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.
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 Foreign Croatica Collection is the largest collection of books and periodicals published by Croatian authors in foreign countries. The Collection includes publications in many languages covering numerous issues on Croatia and the Croatian people, including those related to the socialist period. It is the most important collection in Croatia containing books by Croatian émigrés banned during the time of socialist Yugoslavia.
Jan Zahradníček Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature
Jan Zahradníček Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature
The Jan Zahradníček Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature is an important resource documenting the literary and Catholic opposition to the communist regime in post-war Czechoslovakia. It includes Jan Zahradníčekʼs poetry manuscripts, written illegally in the 1950s, in Pankrác Prison.
For the Democratization of Art Collection at the Museum o...
For the Democratization of Art Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
The For the Democratization of Art Collections contains six photographs representing the activist work (i.e. performances) of the Croatian conceptual artist Marijan Molnar from 1979 to 1983. The work consists of a series of performances in which the author drew graffiti and hung banners with the message "For the Democratization of Art" in Zagreb, Belgrade and Ljubljana, collected signatures for a 'petition' on Republic Square in Zagreb, had his picture taken dressed as a terrorist for the student newspaper and presented an installation at the Koprivnica Gallery. Through this work, Molnar tried to point out the influence of politics on art in socialist Yugoslavia, at the same time seeking freedom of action for artists.
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.
Ideological Commission of the Central Committee of the Le...
Ideological Commission of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia (1956 - 1965)
In the collection of the Ideological Commission of the League of Communists of Croatia (IC LCC) (1956-1965), a number of documents illustrate the IC LCC's view of ideologically inappropriate occurrences in cultural creativity (art, literature, film), the media (the press, radio and television), education and science in Croatia. This commission had the task of monitoring, analysing and directing overall activity in these areas, issuing its directives and establishing staffs in all major institutions and organizations. In this way, it also reacted to ideological currents that did not align with the accepted direction, and it thereby became the deciding factor in cultural policy in Croatia.
"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.
The private collection, established in 2016, presents the life and work of Sevdalina Panayotova. It shows this literature teacher, theater director, public figure, and citizen daily and consistent opposition to the hypocrisy of the structures of state socialism and against the status quo. Sevdalina Panayotova, a teacher and cultural activist, was neither a well-known writer, director, nor a popular dissident, but her whole life and creativity was a rebellion against the attempt of the socialist state to impose narrow standards and norms on everyday life and thinking, a rebellion against pseudo-morals and pseudo-arts, against the principles of socialist realism in literature and theatrical art.The collection of books, scripts, photos from theatrical productions, interviews given by Sevdalina Panayotova and interviews with her, published articles, among others, shows an "ordinary" life of civil and cultural opposition. Sevdalina Panayotova pursued opposition through critical themes in literature and theater as well as through the use of innovative means of expression by resisting against imposed artistic forms. The collection highlights individual estrangement from the socialist state, the dynamics of criticism, and the risks criticism entailed for "ordinary" people. The collection shows the attempt of a "life of truth" and of repeated defiance borne out of a strong moral stance. It is also a good example of a small family collection that maintains personal memories without having a grand political agenda.
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.
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.
Zbigniew Dłubak Collection at Archeology of Photography F...
Zbigniew Dłubak Collection at Archeology of Photography Foundation
Zbigniew Dłubak collection consists of photographs, sketches, and notes, and was one of the first collections to be digitalized, catalogued, and managed by the Archeology of Photography Foundation. The objective of the Foundation was twofold. Firstly, the Foundation aimed to present the heritage of one of the most prominent Polish visual artist working in the socialist time without oversimplifying and putting him into official – dissent culture dichotomy, but to show his place in the wider context of European visual arts. Secondly, the Foundation digitalized and presented various parts of Dłubak’s collection using newest methods of archival preservation and created a fully researchable content. Part of the photographs included in the Dłubak's collection was never shown before to a wider public and was kept in the Dłubak’s private archive.
The collection exists thanks to Kolář’s friendships with artists and reflects his personal taste. Kolář bought works directly from the artists and thus he supported them. Along with works from the second half of the twentieth century, Kolář also collected older works, which are part of the collection.
