The Milovan Djilas collection is deposited at the Hoover Institute Library & Archives, located at Stanford University in the United States. It offers an important insight into the life and work of the first and most prominent dissident in Yugoslavia, who was also one of the most notable dissidents anywhere in communist Europe. Djilas had been the main ideologue of the Yugoslav Communist Party and one of the Tito's closest associates when he confronted the Party and Tito in the mid-1950s.
The Mihajlo Mihajlov collection gives an overview of his life and work as a Yugoslav dissident who lived in exile in the USA since 1978. Due to his efforts to democratize Tito's Yugoslavia and introduce political, economic and cultural pluralism, he became a political prisoner, first in the period from 1966 to 1970 and later from 1974 to 1977. After the “Mihajlov case” in Yugoslavia in 1966, a wave of dissident movements emerged in the Eastern bloc countries. Together with Milovan Đilas, Mihajlov became one of the most famous figures of the dissident movement in the Cold War world in general. The collection is stored at the Hoover Institution, located at Stanford University in the USA.
Some of the photographs taken by Lucian Ionică are snapshots of moments of high drama. Among them, those “hard to look at” images from the Paupers’ Cemetery, with the bodies of those killed by the repressive forces of the communist regime, hastily buried by the representatives of those forces, and then disinterred in order to be laid to rest in a fitting manner. There are also in the collection some photographs with portraits of children wounded during the Revolution of December 1989 in Timişoara. They were taken in the Timişoara Children’s Hospital on 24 December. The photographs show the wounded children in bed; the three snapshots include portraits of two boys and a girl. “For a few years after I took those photos I tried to trace the children I had photographed. I couldn’t find them, although I tried repeatedly. In the confusion and the strong emotions of the events back then, I didn’t have the inspiration to make a note of their names. Today I don’t know what has become of them, what they are doing,” says Lucian Ionică, confessing his regret at being unable to follow the story of those whose drama he immortalized in December 1989. “In the Timişoara Revolution, there were a lot of teenagers in the street. However the repressive forces had no compunction about firing at them. They were victims of the Army in the first place. Opening fire on minors is impossible to accept. Of course it is not justified against adults either, but the brutal actions of the soldiers against the children show how faithful those in the forces of repression were to Nicolae Ceauşescu,” is the comment of Gino Rado, the vice-president of the Memorial to the Revolution in Timişoara, summing up the tragic consequences of the involvement of forces loyal to the communist regime in the repression of the demonstrators, including minors (Szabo and Rado 2016). According to research carried out at the Memorial to the Revolution in Timişoara, as well as other official statistics documenting the scale of the repression in the city in December 1989, at least six children or adolescents under the age of 18 were killed in this symbolic city of the Romanian Revolution. The youngest hero-martyr was Cristina Lungu; when she was fatally shot in December 1989, she was only two years old.
Hall of flags without coats of arms from the Revolution o...
Hall of flags without coats of arms from the Revolution of 1989
One of the most imposing rooms of the Memorial to the Revolution in Timişoara is dedicated to the tricolour flags that were in the street or in various institutions during the very tense days of December 1989. It houses some fifteen flags, all original. “They are flags that have, in a sense, been to war; people came out to demonstrations with them in the days from 15 to 22 December; some of them were shot at; some were discoloured by the weather on those days; they are important symbolic objects that had very important trajectories for the revolutionary movements of 1989, in those heated and bloody days in Timişoara,” says Gino Rado. The majority have a hole where the communist emblem was removed – the flag with a hole in the middle became one of the emblematic images of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989. Of all these flags, only one is of the Communist Party: it was taken down from the building of the Party Committee in Timişoara. They came to the Memorial as donations over a number of years, mostly in the period 1990–1994.
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.
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.
Items commemorating the youngest victim of the Revolution...
Items commemorating the youngest victim of the Revolution of 1989
Cristina Lungu was the youngest hero-martyr of the Revolution of December 1989 in Timişoara. When shed died, shot in the heart by one of the bullets fired from the roof of the Research Centre on Calea Girocului, Cristina Lungu was only two and a half years old. She died on Str. Ariş in Timişora, at the crossing with Calea Girocului, in her father’s arms with her mother beside her. Her destiny is symptomatic for the fate of most of the over 1,000 victims of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, who lost their lives not in a direct clash with the apparatus of repression, but because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when a stray or ricocheting bullet cut short their lives.
The tragic moment is recounted as follows in one of the books published by the publishing house of the Memorial to the Revolution in Timişoara: “There was a moment of respite, around 10 pm, after intense shooting close by, on Calea Girocului. They came out at the crossing of Str. Negoi with Str. Arieş and Calea Girocului. At a certain moment, Cristina fell. Her father thought she had tripped, because there had been no particular noise. When he picked her up, Doru Lungu noticed that blood was flowing from her mouth. Then he ran with her to the County Emergency Hospital: “And it was only in the morning, about 4 am, that I found out, someone told me, that in fact she had been shot and had died on the spot. I wanted, because someone there had told me, to run quickly to the Morgue to take her, because otherwise I would never be able to get her.” Because he was afraid that her body would disappear for ever in the criminal action of erasing the traces of the repression of the popular revolt, her father was determined to take her from the Morgue, although it would have been almost impossible to bury her officially, because he had no documents. But he did not reach her, because he was given advice to take care and not to put himself in danger, because two people from the Securitate were at the Morgue, carrying out investigations into the deceased. It was only in the afternoon of Thursday 21 December that he managed to recover her body, his good fortune (if one can speak of good fortune in these circumstances) being that she had not been put in the batch that would arrive in Bucharest for incineration.” (Szabo 2014)
On the ground floor of the building of the Memorial to the Revolution in Timişora there is a thematic corner dedicated to this heroine-martyr. Her portrait, donated by her family to the institution in 2001, is covered by a pane of glass pierced in the middle by the impact of a bullet. The pane comes from a shop in the centre of Timişoara, in Opera Square, a place where there were violent exchanges of fire between 17 and 22 December 1989. In connection with the tragic case of this youngest victim of the December 1989 events in Timişoara, the portfolio of the Memorial also contains some testimonies by her parents and information that helps to place Cristina Lungu in both her historical and her family context.
