitement by “speeches and textsˮ calling for “violent and unconstitutional changes to the state and social order,ˮ “disrupting the fraternity and unity of Yugoslav nationalities,ˮ as well as “undermining the economic basis of socialist development.ˮ All four were convicted: Dražen Budiša to four years in prison, Ivan Zvonimir Čičak and Ante Paradžik to three, and Goran Dodig to one. Their prosecution is an example of the repression at the end of 1971 and in 1972 against members of the student movement, and participants in the Croatian national movement and the Croatian Spring in general. It resulted in several hundred convictions for political offences and the purge of several thousand members of the League of Communists of Croatia (Croatian Encyclopaedia online. “Hrvatsko proljećeˮ. Accessed on 30 May 2018). This collection includes over 1,000 pages pertaining to such indictments and criminal indictments.
The documents are available for research and copying.
Petru Negură’s private collection includes a wide variety of materials (interviews and archival documents) related to the activities of the Moldavian Writers’ Union (MWU) from the early Soviet period to the late 1950s and early 1960s. The collection focuses on institutional history and on the relationship of Moldovan writers with state power.
The Art Collections of the Museum of Czech Literature contain works of art connected with the literary field (illustrations, visual works by writers, graphics, etc.). The collection has been built from inheritances; a number of works by officially non-approved artists from the period before 1989 are present here.
As an art historian and curator, László Beke took an active role as both a participant and theoretician in the development of the Hungarian neo–avant-garde movements that had been marginalized by the cultural politics of the time in Hungary. Beke’s private archive, which is kept at the Budapest City Archives, provides a precise imprint of his activities: instead of working from the perspective of a critic, he engaged the artists as a partner. In this spirit he initiated many exhibitions and projects, the documents of which provide the backbone of the archive, complemented with the outcome of his systematic collecting activities that began in his early teens.
Wood-carved badges of the members of Clubul Regilor Liber...
Wood-carved badges of the members of Clubul Regilor Liberi (The Club of the Free Kings), 1971. Photograph
The informative file on the creator of The Club of the Free Kings, Puiu Apostolescu, contains five photographs of two badges made of wood. They were carved by Apostolescu and sent to his friend, Eugen Mircea, in Târgoviște. The insignia were confiscated by the Dâmbovița county branch of the Securitate on the occasion of a search at Eugen Mircea’s home. The badges were one of the distinctive elements of a member of The Club of the Free Kings. They were supposed not only to differentiate the Free Kings from their peers but also to underline the hippy character of the group. Thus, on one side, the badges contained the name of the group, and the word “hippy.” The word “free” is written twice in the combination, with “The Free Kings” and “The Free Club.”On the reverse, the badges are individualised, as they contain the English nicknames of Eugen Mircea (Christ) and Puiu Apostolescu (O’Brien McHarrison) as a way of stressing their friendship and membership of the group (ACNSAS I 3032, ff. 128–132).
The Brașov–Orașul Memorabil Collection gathers more than 4,500 scanned copies of personal and official photos illustrating the history of this Transylvanian city, everyday life in Romania under communism, the programme of so-called urban systematisation conducted during Ceaușescu’s regime, and the popular resistance to this arbitrary policy.
The Czechoslovak Students’ Movement of the 1960s Collection (Ivan Dejmal Collection) at the Libri Prohibiti Library contains valuable sources documenting Czechoslovak students’ movement in the 1960s, and especially during the years 1968 and 1969. Materials, which were collected by the leading Czechoslovak student activist Ivan Dejmal, illustrate, among other things, students’ activities during the so-called “Prague Spring” or reactions of students’ milieu to Jan Palach’s self-immolation in 1969.
Letter from Nicolae Gheorghe (alias “Alexandru Danciu”) t...