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 “Sixtiers Museum” Collection is located in a small museum in Kyiv, Ukraine in a building belonging to the Ukrainian political party Rukh. Nadia Svitlychna and Mykola Plakhotniuk founded this museum as way of honouring and documenting the struggles of a cohort of Soviet Ukrainian dissidents during the 1960s-1980s. Included in the permanent exhibition are paintings, graphics, sculptures, embroidery and other artworks produced by artists affiliated with the sixtiers movement. The museum also displays the poems, letters and literary works of the writers in their midst, as well as their typewriters, handcrafted items made while in the GULag, or clothes worn while living in exile, like Svitlychna’s own camp uniform. Also figuring prominently are posters for events and exhibitions organized by this group. The guided tour is a moving, concise rendition of their struggle, aimed at the museum’s target audiences, young students, scholars, and the general public.
These materials depict the lives of a dynamic group of Soviet Ukrainians engaged in a principled creative and ideological struggle with the Soviet regime in the 1960s and 1970s. They were poets, artists, graphic designers, historians, doctors, and even a Soviet army official, all of whom became deeply involved in human rights activism under late socialism. Many were members of large Soviet institutions—like the Ukrainian writers and artist unions, the Literary Institute in Kyiv, the Soviet armed forces. The Soviet government’s ideological retrenchment after Khrushchev transformed these dissidents, who had worked hard to try and reform the system and make it more humane, into individuals in open conflict with the authorities.
The Libri Prohibiti’s collection of foreign samizdat monographs and periodicals contains mainly Slovak and Polish samizdat literature. Russian samizdat and periodicals from the former German Democratic Republic are marginally represented.
The Jan and Meda Mládek collection is the core of Museum Kampa exhibition. Besides works by František Kupka, an “undesirable artist” during the communist era, there is a broad collection of other works by artists from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland that do not follow the official socialist style.
The collection includes documents (archival material) stored in the archive of the "Commission for the Disclosure of Documents and Announcing Affiliation of Bulgarian Citizens with the State Security and the Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian People's Army", commonly called "Commission for Dossiers" (Comdos) in Bulgarian.
The collection documents developments among the Bulgarian intelligentsia during the communist regime through the perspective of the secret police and reveals their strategies of observation and persecution of critical intellectuals.
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.”
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.
Exploitation of the Dead Collection at the Museum of Cont...
Exploitation of the Dead Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
The “Exploitation of the Dead“ Collection by the self-educated neo-avantgarde artist Mladen Stilinović was compiled in socialist Croatia in the period from 1984 to 1990. It is a cycle of paintings dealing with the theme of dispersal or disappearance of symbols, both those widely accepted, such as the Christian cross, as well as the symbols of the Yugoslav socialist period, such as the red star. The author detects changes that affected the socialist system at the symbolic level in the 1980s and puts them in the context of art in a subversive way by using ideological and political reality.
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.
Ferdinand Peroutka Collection at the Museum of Czech Lite...
Ferdinand Peroutka Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature
The collection of the Czech journalist, dramatist and director of the Czechoslovak section of Radio Free Europe, Ferdinand Peroutka (1895–1978), contains unique sources for the history of the Czechoslovak exile after 1948.
The establishment of the Béla Balázs Studio was initiated by young film professionals in 1959, but it was officially founded only in 1961. It served as a training studio for freshly graduated filmmakers, where they could make films that were not produced to be screened. Through its board, which consisted of elected members of the Studio, the BBS enjoyed partial autonomy over the redistribution of the yearly budget. Beginning in the 1970s, they started to involve “outsiders” in the activities of the studio, which became increasingly marked by two parallel tendencies: engaged forms of documentary and experimental analysis of the language of cinematography.
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 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.
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.
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.
Eginald Schlattner Collection at Teutsch Haus Sibiu
Eginald Schlattner Collection at Teutsch Haus Sibiu
Persecuted under communism, Eginald Schlattner emerged after 1989 as one of the most successful writers of the German community in Romania. His personal collection, which contains books, manuscripts, letters, photos and video recordings, reflects his troubled relations with the communist regime.
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.
Rudolf Mihle (1937–2008) was one of the most important Czech amateur filmmakers. Many of his films criticised the communist regime and society. Therefore, some of his films were censored and could not be distributed. He was an active member of the Czech Club of Amateur Filmmakers.
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.
Three letters from Mykhailyna Kotsiubynska to Zina Genyk ...