Film Notations of European Solidarity Centre are biographical interviews, conducted with democratic opposition activists and creators of independent culture in socialist Poland. They are first-hand testimonies of people who organised illegal gatherings, demonstrations, art exhibitions, film screenings, literature circulation etc. Collection includes rare interviews that cannot be seen anywhere else.
The rich family collection of photos, papers, books, videos, and other documents left behind by Árpád Göncz provides extraordinary insights into the long history of democratic and patriotic movements in Hungary. The collections play an important role in preserving the memories of the 1956 Revolution and the democratic and liberal traditions of Hungary.
Croatian scholars made important contributions to the work of the Pugwash Movement by gathering primarily around the Institute for the Philosophy of Science and Peace of the Yugoslav (after 1991 Croatian) Academy of Sciences and Arts (JAZU/HAZU). In 1966, a group of Croatian intellectuals from the Institute, led by Ivan Supek, in 1966 launched the journal Encyclopaedia moderna: časopis za sintezu znanosti, umjetnosti i društvene prakse. It was published in all Yugoslav languages and dialects, but there were also articles in English. In addition to the central editorial office in Zagreb, it had editorial staffs in Belgrade, Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Skopje and Titograd. It was issued quarterly, although occasionally deviated from this schedule. The editor in chief was Ivan Supek (except in 1975, when the editor was Eugen Pusić). Since the mid-1980s, Supek was assisted by Nikola Zovko and Bojan Marotti (interview with Marotti, Bojan).
As a multidisciplinary journal, it promoted universalism and a humanistic orientation for science and the arts, as well as the complete disarmament and the creation of world peace. The first issue began with the “A Word from the Editors,” in which they stress: “we stand between military, economic and ideological blocs, and it is clear that in the event of a [global] conflict there can be no victory, but only a general disaster” (p. 1). They insisted on the universality of humankind: “Although the world is so fatally disunited, in every corner of it peaceful, humane and progressive thought is smouldering" (p. 3).
The goals of the journal were almost identical to the goals of the Pugwash Movement, and Supek insisted that every issue must contain something about the movement. “Pugwash” or “Peace Studies” or some column with a similar name was published in almost every issue. It would usually convey information, documents, declarations, or reports from Pugwash Conferences and other meetings. All of the contributions in the column were in English, in attempt to make the journal accessible to international scientific currents.
In the 1960s, Encyclopaedia moderna was relatively popular due to the prominent intellectuals who contributed articles to it. The journal strived for academic freedom and was even open to topics that the communist government considered undesirable, as was the case with religion (Kolarić 1973). The Yugoslav communist authorities did not like such intellectual independence, and the government reduced the funding for all of Yugoslavia's Pugwash organisations and publications. In 1976, Encyclopaedia moderna was forced to shut down because the government completely severed its funding (Knapp 2013, 99). In the 1980s, the very existence of the Pugwash organisation in Yugoslavia was questionable, mainly because Supek was out of favour with the communist regime. Still, the movement survived those trying years.
The journal was re-launched after the fall of communism in 1991, with Nikola Zovko as editor-in-chief, but its scope was oriented more towards Central Europe. It was published until 1998, and Marotti believes the journal was "naturally extinguished" because the themes of the journal were no longer as current as during the Cold War (interview with Marotti, Bojan).
The video periodical Black Box was the first independent film production studio during the last years of communist rule in Hungary. It reported on demonstrations and civilian initiatives that the official media passed over in silence or reported on with disinformation. With its film reports, and portraits distributed in samizdat channels, at the beginning Black Box managed to create the largest film collection documenting the events of the transitional period and the change of political system both in Hungary and in other communist countries.
The Victor Frunză Collection is an important historical source for understanding and writing the history of that part of the Romanian exile community which was actively involved in supporting dissidents in the country and in publicising in the West the repressive or aberrant policies of the Ceaușescu regime. In particular, the collection illustrates the activity of the collector and other personalities of the exile community for respecting human rights in Romania. Also, the documents of this collection reflect the involvement of Romanians from abroad in the reconstruction of democracy in their country of origin.
The Hungarian Soros Foundation (HSF), founded in May 1984, was George Soros's first pilot enterprise in the one-time communist bloc, years before he opened his similar Beijing, Moscow, and Warsaw offices in the late 1980s or establish his foundation network in the early 1990s throughout Central and Eastern Europe. During its 23 years of public operation, the HSF spent more than 150 million dollars by providing grants, stipends and other means of support for artists, writers, scholars, and students, and it ran several new cultural and educational, social, and health projects and remained the main supporter of NGOs and civil society in Hungary. By breaking many taboos before and after 1990 with its challenging new policies, especially in the cultural field, the HSF was strongly opposed by both the communist and nationalist protagonists of state-controlled culture. Its grantees and supporters saw its main mission as the preservation and nurturing of the spirit and values of ongoing cultural resistance.
Films from secret service surveillance, videos, 1960s-1980s
Films from secret service surveillance, videos, 1960s-1980s
It is estimated that the film archive of the Institute of National Remembrance in Poland consists of over 1500 archival units and includes videos made by civil and military departments of the State Security. The biggest part of the collection are the materials from different surveillance actions, including training materials for employees of state security. In the collection we can find: - videos from manifestations in March 1968 and December 1970 – materials from invigilation of dissidents: Jan Józef Lipski, Jacek Kuroń, Adam Michnik, Leszek Kołakowski and organisations such as Workers' Defence Committee or "Solidarity" - materials documenting foreigners in Poland - both diplomatic residents and representatives of foreign governments, official visits of Fidel Castro, Josip Broz Tito or Richard Nixon.
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.
The Edvard Kocbek Collection is located in the depot of the National and University Library in Ljubljana. It is actually his personal bequest to that same library. Kocbek was the greatest Slovenian poet and writer of the 20th century, who, as a Christian Socialist, joined the Slovene National Liberation Front under the control of the communists during the Second World War. Due to his divergent opinions about the war and the policies of the new communist regime, immediately after the war he was placed under the surveillance of the secret police (known as the UDBA). After that, he was very soon placed under a kind of public isolation, which implied limited movement and restricted access to intellectual life.
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.
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.
The collection of Milan Jelínek documents in detail the Communist thinking of a formerly protected linguist, and the later, a critic to the regime, becoming a samizdat publisher and co-organiser of lectures at the underground university.