Letter from Nicolae Gheorghe (alias “Alexandru Danciu”) to Le Matin, in French, 30 March 1982
Published on 30 March 1982 by the French daily Le Matin, the article entitled “Le témoignage d’un Tzigane” (The testimony of a Gypsy) was written under the pseudonym “Alexandru Danciu” by Nicolae Gheorghe. A few days later the article was read during one of the broadcasts of Radio Free Europe and it was republished in an issue of L’Alternative magazine the same year. The article was a reply to a contribution of the French journalist, Bernard Poulet, who was attacked and badly beaten when he tried to contact the Romanian dissident Vasile Paraschiv. The official explanation that Poulet got from the authorities was that he had been attack by a group of “Gypsies.” Using as a pretext the false conclusion of the investigation, “Alexandru Danciu” denounced “the methods of the Romanian Securitate to silence political dissidents,” and also “a multilaterally developed prejudice (...) racism against Gypsies.” The latter was used “more and more often by Romanian officials to explain many of the negative developments in the country,” such as the lowering of incomes, the increase in common law offences, and violence against foreigners. In what follows, “Alexandru Danciu” lists the violent methods used by the Militia against the Roma: beatings for “quicker civilising,” home searches and abusive arrests, forced labour on various construction sites, including the Danube–Black Sea Canal, or in agriculture during the summer. After stating that discrimination was part of the daily life of Roma people, Nicolae Gheorghe denounced the refusal of the Romanian communist regime to deal with their serious social problems and to recognise them as national minority. For the authorities, the integration of Roma people into Romanian society was not a viable solution since they saw them “only as a residue of the past, which must disappear through assimilation into the multilaterally developed society.” Most likely Nicolae Gheorghe’s article reached the West with the help of one of his many academic contacts before the Securitate opened an informative surveillance file on him. Its reading at the microphone of Radio Free Europe led to the intensification of the Securitate’s surveillance of Nicolae Gheorghe.
Ferenc Bodor’s Nomad Dossiers is a collection representing a unique component of cultural opposition in Eastern Europe: materials related to ethno-folk revival and its Hungarian manifestation, the so-called “dance-house movement”. This collection also contains material regarding the Studio of Young Folk Artists, which was formed in the 1970s. Communist authorities considered the movement to be suspicious. They feared that it might increase nationalism among young people and, furthermore, that it might generate a powerful rival to the official youth organization.
In 1969, Reverend Canon Dr. Michael Bourdeaux, along with political scientist Peter Reddaway, diplomat and writer Sir John Lawrence and Soviet historian Leonard Schapiro, set up the Center for the Study of Religion and Communism, later known as Keston College and Keston Institute. It soon grew into a widely known British human rights organization and a resource center, unique in a way, as its field of expertise focused on church-state relations and persecutions of religious believers behind the Iron Curtain. From its foundation, the creation and development of an archive of documentation was a primary aim for Keston. Today, the Keston Archive and Library remains a unique collection of primary-source material on religious life and religious persecutions in socialist countries, containing, among other things, the world’s most extensive collection of religious samizdat. The Keston collection fills an important gap between state historical records and official church histories, giving voices to ordinary believers in their everyday struggle to freely express their faith.
Punk in Polish People's Republic began in 1978 and it quickly gained popularity in Warsaw, as well as in other cities. In its initial phase, the movement maintained close ties with student clubs and galleries, where performance art, mail art, and concrete poetry flourished at the time. The collection of a punk photographer Anna Dąbrowska-Lyons includes zines, photographs, and newspaper clippings from the years 1978 to ca. 1982. The most interesting of these materials were featured in the album titled Polski punk (Polish Punk) published in 1999. The album documents the first wave of punk in Warsaw, while also presenting original, artistic photographs, collages, and graphics which blend the Western influence of punk and the new wave with the poetry of futurism, Dada, and conceptual theories of the 1970s.
The Aktionsgruppe Banat Ad-hoc Collection reflects the type of cultural opposition represented by a group of Romanian-German writers, who founded together the literary circle Aktionsgruppe Banat and developed a neo-Marxist criticism of “really existing socialism.” The collection comprises two types of items: (1) manuscripts and other materials confiscated by the Securitate from these writers, (2) documents issued by the Securitate concerning their cultural activity, which the communist regime perceived as dangerous.
Artlist is an online database that maps the development of modern and contemporary Czech fine art from the second half of the 20th century. Artlist is a unique project that allows free and online searches of authors and their works, including the artist's biography and catalog, and a detailed description of the life of the artist and his work.