Three letters from Mykhailyna Kotsiubynska to Zina Genyk Berezovska, July-December 1965
Mykhailyna Khomivna Kotsiubynska and Zina Genyk-Berezovska became acquainted in Kyiv during a visit by the latter to the Ukrainian capital in 1964. They became fast friends, Kotsiubynska’s letters accounting for more than a third of the letters sent to Genyk-Berezovska. The letters are now held and the T.H. Shevchenko Institute of Literature in Kyiv, Ukraine. The entire correspondence is the byproduct of a close female friendship, one that was deep and forged during a difficult time. The three letters sent in 1965 show that these two were under surveillance, as their letters were often lost, or more likely confiscated in transit. Kotsiubynska's letter from July 30, 1965 asks why there has not been any word from Genyk-Berezovska. Kostiubynska was particularly aggrieved because she had sent an important letter in which she wrote among other things about the death of a close relative and Kotsiubynska's adoption of her four-year-old daughter. Genyk-Berezovska wrote back sometime later, prompting Kotsiubynska to write a letter on August 21, 1965, underscoring how important this correspondence was to her and asking Genyk-Berezovska to write more frequently. The letter from September 30, 1965, opens with "Zinochka, my dear bumble bee!" Kotsiubynska asks why she has not heard from Genyk-Berezovska and wonders whether she is ok. Kotsiubynska writes that she misses Genyk-Berezovska greatly, especially given what is happening in Ukraine at this time. In Aesopian language, Kotsiubynska explains that things are not going well and that one of their friends has been arrested. "Things are not fun for us right now. Our friend, who has not written you for so long, will not be able to write you again for some time. And it is not his fault." She also asks whether Genyk-Berezovska received an earlier letter, presumably in order to ascertain whether it might have been intercepted by the state security services. When one reads back letters sent between these two women--especially those written in the late 1960s and early 1970s--one can feel the stresses of not being able to communicate regularly and with any certainty. This weighs heavily on Kotsiubynska, who is also under pressure and surveillance from the authorities. In May 1966, she asks Genyk-Berezovska if she has received a letter from Ivan, referring to Svitlychny, who had been released on April 30, 1966 for being "socially harmless." Apparently, his stature and popularity had been so great and the protests against his arrests so numerous, that the authorities opted to release him. The following year, Kotsiubynska wrote two letters that were only ten days apart--July 5 and july 15. In the first, she tells Genyk-Berezovska that she has been fired from her job and expelled from the Communist party. In the second, she says simply "this year has worn me down completely." Through their correspondence, one senses the immense psychological pressure facing literary scholars and human rights activists in Ukraine at this time, though one would also have to read Genyk Berezovska's responses in order to have the complete picture.
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.
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 modern collection of the Gallery of Szombathely eloquently exemplifies the complex relationship between official culture and the culture of dissent during the socialist period. The genealogy of the collection is inseparable from the conservation of the leftist counter-culture of the Horthy era, especially of the legacy of the left-wing painter Gyula Derkovits, who was born in Szombathely. The collection of artworks was based on the notion of “progress,” and it became increasingly intense in the 1970s, but it only partly followed the socialist canon. It also initiated the emergence of new and critical trends that were in opposition to the official culture politics.
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 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 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.
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.
The Soviet Lithuanian Union of Writers was an influential cultural organisation made up of local writers, which was responsible for the spread of Soviet values and the promotion of Lithuanian ethno-particularism. The collection holds many documents, including transcripts of meetings and reports on writers' activities, which reflect the fact that some local writers were eager to support the Lithuanian cultural heritage, and promote the expansion of the boundaries of Modernism in the 1960s and 1970s.
The archive houses the personal estate of the German writer Brigitte Reimann (1933-1973), whose literary criticism of the contradictions between socialist ideals and human needs had a great impact on the public in social reality of the GDR.
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.
This ad-hoc collection consists of the work of Binka Zhelyazkova, an emblematic Bulgarian cinema director, as it is preserved in the Bulgarian National Film Archive, plus related materials. Zhelyazkova was among the first generation of professional Bulgarian cinematographers and one of the first female directors not only in Bulgaria, but in general. The collections informs not only about the work of this notable director but gives also insight into the development of Bulgarian cinema throughout the entire period of state socialism.
The collection comprises the films of Binka Zhelyazkova as well as extensive written materials (film documentation, reviews in the press etc.) and photographs. It outlines the contradictory and dramatic cultural situation in Bulgaria in the second half of the 20th century. The materials exemplify the pressure exerted on artists as well as of their opportunities of resistance and evasion, of maintaing personal and political integrity, and of creating socially engaged, vanguard cinema.
The collection of “suppressed literature“ is the result of an academic project that questioned the established canon of literary history in the GDR and aims to morally rehabilitate the authors of this suppressed literature. The archive is held by the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship.
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.
Collection of documents of the Central Commitee of the La...
Collection of documents of the Central Commitee of the Latvian Communist Party
Control of the cultural life in Latvia was one of functions of the Latvian Communist Party (LCP) Central Committee (CC). The collection of documents furnishes rich information about the formulation and implementation of LCP CC cultural policy, about ‘deviations’ from the official path committed by the cultural opposition, and about attempts to use Latvian culture for the political ends of the Soviet regime in 1940-1991.