Karl Laantee collection at the Estonian Cultural History ...
Karl Laantee collection at the Estonian Cultural History Archives
The Karl Laantee collection at the Estonian Cultural History Archive is part of the large archival legacy of Karl Laantee, an émigré Estonian religious activist, and announcer with the Voice of America radio station.
Petko Ogoyski - one of the few living artists who survived socialist prisons and labor camps, was an important figure in the Bulgarian cultural opposition against the communist regime. As a member of the Bulgarian Agrarian People’s Union-Nikola Petkov (BZNS-Nikola Petkov) and poet/writer, Ogoyski was imprisoned twice (1950-1953 and 1962-1963) by the socialist state for writing “hostile” poems, texts and aphorisms and for “conspiracy”.
The Tower-Museum was established as a private initiative of the family Petko and Yagoda Ogoyski. The exhibition is partly a national and local ethnographic one, including household appliances, costumes, and weapons from the 19th and 20th centuries. At the same time, this was a way to circumvent the censorship of the communist regime. Among the ethnographic materials, Petko Ogoyski kept and preserved evidence from the periods of his imprisonment in six prisons and two forced labour camps; as also notes, books and poems written by him during and after the discharge from prison. The materials of the Tower Museum have been collected by Petko Ogoyski since his first imprisonment in 1950.
The collection of Petko Ogoyski documents the repressions of the socialist state over dissidents and is a valuable source of the forms of asserting political principles and moral positions by intellectuals.
The Jan Patočka Archives (AJP) studies and interprets the philosophical heritage of the Czech philosopher and dissident Jan Patočka (1907-1977). AJP is led by Patočkaʼs pupils and is a unique institute working with Patočkaʼs original texts and also with the attendees of his lectures.
Mihajlov, Mihajlo. “Moscow Summer” (in English), 1965. Ma...
Mihajlov, Mihajlo. “Moscow Summer” (in English), 1965. Manuscript
The manuscript of Mihajlov's travels, “Moscow Summer,” written in English is in the box 28. The text was the fruit of Mihajlov's visit to the Soviet Union in the summer months of 1964. Mihajlov supported Nikita Khrushchev's reforms and the program of de-Stalinisation, and he criticized the changes in the Soviet leadership after Kruschev’s fall. This criticism alarmed those in charge of Yugoslavia’s foreign policy, since it could once more undermine Soviet-Yugoslav relations, which had normalized in the mid-1950s.
Referring to the publication of the first two essays of this book, Tito himself called out Mihajlov in February 1965 as a result of pressure from the Soviet ambassador due to his criticism of the new political course following the fall of Khrushchev in the autumn of 1964. Despite censorship of Mihajlov’s essays in Yugoslavia, American politicians and the public were interested in Mihajlov's case precisely because of his stance on the Soviet Union during the political upheavals in the upper echelons of the Soviet party in those years.
The beginnings of the Video Studio Gdansk are connected to the I National Congress of “Solidarity”, organised in Gdansk in 1981. At first, the independent “Solidarity” filmmakers documented the union’s most important events, however soon the first documentaries were produced. Video Studio Gdansk has been operating for almost 40 years, and its archive today consists of several thousands of video materials. It mostly comprises own videos, created by the Studio: raw footages (of the most important oppositional events, like strikes, clashes, protests), documentaries, reportages, few feature films, and numerous recordings of television theatre, public debates, cultural events, etc.
Józef and Dąbrówka Figiela's Stamps from the Gdansk Strik...
Józef and Dąbrówka Figiela's Stamps from the Gdansk Strikes of August 1980
The seals and stamps created by Józef Figiela are an interesting visual representation of the strikes in the Gdansk Shipyard of the August 1980. They are also a testimony of an incredible engagement and effort put in sharing the strike’s ideals by a person who used his artistic abilities for this purpose, as well as a talent and enthusiasm of his teenage daughter. Józef Figiela is both a sailor and an artist by profession, and he has alternately practiced both of them throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In August 1980 he had already been signed in for another cruise when the strike in the Gdansk Shipyard broke. His ship was stuck in the harbour and he used this opportunity to support the protesters. He became a member of the Inter-Factory Strike Committee as a delegate of the Association of the Polish Fine Artists of the Gdansk Region, and as a graphic artist he joined the fight for changes. On 20 August 1980 he created his first seal of the strike’s underground post. It shows a hand clenched into a fist (symbolising the fight), Gdansk’s coat of arms, and some nautical motifs (an anchor, sea waves), as well as a sign: “strike”. The original linocut is a part of the collection of Michał Guć, who is also in the possession of the authentic copies in the form of stamps on the envelopes.
The seals in the form of stamps were copied in the Polish national colours onto the envelopes and specially prepared postcards. During the strikes, Figiela prepared 4 linocuts, which as copies were disseminated among the strikers. Figiela’s seals stand out from other underground stamps with their precise execution and interesting graphic design. However, their content is quite typical for this type of philatelist: it refers to the Polish patriotic emblems, fight symbols, and the shipyard itself. There are also some religious (Catholic) motifs.
It is worth mentioning that with his activity Figiela inspired to action his daughter Dąbrówka, who as a just 15-year-old girl created her own seal, as well as she helped her father in creating copies. Every day Dąbrówka would cut out the postcards and glue on them the official state stamps, and in the evenings she would go to the post office, asking the workers to mark the papers with tomorrow’s date. Next, her father and her pressed their seals onto the envelopes, and the next day Figiela took them to the shipyard and shared them among the strikers. Thus, the materials have always had the current date.
The last seal Figiela created just before the end of the strike. It shows the Polish flag and a hand holding some flowers – it symbolised the peacefulness of the protests. The text says: “victory”.
Michał Guć estimates that altogether there were around 300-400 paper copies of Józef and Dąbrówka Figiela’s stamps disseminated in August 1980. It is a relatively small number which was caused by the fact that making copies was a very time-consuming activity and that only two people were involved in their production. Low number of existing stamps makes every original copy a valuable item.
Stocznia Gdańska im. Lenina, Michał Guć, Gdynia 2017 (unpublished text, shared by the author in July 2017).
This collection contains the files of the State Security Service of the GDR that are preserved and administered by the Federal Commissioner for Records of the State Security Service of the former GDR (BstU). The surveillance records of the secret police represent a singular body of sources that offer unique glimpses into the cultural opposition to the GDR. The destruction of large numbers of these documents could only be averted in 1989/90 owing to the spirited actions of “Civil Committees”.