This entry captures the emergence of LGBT meetings in East Berlin. LGBT communities were not strange to the GDR. Despite the several legal frameworks issued starting 1960s that introduced softer measures against homosexuality, homosexual activities were not legal for a long period. It was only in 1988 that the prosecution of homosexuality was eliminated in the GDR. Despite their illegal status, LGBT individuals found alternative ways of gathering, avoiding Stasi surveillance. Meetings were regularly held underground in the cellar of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf in the suburbs of East Berlin. Following police intervention this meeting place was banned, so members needed to find a new location for their regular gatherings. Various bars and cafes in the Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood of East Berlin then hosted LGBT gatherings. The only constant was the day of their meetings, namely Sunday, while some of the cafes such as Prenzlau and Ecke Schönhauser became very popular. These were known among the members of the LGBT community as the “Bermuda Triangle” (Bermuda-Dreieck). Some bars continued to operate after 1990. Rooted in these initiatives, after reunification the Sonntags-Club e.V. association, representing the LGBT community, was organised in the Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood in Berlin.
Homage to Josip Broz Tito Collection at the Museum of Con...
Homage to Josip Broz Tito Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
The collection of photographs by Croatian conceptual artist Tomislav Gotovac presents four performances (Reading the Newspapers, Listening to the Radio, Watching Television and Telephoning) from the 1980 and 1981 in which the artist awaited the death of Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito, thus underscoring the social and media psychosis of that moment. The work used a subversive strategy by which the artist indirectly drew the public and socialist regime into the performance, leaving them to think: what is the artist showing?
The virtual Museum of the Orange Alternative is an Internet archive containing full documentation, i.e. photographs, posters, leaflets, articles, films, and other testimonies of the activities of the Orange Alternative in Wrocław and other cities, as well as its predecessor the New Culture Movement and the alternative graffiti in Polish People's Republic. Orange Alternative was a youth movement whose street happenings in the 1980s gathered hundreds and sometimes thousands of people dressed as dwarfs, singing songs for children, and ostentatiously chanting slogans expressing support for the police and the government.
Reports of the state security about the ’Közgáz-klub’
Reports of the state security about the ’Közgáz-klub’
The reports that agents compiled about the Közgáz-klub were saved at the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security (Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára, or ÁBTL). Through these documents, we can gain an insight into the critical and free-spirited debates that took place among students and these sources also show us what the state security thought to be a dangerous phenomenon in the 1980s. The task of the agents was to observe the students whom were regarded to be opposition figures, finding the main actors and preventing the association of young people from different universities.
The digital photography collection of Harald Hauswald was acquired at the end of 2017 by the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship. It represents a valuable collection from one of the most significant photographers from the GDR. Hauswald’s snapshots from everyday life in East Berlin provide insight into a bygone era, and which acquired public acclaim and support following the toppling of the regime in 1990. The current collection is in the process to be expanded and by the end of 2019 is expected to include the photographer’s entire life work in digitalized form.
Iljko Karaman Collection of Court Records on Censorship
Iljko Karaman Collection of Court Records on Censorship
The Iljko Karaman Collection is an archival collection established in 1949 by the Zagreb Deputy Public Prosecutor, Iljko Karaman (1922-2010), who deposited the collection at the Croatian State Archives in 1992. The collection includes unique material related to state censorship practices in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Independent State of Croatia, the People’s Republic of Croatia and the latter Socialist Republic of Croatia until the 1980s.
Allen Ginsberg, American poet and leading figure of the Beat Generation, arrived in Prague in February 1965. During his stay in Czechoslovakia, he attended several public readings and discussions. At the beginning of May, during the May celebrations, he was elected by students “The King of May”. However, a week later, he was deported by the State Security to the airport and expelled from the country. Later, Czechoslovak press launched a denigration campaign and accused him of “corrupting the youth”.
The Jindřich Chalupecký Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature contains Ginsberg’s address from 1965 written by Ginsberg himself. This address illustrates Chalupecký’s interest in the American poet and probable contact between them during Ginsberg’s stay in Czechoslovakia in 1965. Moreover, Chalupecký’s name appeared in Ginsberg’s diary that was confiscated by the Czechoslovak State Security.
The collection of Society for Queer Memory represents a unique set of daily needs items, printed materials, private funds and oral testimonies capturing the history, memory and everydayness of LGBT/queer people living in Czech milieu. The oldest members of the community are perceived as bearers of a specific historical memory based on their experience of the second half of the 20th century, when they were criminalized and subjected to repression by the state. Thus, the collection focuses also on defensive strategies of “dual life” of this particular social group, both official and private.