Benedikt Rejt Gallery and its collection were founded in the 1960s with the aim of collecting contemporary tendencies in visual arts. The gallery kept buying works by progressive artists even after 1968. The Benedikt Rejt Gallery owns a unique collection of constructivist pieces.
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.
Lithuanian Communist Party Central Committee collection (...
Lithuanian Communist Party Central Committee collection (1944-1953)
The collection gives much valuable information about the policy of the Lithuanian Communist Party Central Committee towards the Lithuanian national intelligentsia and the Lithuanian national heritage. The documents cover the most dramatic and repressive period in the history of Soviet Lithuania.
Aurel and Emil Cioran Collection at ASTRA Library Sibiu
Aurel and Emil Cioran Collection at ASTRA Library Sibiu
The collection portrays the life and work of two Romanian intellectuals separated by the Iron Curtain, the brothers Aurel and Emil Cioran. While Aurel Cioran experienced imprisonment and then lived in Sibiu, Romania, his brother lived in Paris from 1941, where he became an internationally known French essayist. The collection comprises original manuscripts, correspondence, books, photos, and personal documents from the period 1911–1996.
The Vincas Kisarauskas collection shows documents relating to the creative work and life of the famous Lithuanian painter Vincas Kisarauskas. He is a well-known proponent of the Lithuanian school of ex-libris, and the collection contains originals of his works.
Wojciech Zamecznik Collection at Archeology of Photograph...
Wojciech Zamecznik Collection at Archeology of Photography Foundation
Wojciech Zamecznik's collection represents the early stage of Polish school of poster design. Zamecznik himself has an interesting biography - ex-Auschwitz prisoner, active member of Association of Polish Artists and Designers, who created posters for artistic and political purposes. The collection shows the tension between the official language of socialist posters and private photographs, more intimate and portraying the everyday life.
Polja (Fields), magazine for culture and art collection
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.
A collection of works of naive art on political and socio-critical topics, created by the amateur artist Paul Kondas. Paintings depicting these themes in Estonian history were not allowed during the Soviet period.
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.
Jiří Lederer Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation...
Jiří Lederer Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
Jiří Lederer (1922-1983) was a Czech journalist and publicist, one of the most prominent journalists during the "Prague Spring" in 1968. In the 1970s he participated in the work of the Czechoslovak opposition and was one of the first signatories of Charter 77. During the 1970s he was imprisoned several times. In 1980 he went into exile. The collection mainly contains materials and notes from the period around the Prague Spring.
‘Književne novine’ [Literary News] was one of the leading cultural and literary journals in Yugoslavia. It was often the target of criticism due to views that were not always in line with the communist party, causing it to be banned several times. The available editions are kept in two libraries in Belgrade: the National Library of Serbia and the University Library "Svetozar Marković".
The temporary collection "Forms of Resistance" is dedicated to the artistic opposition against the communist regime in Bulgaria from 1944 to 1985. The exhibition highlights different forms of repression against particular artists at particular moments during the period of state socialism. It also shows the active role of some painters, as well as their forms of resistance against the dogmas of Socialist Realism and against ideological guidance. The upper time limit is the beginning of the perestroika in the Soviet Union, which marks the beginning of the final disintegration of the system of state socialism, also with regard to the political control of arts.
Artistic Archive of the Studio Theatre and the Jerzy Grzegorzewski Section contain all the materials created by the theatre group since 1972 until today (the archives created before 1972 are deposited at the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw). This collection is a unique testimony of how the theatre functioned in the 1970s and the 1980s, trying to stay artistically and politically independent in the times of great cultural divisions in Poland. Especially the documents from the 1980s, during Jerzy Grzegorzewski's mandate as a director of the Theatre, provide a particularly interesting overview of the life of the institution at that point. Each play has its own dossier, containing different versions of scripts, notes of the theatre group, as well as video and audio recordings, which give an insight into the process of working on domestic and foreign plays at the dynamic times of political transformations and the martial law in Poland.
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.
Samizdat Collection at Petőfi Literary Museum (PLM)
Samizdat Collection at Petőfi Literary Museum (PLM)
This collection is one of the most important samizdat collections in Hungary. The Museum's Library and Archive started systematically to collect samizdat materials in the 1980s. The materials were kept in closed stacks not available to the public until 1989. The Museum held one of the first exhibitions on samizdat in Hungary after the change of regimes.