Unknown author. Questionnaire, in Hungarian, 1987–1989. M...
Unknown author. Questionnaire, in Hungarian, 1987–1989. Manuscript
Judging from the level of difficulty of the twenty-two questions contained in it, the target group of the document identified as a questionnaire included the most sophisticated members of the Hungarian elite in Romania, who did not necessary work in the cultural sphere, but who had presumably been selected as a result of previous inquiries. The questionnaire, made up of three major sets of questions, first assesses the social status, qualification level, and general culture of the subject, then examines the subject’s sense of identity, and finally investigates, also out of a need for identifying a solution, the nature of the connections and relationships between Romanians and Hungarians, as well as experiences regarding coexistence.
I. The first set of questions focuses on the subject’s social status. It begins by examining the social background of the subject – family, origin – and then inquires about his/her age to further turn to a direct reference to the “small Hungarian world” in Northwestern Transylvania during the Second World War (Sárándi and Tóth-Bartos, 2015), which suggests that the questionnaire focuses primarily on mature individuals holding well-defined views on the Transylvanian issue. Questions four and five address the length and possibilities of past education in the mother tongue in the family of the subject, respectively, in his/her “range of vision.”
1. What kind of family do you come from?
2. What type of social environment do you come from? (rural, urban, peasant, worker, bourgeois, aristocrat, etc.)
3. How old are you? Were you alive between 1940 and 1944?
4. How long and what were you able to study in your mother tongue?
5. What about your family and /or “range of vision”?
II. The second set of questions – questions 6 to 14 – is directed at the subject’s sense of identity. The assessment of collective memory is followed by a nostalgic question, which, beside the inventory of violations of human rights experienced in the present, makes the subject draw a comparison with the rights undoubtedly held in the past. The question about general knowledge of Hungarian history is followed more emphatically by that about self-declared knowledge of post-1918 Transylvanian history and of the public figures related to it. Then the author of the questionnaire moves on to the mapping of reading habits and needs in the mother tongue, of cultural life and religion. The question referring to the level of Romanian language skills is still relevant. As the knowledge of language represents a prerequisite for social integration, this also means that as long as the coexisting nations are unable to eliminate language barriers, their cultures cannot get closer to each other, cannot coexist in harmony. Radio listening habits provide answers regarding the need for information of Hungarians in Transylvania, but also about their possible resignation and indifference. The inquiry about connections in Hungary presupposes the existence of a current network of contacts in the “mother country,” including relatives, friends, and acquaintances. The thirteenth question, about the new situation in Hungary – which offers a clue about the date of the document – presumably hints at the changes that took place during the official mandate of the moderate reformer Károly Grósz, appointed president of the Council of Ministers in June 1987. On May 1988, the reform wing of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (MSZMP) obtained the long-awaited goal of removing the old and ill János Kádár from the party leadership and elected Grósz as his successor upon a programme of transition to a market economy and political decentralisation. However, it cannot be excluded that allusion was made to symbolic events of 1989 relating to the commemoration of the Revolution of 1956, such as the reburial of Imre Nagy and his comrades, or the radio speech by the senior party official Imre Pozsgay about the re-evaluation of this tragic event in Hungary’s recent past (Romsics 2013). The last question in this section, referring to a “prominent Transylvanian personality” takes into consideration the greater political events and perhaps it looks ahead in allowing for an unpredictable political turn in Romania.
6. What can you recall, or how far back does your collective (family, workplace, etc.) memory extend?
7. Would you like to regain anything from the past? If yes, what?
8. Are you familiar with Hungarian history, and with the history of Transylvania in particular? (What do you know about the events following 1918? Are you familiar with the operation of the Hungarian National Party [Bárdi 2014, Horváth 2007, György 2003]? Are you familiar with figures such as Ct. Bethlen György [1888–1968, president of the Hungarian National Party representing the Hungarian minority in Romania in the interwar period (ACNSAS, I185019)], Jakabffy Elemér [1881–1963, Hungarian, later Romanian Hungarian politician, lawyer, publicist (Balázs 2012, Csapody 2012)], Makkai Sándor [1890–1951, Transylvanian Hungarian writer, pedagogue, Reformed bishop (Veress 2003)], Mailáth [Majláth] Gusztáv Károly [1864-1940, Transylvanian Roman Catholic bishop, member of the nobility, honorary archbishop (Marton and Jakabffy 1999)], Domokos Pál Péter [1901-1992, teacher, historian, ethnographer, one of the pioneers of research into the Csangos (Jánosi 2017, Domokos 1988)] etc.?
9. Do you own Hungarian books? Do you read in Hungarian? If yes, how much? How do you gain access to Hungarian books? Do you go to the theatre? Are you a church-goer? (Is the use of the Hungarian language or the fact that you are a believer behind church attendance?) 10. How well do you speak the Romanian language?
11. Which radio station do you listen to? That of Budapest or that of Bucharest? And which Radio Free Europe broadcast do you listen to: the Romanian or the Hungarian one?
12. Do you have contacts in Hungary?
13. What do you think of Hungary in this new situation?
14. Is there a prominent Transylvanian personality you know about and consider worth paying attention to?
III. The third set of questions – questions 15 to 22 – analyses the relationship between Romanians and Hungarians. Thus, beside inquiring about the nature of relationships maintained by the subject and his/her environment with his/her ethnic Romanian fellow citizens, these questions focus also on the ethnic characteristics of the coexisting population, whether the demographic balance in a given settlement, which was centuries ago favourable to the Hungarian community, has been subject to modifications by the communist regime by attracting inhabitants from other regions populated mostly by Romanians. Having future coexistence in view, question 17 is aimed at learning the “lacking needs” of the subject, so it inquires about the required minimum conditions in terms of human rights that allow him/her to live as a Hungarian there, in that given place. Amidst the measures aimed at the assimilation of the Hungarian minority in Transylvania, such as the continuous diminishing of educational opportunities in the Hungarian language, the closing down of Transylvanian Hungarian theatres, the potential destruction of villages, the phenomenon of emigration, which affected the Romanian citizens too, in the context in which the nationalism of Ceaușescu’s regime was become more and more radical, when politics-fuelled intolerance towards ethnic otherness was a daily presence, the question about individual views regarding the future of the minority community might have seemed surreal. Thoughts referring to the renewal of the indigenous minority were closer to utopia as the flagrant violation of human and minority rights provided no realistic grounds for this. The last two questions of the questionnaire – questions 21 and 22 – about positive experiences as a Hungarian living in Romania, positive experiences concerning the Romanian–Hungarian relationship – illustrate, even in their choice of words – “have you ever,” “accompany or would accompany” – the perspicacity with which the author of the questionnaire acknowledges the situation of the Transylvanian Hungarian minority of the period preceding the change of regime.