Ethnographic Research in Dobrogea Ad-Hoc Collection at AS...
Ethnographic Research in Dobrogea Ad-Hoc Collection at ASTRA Museum Sibiu
The Ethnographic Research in Dobrogea Ad-Hoc Collection at the ASTRA Museum (Colecţia Ad-Hoc Cercetarea Dobrogeană) reflects the activities carried out between 1964 and 1989 by collaborative teams of ethnographers, photographers, and architects to rescue and recover the cultural heritage of villages in the region of Dobrogea, which were affected by forced collectivisation and the building of the Danube–Black Sea Canal.
Memorandum of Ion Cioabă and Nicolae Gheorghe to Vasile V...
Memorandum of Ion Cioabă and Nicolae Gheorghe to Vasile Vâlcu, prime-vice-president of the State Council of the Socialist Republic of Romania, 11 October 1982
The memorandum signed by Ion Cioabă and Nicolae Gheorghe was presented to Vasile Vâlcu, the prime-vice-president of the State Council of the Socialist Republic of Romania, during an audience on 11 October 1982. It contained a complex list of proposals for “the integration into work and society” of Roma that mirrored faithfully the results of Gheorghe’s research and his ideas about solving their problems.
After stating that “the Gypsies” considered themselves “devoted citizens of the Romanian socialist state, which, under the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party, ensured all the conditions for raising our level of living,” the two signatories raised the question of those nomadic Roma who did not enjoy the benefits of socialist modernisation. For those Roma who continued to live on the edge of poverty due to their nomadic lifestyle, the two Roma leaders devised a complex set of measures that would help them integrate into mainstream society. These included the sedentarisation of Roma by offering them jobs and a place to live, the schooling of Roma children, the participation of Roma people in social, cultural, and educational activities in order for them to learn the rules of living in a society, the observance of their particularities as a minority group, and the creation of a commission to ensure the implementation of these measures and the representation of Roma at the local and central level. Although the memorandum received no answer and the communist regime continued its policy of forced assimilation of Roma, its authors were not prosecuted by the authorities.
Video Archive of the Academic Research Centre of the Acad...
Video Archive of the Academic Research Centre of the Academy of Fine Arts
The Video Archive of the Academic Research Centre of the Academy of Fine Arts (VVP AVU) is the only Czech institution which specialises in video art and video documentation of Czechoslovak and Czech art, both prior to and after 1989.
Cornel Chiriac and Fans of Alternative Music Ad-hoc Colle...
Cornel Chiriac and Fans of Alternative Music Ad-hoc Collection at CNSAS
The Cornel Chiriac Ad-hoc Collection at CNSAS comprises documents created or collected by the Romanian secret police, the Securitate, about Cornel Chiriac, a non-conformist Romanian journalist and jazz drummer, together with letters written by his fans, which were intercepted by the Securitate and never reached him. Cornel Chiriac was one of the most beloved radio and record producers at Radio Romania and then at Radio Free Europe and became an idol of the younger generation in the late 1960s and the 1970s.
This private family collection presents a personal perspective on communist rule. It includes materials which describe the point of view of the family whose member was deemed "an enemy of the people" by the socialist state. The life paths of the creators of the collection highlight the different stages and transformations of the communist regime: the fate of the family of Dimitar and Marika Stoyanov is an example of the repression of members and supporters of opposition parties, characteristic of the 1940s and 1950s.Dimitar Vasilev Stoyanov was an anarchist, convicted three times by two regimes because of his political convictions. He spent more than 6 years in forced labor-educational camps under communism (in 1945 and 1948-1953).This collection was created by Dimitar’s wife, Marika, and his son, Vantzeti Vassilev. The materials show the restrictions faced by the immediate family and relatives of people classified as politically "unreliable" or as "enemies of the people". Due to his "untrustworthy" origins, Vantzeti Vassilev was pressured by State Security to become an informant. As a form of personal resistance, Vantzeti Vassilev started writing the autobiographical book Semenata na straha [The Seeds of Fear] in the early 1980s. Seeing little future in Bulgaria, he left for Serbia to reach Italy, continuing on to the US in 1988, carrying with him a copy of the yet-unpublished book, part of the collection. The collection shows resistance in the form of a conscious "escape into oneself" through
The private collection of historian Gábor Klaniczay (1950-) includes written, visual, and audio sources from the 1970s and 1980s. These sources all concern the alternative, underground cultural trends, art, music performances, and political oppositional movements of the period. The almost entire series of the samizdat publications from Hungary also constitute an important part of the collection, as do the leaflets and posters from his trips to Paris and New York.