In 1963 the painter and graphic artist Roger Loewig was arrested following his first privately organised exhibition in East-Berlin. Throughout the regime, Loewig denied socialist realism artistic forms of production, while his artworks were considered subversive. After almost one year of imprisonment, Loewig was released in the GDR with the support from the Protestant Church from West Germany. Loewig’s release on three years probation could not be prevented. It was only 1972 that the artist could leave the GDR and settled in West-Berlin. Following his death in 1997, Loewig’s private fine-arts collection was bestowed by the Roger Loewig Association. This was founded in 1998 in Frankfurt Oder. Since 2000 the fine-arts legacy of the artist is preserved by the Federal Foundation for Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship. This aims at facilitating the scientific documentation and preservation of Loewig' artistic legacy. The literary and biographical works are currently on hold at the Academy of Arts in Berlin.
Blatný, Ivan. Old Addresses, in Czech, 1979. Typescript
Blatný, Ivan. Old Addresses, in Czech, 1979. Typescript
In 1977, English nurse Frances Meacham began to collect Ivan Blatný’s manuscripts of poems. She also sent some poems to Josef Škvorecký, a Czech writer living in exile in Toronto, Canada. Škvorecký decided to publish Blatný’s poems and thus, the collection of poems Old Addresses (Stará bydliště) was issued by the Czechoslovak exile publishing house Sixty-Eight Publishers in 1979. The collection was compiled during years 1978 and 1979 by Czech poet Antonín Brousek, who emigrated to West Germany in 1969. In accordance with Josef Škvorecký’s request, Brousek intentionally did not include multilingual and “modern” poems. On the contrary, he chose rather lyrical poems that resembled Ivan Blatný’s texts from the beginning of the 1940s. Josef Škvorecký justified this decision stating that their clients (readers of books issued by the publishing house Sixty-Eight Publishers) are usually “elder emigrants, who already had preconceived notions about poetry”. Although Old Addresses did not reflect Blatný’s modern style, the issue of this collection in 1979 was crucial. It resulted in better knowledge of Blatný and his work in exile, and Blatný was rediscovered by Czechoslovak readers, mainly those in exile and dissent circles. This book circulated in Czechoslovakia, where it was disseminated through illegal typescript copies. As Czech literary historian Jiří Rambousek stated later, it “created a small literary sensation.” Thus, it was not surprising that Old Addresses was also published by the Czechoslovak samizdat edition “Czech Expedition”. Moreover, it encouraged Blatný himself to continue in his literary work. Since 1989, this collection has officially been published in Czechoslovakia, and later in the Czech Republic, four times (1992, 1997, 2002 and 2014).
The Museum of Czech Literature possesses a copy of the typescript of the collection Stará bydliště (Old Addresses) with handwritten notes.
This private collection contains the works of the composer Srđan Hofman, from the late 1960s to the present. Hofman is a representative of post-modernism in music, prominent as a composer of electro-acoustic music in Yugoslavia. Because of the nature of his music, the collection includes different media such as notes on Hofman’s compositions, audio recordings of their performances (both in electronic form and on records and tapes), together with the author’s publications and publications by others on his music. As the collection reflects Hofman’s entire oeuvre, we can trace its beginning from the end of 1960s and witness his continuing creative development.
The Balys Sruoga collection holds various documents, including notes, manuscripts and correspondence with other Lithuanian writers. The documents illustrate well the situation of intellectuals and writers in Soviet Lithuania under Stalin. The manuscript of Sruoga’s novel Dievų miškas (The Forest of the Gods), written in 1945, is especially valuable. The manuscript was very severely criticised by the authorities and heavily censored. It was only published in Soviet Lithuania in 1957.
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.
Ivan Blatný Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature
Ivan Blatný Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature
Ivan Blatný (1919–1990), an important Czech poet, lived and died in exile in the United Kingdom after 1948. Upon arrival in the UK, he applied for political asylum and became a “banned” poet in Czechoslovakia as a result of his emigration and openly talking on BBC radio about political pressure against artists in Czechoslovakia. Despite being banned, his work circulated in Czechoslovakia through both samizdat and official printings.
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.
The collection illustrates Adrian Marino’s intellectual evolution as a historian and literary critic who chose to pursue his activity outside the institutions controlled by the communist regime. The Marino Collection includes books, original manuscripts, and the author’s correspondence, which reflects a critical perspective on Romanian literary life in the period 1964–1989.
Documents of Moldavian Union of Cinematographers (MUC). F...