15. What is the nature of your (your personal and your community) relationship with Romanians?
16. Are you surrounded mostly by Romanians or by Hungarians in your living environment? If you live predominantly surrounded by Romanians, when was this situation installed? Is it a result of incoming settlement or is it the indigenous population?
17. What is it that you lack most in living there as a Hungarian?
18. What is your opinion about your own future, the future of your family, and that of Transylvanian Hungarians?
19. Do you see any possibilities of renewal?
20. If you are a church-goer, what do you know and what can you witness from the Greek Catholic movement?
21. Have you ever had any positive experiences as a Hungarian? If yes: when and what kind of experience was it?
22. List the positive experiences that accompany or would accompany the relationship between Romanians and Hungarians?
There is no doubt that Gyimesi is the author of this document. In numerous places her works include analyses of the given situation and sense of identity of the Hungarian minority in Transylvania (Gyimesi 1993). Most probably the document escaped the attention of secret police officers conducting the home search on 20 June 1989 due to the absence of title and date. The physical existence of a questionnaire examining minority life in the darkest days of Romanian Communist dictatorship is startling in itself. Research conducted in the form of questionnaires presupposes the subject’s right to free opinion and is interpreted as an accessory of democratic systems. However, the existence of the document does not mean that the intended survey was actually conducted. For Gyimesi, who was the subject of informative surveillance, in a world abounding in collaborators with the secret police, this questionnaire must have meant a handhold which should have helped her in identifying persons with similar views on whom she could have counted in the struggle against the violation of human and minority rights. This may have served as a basis – as a possible interpretation – for her efforts to recruit reliable colleagues for the editing and distribution of the Cluj-based samizdat paper known as Kiáltó Szó, which she conceived in the fall of 1988 together with Sándor Balázs, a philosopher and university professor. Out of the nine edited issues of the samizdat – which was little known even by the Securitate – only two were published, though this had nothing to do with the editors: the publishing of further issues was rendered unnecessary under the circumstances following the fall of the Ceaușescu-dictatorship.
Revolution of 1989 in Timișoara - Private Photograph Coll...
Revolution of 1989 in Timișoara - Private Photograph Collection
The Lucian Ionică private collection is one of the few collections of snapshots taken during the tensest and most feverish days of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989 in the city of Timişoara, the place where the popular revolt against the communist dictatorship first broke out. The photographic documents in this collection preserve the memory both of the dramatic moments before the change of regime and of the days immediately after the fall of Nicolae Ceauşescu, when sudden freedom of expression produced moments no less significant for the recent history of Romania.
Photos of Golden Wedding of H. Gordon Skilling and his wi...
Photos of Golden Wedding of H. Gordon Skilling and his wife in Prague, 1987.
Skilling’s Golden Wedding anniversary, was at the Old Town Hall in April 1987. The journey Gordon Skilling made to Prague in April 1987, marked the celebration of Skilling's 75th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his marriage to Sally. The wedding ceremony was arranged by his dissident friends in the Old Town Hall, which was also the same ceremonial hall where they were married in 1937 (their wedding in October 1937 took place during G. Skilling’s first time in Czechoslovakia, where he studied the History of Central Europe as a student of London University). The anniversary celebration was a delicate irony in which the guests were fond of - a tribute to the "enemy of the state" because the Communists had released a number of dissidents which they had not known about. The next day in the Prague Evening, the news appeared, with a somewhat funny title, "Wedding Overseas". Jiřina Šiklová gained a great credit for this, because she paid the newspaper editors with the make-up from Tuzex at that time.
Gordon Skilling himself remembers this after years in an interview with Lidove Noviny in June 1993: "It was an interesting ceremony because perhaps all Czech dissidents - Havel, Pithart, Dienstbier and others - were present. It was strange that, in this honest ceremony, the chairman of the National Committee for Prague 1 spoke about what I did for Czech history. But he did not know that I also wrote a book about the Prague Spring, a book on Charter 77 and other things. He did not know it, and so he was very glad. Absurd situation. But the dissidents liked it. They were smiling internally. And then we had a gala dinner at the Municipal House. I like to recall the event."
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 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.
This private collection consists of around 150 leaflets produced by Yugoslav Cominformist emigrants in Prague during the period 1971–76. It is owned by the historian Ondřej Vojtěchovský and it is located in his apartment in Prague. The significance of this collection lies in its analysis and criticism of the Yugoslav socialist regime from the radical leftist point of view by emigrants in an Eastern Bloc country.
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.
Clandestine film from Jerzy Popiełuszko's funeral, video,...
Clandestine film from Jerzy Popiełuszko's funeral, video, 1984
In 2009 Zbigniew Grzegorzewski donated to the Institute of National Remembrance a 30-minute video recording from reverend Jerzy Popiełuszko's funeral in November 1984 in Warsaw. The author of the film remains unknown, but the footage shows social mobilization around the murdered priest and the climate in Warsaw just after the end of Martial Law.
KwieKulik is the name of an artistic duo formed by Zofia Kulik and Przemysław Kwiek. For twenty years they created performance, conceptual and process art, with politically engaged and critical undertones.Simultaneously, since the late 1960s, they regularly documented the artistic life of Poland, focusing on ephemeral phenomena. Currently the KwieKulik Archive is an enormous set of visual and film materials, publications, and works of art. By Zofia Kulik’s effort it was converted into an archive-piece, a collection which itself became a work of art.