Commission for Ideological and Political Work of People's...
Commission for Ideological and Political Work of People's Youth of Croatia (1945-1962)
The Commission for Ideological and Political Work of the People's Youth of Croatia (1945-1962) was crucial in the development of young people regarding their guidance and education based on socialist values. The Commission worked under the aegis of the Communist Party, and its primary task was to monitor all activities that were opposed to the regime. Therefore, the numerous documents in this collection encompassing the period from 1945 to 1962 show different oppositional aspirations and activities of young people in Croatia in the immediate post-war period up to the beginning of the 1960s.
Letter from The Club of the Free Kings to Cornel Chiriac,...
Letter from The Club of the Free Kings to Cornel Chiriac, 15 October 1971
Dated on 15 October 1971, the letter was signed by three members of The Club of the Free Kings. The club was in fact a group of teenagers, fourteen to sixteen years old, who gathered occasionally in order to listen to foreign music. In order to distinguish themselves from their peers, each member of the group took an English nickname and decided to wear a yellow T-shirt with the group’s initials and a flower imprinted on it. They also made badges for themselves with the name of the club, their nicknames, and the word “hippy,” as they wanted to be identified as a hippy group. Because their favourite music programme at RFE was Cornel Chiriac’s programme Metronom, they decided to write him a letter on behalf of the group. In their message, these young people described the impact of Theses of July 1971, which imposed an embargo on foreign cultural products of all kinds: “After the famous date of 7 July 1971 [actually, Ceaușescu delivered his speech on 6 July], a date that will remain forever inscribed in the calendar as a day of mourning, the lives of young people in Romania worsened even more: gone were the beards and the long hair, gone was pop, beat or progressive music. Everything was gone!” (ACNSAS, Informative Fonds, file 3032 vol. 1, f.21). Their letter represented a quite radical criticism of the cultural policies of Ceaușescu’s regime and the economic difficulties the Romanians had to face in their daily life. Moreover, they considered Cornel Chiriac’s show Metronom to be an escape from the grim reality of their lives and a window to “a freer, more beautiful life, a life you would like to live.” In the final part of the letter, the signatories asked Cornel Chiriac to broadcast their favourite songs. Unfortunately for them, the Romanian secret police, the Securitate, intercepted the letter and subjected its authors to an investigation. In the end, the members of The Club of the Free Kings received a warning from the Securitate and had to sign a declaration in which they recognised their guilt and pledged not to get involved in similar activities in the future.
Everyday Life in Southwest Bulgaria during Socialism
Everyday Life in Southwest Bulgaria during Socialism
This fascinating collection sheds insight on generally unknown moments of everyday life in southwest Bulgaria during state socialism, including: the experience of and resistance against collectivization; experiences reflecting the religious policy of the communist regime (e.g. towards Muslims) and others elements of everyday life. The collection is one of the first created by the Balkan Society for Autobiography and Social Communication - Blagoevgrad (BSASC). It mainly consists of oral histories and photographic documentation, which aim to share ordinary people's experience of socialism.
The Ukrainian Museum-Archives in Cleveland, OH contains a hidden world-class archival collection amassed over the last century. Founded in 1952 by Ukrainian WWII refugees, the materials document the lives and struggles of multiple generations against communism. The museum-archive took on the mission of preserving Ukrainian culture at a time when it was being destroyed in the Soviet Union, assembling a vast collection of books, periodicals, photographs, ephemera, diplomatic papers and other materials that document a century of struggle. This is a unique institution that spans international borders, but is simultaneously integrated into an urban American neighborhood. The collection is based in Cleveland’s historic Tremont neighborhood and attracts partners like the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Academy of Sciences in Ukraine, and other institutions interested in digitizing its hidden gems.