Documents of Moldavian Union of Cinematographers (MUC). Fond P-2773 at AOSPR Moldova
The present collection comprises a series of archival materials relating to the activities of the Moldavian Union of Cinematographers (MUC). It covers the period from the early 1960s to the late 1980s. The materials in this collection were selected from Fonds No. P-2773 (Uniunea Cineaștilor din Moldova), which is currently held in the Archive of Social-Political Organisations (AOSPRM) of the Republic of Moldova in Chișinău. The collection files mainly focus on a number of professional congresses of the MUC and national conferences of cinematographers, with a special emphasis on the 1960s, early 1970s, and late 1980s. These materials are revealing for the uneasy relationship of the local film industry with the Soviet authorities, highlighting the internal dynamics and competition within the organisation, but also the ideological pressure exercised by the regime.
Ferenc Fejtő was an original, democratic leftist thinker. His library is a unique trace of the criticism of Eastern European rightist, authoritarianist, socialist dictatorship, and Western European leftist romanticism. Fejtő, who maintained strong connections with European intellectual elites, left Hungary for France in 1938, yet remained deeply committed to the fate of freedom-lacking Eastern Europe.
Heiner Müller was one of the most important German dramatists of the 20th century. After his drama Die Umsiedlerin (The Resettler Woman) was censored in 1961, following a single performance, many of his plays prohibited in the GDR were staged in the West. The core of the constantly expanding Heiner-Müller-Archiv / Transitraum is Müller's personal library. While Müller's manuscripts are kept at the Academy of Arts, his library constitutes a separate collection run by the Institute for German Literature at the Humboldt-University of Berlin.
The Fine Art Archive consists of diverse documents connected to Czech and Slovak art of the twentieth and twenty first century. Catalogues, books, invitations, journals, photography, slides, cuts and other items have been gathered continuously since the mid-1980s.
Smells of Brno. Evening of Ivan Blatný’s Poetry, 1968. Po...
Smells of Brno. Evening of Ivan Blatný’s Poetry, 1968. Poster
Ivan Blatný emigrated to England in 1948. In Czechoslovakia, he was labelled a “traitor” and became a banned author. Later, the Czechoslovak Radio even falsely announced that Blatný had died in England. In 1968, during the era of the “Prague Spring”, the interest in Blatný and his poetry grew in Czechoslovakia. An example of this increasing interest, there was a programme dedicated to Blatný’s poetry called “The Smells of Brno”. This programme, advertised by a small poster from the Ivan Blatný Collection, was organised by the Czech director and artist Karel Fuksa in the Brno House of Arts. Blatný’s poems were recited by Czech actors Ladislav Lakomý and Helena Kružíková. According to Fuksa, the hall was full. In the same year, the Blok publishing house issued the second edition of Ivan Blatný’s “Melancholic Walks”, and Blatný’s poems sporadically appeared in Czechoslovak press or on the Radio. Then, Blatný’s texts could be officially published in Czechoslovakia only after 1989.
Václav Havel Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation...
Václav Havel Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
Václav Havel (1936-2011) was an important Czech playwright and essayist, a critic of the communist regime, one of the initiators of Charter 77, a founding member of VONS (The Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Prosecuted), a political prisoner and later president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. The collection consists mainly of materials of his dramatic creation and its dissenting effect.
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 collection of the Bethlen Gábor Foundation provides insights into the concerns and the institutionalisation of the national-populist dissent groups in the 1970s and 1980s. The Gábor Bethlen Foundation was officially registered in 1985, though it was in fact active since 1980. The organisation tried to press the Hungarian government to take action in Hungary and in states neighbouring Hungary to foster what it perceived as authentic ethnic Hungarian culture. The efforts to call public attention to the cultural discrimination against Hungarians in the neighbouring socialist countries produced civic networks and initiatives, which were seen as crucial to addressing the failures of the communist government. Furthermore, these civic initiatives generated culture-based criticism of official politics, which was accused of ignoring this important issue.
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.
Casual Passer-by Collection at the Museum of Contemporary...
Casual Passer-by Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
The Casual Passer-By Collection by the Bosnian-Herzegovinian conceptual artist Braco Dimitrijević consists of eight photographs and two posters (portraits) created in Zagreb and Belgrade in 1971. The photographs and posters (portraits) were the foundation of his three performances from the "Casual Passer-by" series staged in Yugoslavia. They were subversive performances in which the author hung portraits of chance passers-by in public spaces, otherwise intended for executives, in this way questioning established forms of communication in the public space of a socialist state.
Documents of Moldavian Writers’ Union (MWU). Fond P-2955 ...