The collection consists of documents pertaining to Hristo Damyanov Ognyanov, a leading figure of the Bulgarian democratic opposition in exile. The collection is located at the Central State Archive in Sofia. Hristo Ognyanov (born 1911, died 1997) was a writer and journalist. He was part of different Bulgarian exile communities, in Austria, the USA, and West Germany. He worked for Bulgarian émigré publications and contributed to The Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. In Germany, Ognyanov (often published under Christo Ognjanoff) became a member of EXIL-PEN. He was co-founder of the Petar Beron Bulgarian Academic Society (BAS “Petar Beron”), which sought to unite Bulgarian exile intellectuals. This collection is an important source of information about the Bulgarian cultural opposition in exile, their international connections and network, and their contacts with opposition groups in Bulgaria.
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.
The collection was established in the period from 2010 to 2016. It includes personal memories and materials of members of the Turkish minority of Bulgaria, who today live in different countries, most of them in Turkey. The collection sheds light on the life of ethnic Turks in Bulgaria and their responses to the contradictory politics, in long periods - discriminatory and assimilatory, of the socialist state.
The Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Offences against the Polish Nation (IPN) was created under parliament act of 1998 and is a state body authorised to carry out research, educational, archival, investigative, and vetting activities. The head office is located in Warsaw and there are 11 branch offices in larger cities, as well as 7 delegations. The historical scope of Institute’s activities is very ample, as its operations concern the period from 1944 to 1989. Its tasks include collecting and managing national security services’ documents created between 22 July 1944 and 31 July 1990, as well as investigating Nazi and communist crimes - against Polish nationals or Polish citizens of other nationalities - committed between 8 November 1917 and 31 July 1990. Other important activities include scientific research and public education. Institute of National Remembrance collaborates closely with State Archives, veteran organisations, historical associations and foreign agendas involved in research and commemoration of the recent history, in particular history of Central-Eastern Europe.
Founding statement of the Committee for the Defense of th...
Founding statement of the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted (VONS), 1978.
The founding statement of the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Prosecuted (VONS) of April 27th, 1978, signed by seventeen signatories on the Charter 77, who posted their addresses so that people could find them. VONS's goal was to track the cases of people who had been prosecuted or imprisoned for their opinions and beliefs or who had become victims of police and judicial arbitrariness. VONS, by means of numbered communications, familiarised the domestic and international public with these cases and asked the Czechoslovak authorities for remedy. They helped to provide legal representation and mediate financial assistance to the unjustly persecuted and imprisoned.
The impulse for the creation of VONS was, among other things, the events associated with the Railroad Ball in January 1978, in which the signatories of the Charter 77 wanted to attend to. However, three of them were detained by the state security. In support of them, the Defence Committee was formed by Václav Havel, Pavel Landovský and Jaroslav Kukal, who gathered documents for their defence and informed the Czech and foreign public about the whole case. The accusations were released after six weeks and the prosecution was halted. This was a great success for committee members and other dissidents, so VONS was founded in May 1978.
Report by Constantin Cesianu for the General Assembly of ...
Report by Constantin Cesianu for the General Assembly of Carol I Royal University Foundation, in Romanian, Paris, 1971
This document reflects the manner of organisation and activity of the Romanian postwar exile community, as well as a series of major problems that it encountered: the lack of material means and of the unity of Romanians. The Romanian exile community, although a form of opposition of Romanians from several historical periods, reached a significant dimension during the communist regime. The postwar Romanian exile community manifested itself over an expanded geographical area, spread across several continents: Europe, North America, South America, Australia, and Africa. There were, however, a number of states where the Romanian exile community was particularly active: France, the USA, the UK, West Germany, Spain, and Canada. Determined by the domestic political context and influenced by shifts on the international political scene, the Romanian exile after the Second World War must be understood as a reaction to the establishment and domination of the communist regime in Romania and as a form of opposition to it. Romanians abroad tried to organise themselves by setting up foundations, associations, institutions, institutes, and publications with the purpose of: representing the Romanian nation and defending its interests until its liberation; carrying out actions that would lead to the restoration of the democratic system in Romania; coordinating the activity of Romanians outside the country for the fulfilment of this common cause; establishing links with Western governments and international organisations; representing the exile community and solving its problems; and collaborating in joint activities with representatives of the other "captive nations" in Central and Eastern Europe.
The report in question, which amounts to five pages, presents the situation of one of the most important cultural organisations of the exile community, the Carol I Royal University Foundation. A university level institution, the Carol I Royal University Foundation (1950–1974) was initially founded in Paris on 3 May 1881 by King Carol I, but was abolished by the communist regime in Bucharest. Later, on December 8, 1950, out of a desire to continue the old royal family tradition, it was re-established by King Michael I in exile, with the support of the Romanian National Committee, which was in the view of the founders the government of Romanians in exile. The Foundation began to function effectively on 1 January 1951. The purpose of the Foundation was: to present the values of Romanian culture to the West; to affirm and develop the traditional ties between French and Romanian cultures; to establish and maintain relations with cultural and educational institutions and with the French administrative authorities; to ensure a Romanian presence in international cultural forums and events; to safeguard the national cultural heritage; to study the cultural and technical problems that Romania would face after liberation from the communist regime; to support and guide Romanian students in exile; to encourage scholarly research; to build up a library at the headquarters of the Foundation, transforming it into the House of Romanian Culture abroad. Every year, the Foundation's leaders drew up an activity report. Such a document can be found in the collection of Sanda Stolojan, who was involved in the Foundation's activities and published poetry and prose in its two literary publications: Ființa Românească (Romanian being) and Revue des Etudes Roumaines. A copy of this document is in Sanda Stolojan's private archive due to the fact that she was a close friend of the person who wrote the material, Constantin Cesianu, and was directly involved in the Foundation's actions. Regarding the personality of Constantin Cesianu (1886–1983), he was a political detainee in communist Romania between 1956 and 1963. A few years after his release, he emigrated to France, where he published the book Salvat din infern (Saved from the inferno), in which he reported his experience as a political prisoner in communist Romania. The volume originally appeared in French. It was translated into Romanian and published in Romania in 1992, and is an indispensable part of any specialised bibliography on the subject. In Paris, he actively participated in the activities of Romanians in exile for the promotion of Western media coverage of the repressive and aberrant policies of the communist regime in Romania.