Documents of Moldavian Writers’ Union (MWU). Fond P-2955 at AOSPR Moldova
The present collection comprises a series of archival materials relating to the activities of the Moldavian Writers’ Union (MWU) and spanning the period from the early 1950s to the late 1980s. The materials in this collection were selected from Fond No. P-2955 (Uniunea Scriitorilor din Moldova), which is currently held in the Archive of Social-Political Organisations of the Republic of Moldova (AOSPRM) in Chișinău. The collection files mainly focus on a number of Party meetings, writers’ congresses and national conferences which discussed significant issues related to the local cultural heritage, the “language question,” and the relations between the literary milieu and the Soviet regime.
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.
The collection "Only the Forbidden Newspapers Remain in History!" (Stefan Prodev) is one of the many collections of funds of the National Library "St. Cyril and St. Methodius "(NBCM), containing rich and diverse materials for and from the socialist period.
The newspapers and magazines presented in the collection show the possible forms of opposition by journalists and authors; the ways in which questions of freedom of the press were raised; the attempts to circumvent censorship and to rise critical issues on the regime; to develop new insights into artistic and genre diversity.
The Mojmir Vanek collection is a unique collection of materials that relate to the life and activities of Mojmir Vanek. The activities of this distinctive, albeit unknown, Czechoslovak exile was very important for the dissemination of Czech music abroad, as well as his activities within the Society for Science and Art, the Swiss branch of which he presided over for many years. The collection is at the Comenius Museum in Přerov.
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 collection of 1,476 paintings in water-colours by Kurts Fridrihsons made during his imprisonment in the Gulag in 1951-1956 is only part of the 3,500 artworks he produced during his time in the Gulag. A part of works depict Gulag camp and its environments, but the most of them reflect associations with literature and drama, and are testimony of artist's effort to dissociate himself from atmosphere of the camp and to sustain his intellectual interests.
Antanas Miškinis (1905-1983) was a Lithuanian poet and Soviet political prisoner. He started his creative activity in the mid-1920s. In the mid-1940s, he joined the Lithuanian partisan movement, for which he was convicted and sent to Siberia. While serving his sentence, he wrote romantic poems (psalms). Many of them were copied out or learned by heart by other Lithuanian political prisoners at that time in Siberia. The collection holds psalms and poetry written by Miškinis during his imprisonment from 1948 to 1956.
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.
Vasyl Stus was an iconic figure of the human rights movement in Soviet Ukraine and one of the leading Ukrainian poets of his generation. Volumes of his poetry circulated widely through samizdat in the 1960s-1980s. While conducting searches, the KGB would find his works in the homes of every writer, artist, chemist, and human rights activist, whose activities were cause for concern. As with many writers, Stus’s struggle with the Soviet regime, particularly his brutal incarceration and torture in a Soviet prison camp, which led to his death in 1985, have in many ways overshadowed his human and artistic legacy. The Vasyl Stus Collection at the T. H. Shevchenko Institute of Literature in Kyiv was donated by the Stus family after Ukrainian independence in 1991, with the aim of popularizing and making more accessible his writings. These materials include previously unknown works, volumes of Stus’s vast correspondence, as well as fragments of writings that survived his imprisonment in strict-regime hard labor camps in Mordovia and Perm.
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.
The Marian Zulean personal collection is an illustration of the fact that any act of cultural opposition is dependent on the societal context that generates it. It implicitly highlights the fundamental difference between Romania and other communist states in the last years of the period 1980–1989. The more than 400 newspapers, magazines, brochures and books, originating especially from the Soviet Union in the Gorbachev period, epitomise a reformist political discourse that had become relatively official in the rest of the Soviet bloc, but was considered dangerous by the Romanian Securitate.
Black Church Restoration Ad Hoc Collection in Braşov
Black Church Restoration Ad Hoc Collection in Braşov
This collection tells the sinuous story of the restoration to its former glory of the Black Church, a Gothic monument of the highest significance for the collective identity of the Saxon community in Transylvania. Launched by the local German-speaking elite during the 1930s, the restoration of the Black Church in Braşov was carried out during the communist period despite such politically driven adversities as the atheist system of values and the policy of so-called of “urban systematisation,” which envisaged the demolition of an important part of the architectural heritage of Romania.
The Michael Shafir Collection represents a significant part of the personal library of its founder, who selected and accumulated items while in exile, in accordance with his academic and professional interest in what was known during the Cold War as East European politics. As he held various positions in Radio Free Europe (RFE), the collection also includes many documents relating to the activity of this institution, most of them from the late 1980s, but also some from the 1990s.