The report that Constantin Cesianu wrote in 1971 draws attention to the situation of the Foundation in that year, when its annual activity balance was not a positive one. The explanation was the lack of the material means to achieve its goals. In fact, all organisations of the exile community were confronted with this problem. On a different line of thought, beyond the Foundation's poor financial situation, the report presented some of the activities the Foundation carried out in 1971: cultural conferences and the celebration of Romania's historic days (1 December – Great Union Day, 24 January – Little Union Day, 10 May – Independence Day). Furthermore, the paper presented the situation of the Foundation’s library and the profile of the researchers who had come there for documentation. Finally, the unity of Romanians abroad was called for – the supreme desideratum of all the organisations of the exile community, though it never materialised between 1948 and 1989.
Skilling H. Gordon Collection of the Czechoslovak Documen...
Skilling H. Gordon Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
Skilling H. Gordon (1912-2001) was a prominent Canadian historian, political scientist and Slavist. His life and work were closely linked to the dramatic fate of Czechoslovakia from the late 1930s to the 1989 Velvet Revolution.
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.
Collection of Historical Interviews at the National Széch...
Collection of Historical Interviews at the National Széchényi Library
The Collection of Historical Interviews is one of the most significant oral history collections in Hungary. It is a mixed collection of life story interviews that were done with the intention of creating materials for oral history narratives, and a lot of the archived interviews were conducted during the production of historical documentaries beginning in the 1960s. The latter usually cover one aspect or chapter in a person’s life. The materials constitute a particularly useful source for the study of the history of Hungarian television. However, the scope of the collection is such that it contains a lot of references to figures of the cultural opposition. The history of the collection itself represents a narrative of nonconformist cultural practices.
The legal situation and the clandestine activities of the...
The legal situation and the clandestine activities of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious group, in Romanian, 1982. Report
The report on “the legal situation and the clandestine activities of the religious group entitled Jehovah’s Witnesses” was drafted by the First Directorate of the Securitate (in charge of gathering information within the country). This report synthesised the evolution of the religious community of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Romania, their legal status during the past and at the time of its issuance, and the policies of the Securitate regarding this religious denomination.
The collection consists of material about violations of the rights of national minorities and deportees, and people persecuted for anti-Soviet activities, as well as documents about samizdat publications and the persecution of believers.
Environmental protests in Omiš in 1979, ad hoc collection
Environmental protests in Omiš in 1979, ad hoc collection
The ad hoc collection contains archival documents and newspaper articles from the period 1979-1984, which testify to local organising and protests by several thousand citizens of Omiš against the construction of a sintered magnesia factory in that area, to prevent pollution and maintain the local tourism potential. The collection combines documents from two archival collections which are held in the Croatian State Archives in Zagreb: the records of the Parliament of the Socialist Republic of Croatia and press clippings from the newspaper publishing house Vjesnik.
The Bogdan Radica Collection is a personal archival fund which Radica founded in the late 1940s. His daughter Bosiljka Raditsa and Professor Ivo Banac delivered the entire collection to the Croatian State Archives (CSA) on three occasions in 1996, 2001 and 2006. It contains vital records related to the history of Croatian political emigration and constitutes an integral part of the cultural opposition to the Yugoslav communist regime.
The Ellenpontok Ad-hoc Collection stored in the CNSAS Archives comprises, besides the records of the Securitate, the written evidences of the system-criticising activity of the samizdat editors and their struggle against the violation of human rights and ethnic discrimination. In addition to the life courses of Transylvanian Hungarian intellectuals monitored during the 1970s and 1980s, the collection offers insight into the working methods applied by the secret police in compliance with the policies of the Party, which envisaged the surveillance of individuals in opposition even after their emigration.
Portraits of Artists in Mistrzejowice Church, photo series.
Portraits of Artists in Mistrzejowice Church, photo series.
Zbigniew Galicki not only took photographs of the Holy Masses taking place every Thursday in Maximilian Kolbe Church in Kraków-Mistrzejowice, but also documented the performances of artists in the church. During and after the martial law, song-writers (Antonina Krzysztoń, various singers from Cracovian Piwnica pod Baranami, Pod Budą band), film directors (such as Andrzej Wajda), and theatre artists (the Theatre of the Eighth Day), visited the church and motivated the audience in their resilience and opposition towards the communist state.
The Matica hrvatska Collection is an excellent historical source for Croatia's cultural and political history. It is an archival collection created by the work of Matica hrvatska, a non-profit and non-governmental cultural organisation which became the central Croatian cultural institution in the Croatian national reform movement – the Croatian Spring. Matica gathered the Croatian intelligentsia that was dissatisfied with the status of Croatia within the Yugoslav federation. That is why the communist government began to treat Matica as an oppositional institution, a driver of oppositional political ideas and a rival to the League of Communists.
János Dobri Collection of the Reformed Congregation of Cl...
János Dobri Collection of the Reformed Congregation of Cluj–Dâmbul Rotund
The János Dobri Collection of the Reformed Congregation of Cluj–Dâmbul Rotund contains materials covering the confessional life and activity of the eponymous pastor, which alongside proofs of his individual stand and sacrifice, in the course of the official and private correspondence with the Romanian authorities and private individuals, and beyond the struggle for survival of the Reformed church, also provides an insight into the details of the fight for minority and human rights in the twentieth century.
Letter from Victor Frunză to Eugen Ionescu in Paris, in R...
Letter from Victor Frunză to Eugen Ionescu in Paris, in Romanian, 8 September 1978
This letter is an important document for the history of the post-war Romanian exile community because it is a proof of the attempt of a Romanian dissident to establish a connection with the emigration. The purpose was to gain the support of Romanians abroad. If their situation was publicised in the West, then there were chances that once returned to their country they would not suffer the reprisals of the communist regime. Also, such actions were meant to trigger the support of international public opinion in criticising Nicolae Ceausescu's dictatorship. One such example was the action of the Romanian writer and journalist Victor Frunză during a tour in France in 1978. In Paris, he wrote a letter to Eugène Ionesco (Eugen Ionescu), a French-language writer originally from Romania, a representative of the theatre of the absurd and a member of the French Academy. In this document, sent on 8 September 1978, Victor Frunză informed Eugène Ionesco that, in France, he criticised openly the situation in communist Romania, especially the personal power and personality cult of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Starting from the idea that he was not the first Romanian and hopefully not the last to do so, Frunză told Ionesco that his approach was deliberately chosen, in full awareness of the possible consequences for him: "When I did this, I knew what I could expect, but I have defeated my fear (...). The sense of the justice of my criticisms gives me the strength to resist. There is no fear of the reprisals that will come anyway, but in the face of the fears of others who can in my mind support me, and in fact will leave me. Immense is the fear of staying alone, as in a desert." In conclusion, Victor Frunză asked Eugène Ionesco to publicly support his action of criticising the dictatorship and personality cult of Nicolae Ceaușescu.