Kazys Boruta (1905-1965) was a famous Lithuanian novelist, poet and translator. The Kazys Boruta collection holds various documents: his diaries, correspondence and manuscripts. The documents illustrate the situation of the writer in Soviet Lithuania. The government tried various means to control and restrict the writer’s creative initiatives. During the period of Stalinism, Boruta was arrested, accused of collaborating with bourgeois nationalists, and imprisoned. After he was released, he had problems publishing his work.
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.
Serke, Jürgen. Escape to the Madhouse, in German, 1981. C...
Serke, Jürgen. Escape to the Madhouse, in German, 1981. Copy of article
The German journalist and writer Jürgen Serke (b. 1938) dealt with persecuted and silenced artists. At the beginning of the 1980s, he was researching a book about life and work of Polish, Russian, East German, and Czechoslovak poets and writers living in exile. Thus, Jürgen Serke, accompanied by photographer Wilfried Bauer and Czech poet in exile, Jiří Gruša, visited Blatný in Ipswich in October 1981. Then, Serke wrote a report about Blatný and his life in exile entitled “Escape to the Madhouse” (Flucht ins Irrenhaus), which was published in the West German magazine Stern in December 1981. The following year, Serke’s book “Expelled Poets” (Die verbannten Dichter), which also included the report about Ivan Blatný, was issued. Serke’s article about Ivan Blatný in Stern found an echo. After its publication, Ivan Blatný received many letters and gifts, mainly from Czechoslovak emigrants. Some people also came to Ipswich to visit Blatný personally. Then, in 1982, British and Norwegian televisions made a documentary film about Ivan Blatný. Hence, Jürgen Serke, or specifically his article, “Escape to the Madhouse”, significantly contributed to the rediscovery of this almost forgotten exiled poet.
The Ivan Blatný Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature contains Blatný’s copy of Serke’s article.
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 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.
Launched as part of the cultural politics of the time, the Studio was founded in 1958, as the youth section of the Art Fund, as an institution to further the professional integration of recently graduated visual artists. The studio was dependent on the mother institution financially and bureaucratically, but it enjoyed partial autonomy through its elected board members. A unique rule – the upper age limit of 35 years – ensured the continuous revitalization of membership. Beginning in the 1970s, autodidacts were also admitted as members, which made it possible to integrate outsiders into the official artistic milieu, thus breaking the hegemony of the academy. This also meant an expansion of the accepted ways of working. The collection, which contains primarily the works of former members, illustrates the conflicts of artistic autonomy and centralized cultural politics so typical of the era.
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.
EXAT 51 and New Tendencies at the Tošo Dabac Archive
EXAT 51 and New Tendencies at the Tošo Dabac Archive
The largest collection of photographs in Croatia, and one of the most complete in the world. It consists of the works of the most famous Croatian photographers, who documented everyday life of Croatia from the 1920s until his death in 1970, including the activity of EXAT 51 and New Tendencies.
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.
The Danilo Kiš collection contains the estate of one of the most important non-conformist writers of socialist Yugoslavia. Kiš's collection is kept at the Archives of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU). His anti-authoritarian stance triggered attacks on his writing, which brought him to court. "Nobody did more to prove that Europe's twentieth-century experiments in fiction can take the measure of its experiments in totalitarianism, without curbing the liberties of the one or blurring the crimes of the other." asserts Mark Thompson in "Birth Certificate. The Story of Danilo Kiš" (2013, xi).
This ad-hoc collection mainly consists of documents 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 Arsenie Platon, a person of peasant background and an aspiring poet, who was tried and convicted in 1961 for displaying nationalist views and for conducting “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” among his friends and acquaintances. Platon’s “anti-Soviet” opinions were mostly expressed in a series of poems and short proclamations in which he criticised ethnic discrimination against the Moldavians and called for the overthrow of Soviet power. This case is emblematic for less widely known forms of grassroots cultural opposition, falling under the same broad category as the cases of Gheorghe Muruziuc and Zaharia Doncev. Platon’s file includes no further information about his fate after the end of his prison term.
The collection commemorates the life and oeuvre of the deeply religious Catholic poet of peasant origin, Gáspár Nagy. His works were repeatedly subject to censorship from the 1970s on, and he became a significant figure of the opposition by the 1980s.
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 collection of the writer Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas holds various documents: notes, correspondence and manuscripts. The documents illustrate very well the situation of intellectuals and writers in Soviet Lithuania. The government considered Mykolaitis-Putinas to be a famous Lithuanian writer, but on the other hand it tried to control his creative work. During the Late Stalinist period, the writer was often criticised by Party officials.