The collection includes various pieces of documentation about the ‘Phosphorite War’ that took place in Estonia in 1987, and material about the Estonian television programme ‘Panda’ in the second half of the 1980s. The collector of the material is Juhan Aare, the journalist and politician who unleashed the Phosphorite War. The most valuable part of the collection is made up of the letters written by people in Estonia and sent to Juhan Aare or to Estonian Television. These letters refer to the environmental situation and the national question in Estonia.
The collection of Pavel Kohout is an extraordinary set of materials documenting a transformation of the author's personality from a prominent literary into a representative of the cultural opposition engaging in the Charter 77 and then being in exile.
This featured item shows the typical content of C.A.D.D.Y. bulletin issues. As can be seen on page 2 of C.A.D.D.Y. Bulletin no. 8 (1981), they contain short texts (only one paragraph long) written in a concise manner. The text typically discussed news about various judicial sentences given to Yugoslav dissidents of diverse social strata (priests, workers, a poet, a college dean). The most interesting is the text “Two Years for Poetry” about the famous case of the poet Gojko Đogo, which helped lead to the formation of the intellectual opposition in Belgrade first driven to defend artistic freedom: “It must be noted that the intellectual community in Belgrade reacted with open and public protests against this trial of poetry” (C.A.D.D.Y. Bulletin, 8: 2).
Gojko Đogo was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for publishing a collection of poems entitled Vunena vremena [Woollen Times] in which he “metaphorically alluded to Tito’s rule as one of tyranny, indolence and ignorance” (Dragović-Soso 2002, 54). It was the first time that “poetry was being tried” and thus support for Đogo was considered to be a principled defence of the freedom of literary and artistic creation and brought together intellectuals from across the political spectrum (nationalists, the “New Left”, and liberals).
The Đogo case was significant in that it led to the first institutional base of intellectual activism since the crackdowns of the early 1970s. This is reflected in the formation of the Committee for the Protection of Artistic Freedom at the Association of Serbian Writers in May 1982.
In the first two years of its work, the Committee raised its voice against Đogo’s persecution and imprisonment, the ban of the book Slučaj Đogo – dokumenti [The Case of Đogo - Documents] by Dragan Antić, the ban of the play Golubnjača in Novi Sad, the broadcast Beograde, dobro jutro [Belgrade, Good Morning] by Dušan Radović, the ban of Ljubomir Simović’s collection of poems Istočnice, the sentencing to seven months’ imprisonment of the Dubrovnik poet Milan Milišić, the closure of the Zapis publishing house, the ban on the regular publication of the newspaper Književne novine, the ban of Nebojša Popov’s book Društveni sukobi – izazov sociologiji [Social Conflicts: A Challenge to Sociology], the illegal detention of the writer Borislav Pekić in Belgrade, the ban of Aleksandar Popović’s play Mrešćenje šarana [The Spawn of the Carp] in Pirot, and the ban of Živojin Pavlović’s book Ispljuvak pun krvi [Spit Full of Blood], among others (Kljakić 2015).
Raţiu–Tilea Archives of the Romanian Exile Collection at ...
Raţiu–Tilea Archives of the Romanian Exile Collection at BCU Cluj–Napoca
The collection comprising the documents collected by Ion Raţiu and Viorel V. Tilea gives detailed insights into the activities of its two creators, who were key political and cultural personalities of the Romanian diaspora. It represents one of the most valuable sources of documentation for the history of the Romanian exile community in the West during the Cold War period.
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.
The Ion Dumitru Collection is the richest and most diverse of all the private archives of the Romanian exile community, which makes it indispensable for the study of the history of postwar Romanian exile. The collection is also a fundamental source for documenting and understanding Romania's (domestic and foreign) political, cultural, economic, and social evolution during both the communist and post-communist periods. At the same time, this private archive is a historical source both for understanding how the Bucharest authorities acted to divide the Romanians abroad and to counteract their actions aimed at unmasking the wrondoings of the communist regime between 1948 and 1989 in the West and for how Romanians within the country perceived the emigrant community.
The documents of Cultural Forum and Counter-Forum Budapes...
The documents of Cultural Forum and Counter-Forum Budapest 1985
The documents of the Cultural Forum and Counter-Forum of Budapest in late 1985 reflected on the major changes which had just begun at the time in East-West relations, politics, and diplomacy, together with the challenging concept of cultural freedom as a basic part of human rights. For the official Forum, some 850 participants were accredited to Budapest, thus the city was home for six weeks to a legion of diplomats and experts. However, instead of the protocol-like program of the official Forum, the real novelty which caught the attention of the world, the samizdat press, the Western public, and dissidents from the East (not to mention the Hungarian secret police, who were busier than ever) was an open dispute among writers and intellectuals from both East and West that was held at a poet’s flat and then at a film director’s apartment, and which lasted three days. The rich and versatile sub-collection contains many exciting documents which are of potential interest both to Hungarian and international visitors.
The Augustin Juretić Collection in the Pontifical Croatian College of St. Jerome in Rome consists of written (manuscripts and printed matter) legacy collected by Croatian Catholic intellectual Msgr. Juretić during his life as an émigré from 1942 until his death in 1954. The collection attests to Msgr. Juretić’s cultural-opposition activities against the Ustasha regime and communist ideology until 1945, and against the communist government until his death. Msgr. Juretić, in his cultural-opposition activities, advocated the liberation of Croatia from the totalitarian systems of the Ustasha and communist regimes, and ultimately for the creation of an independent Croatian state based on the Christian tradition and democratic principles.
Testimony of Andrej Aplenc about imprisonment on the isla...
Testimony of Andrej Aplenc about imprisonment on the island of Goli, August 27, 2014.
Andrej Aplenc’s testimony of captivity on the island of Goli was held in front of a young audience in Ljubljana on August 27, 2014. Aplenc was detained twice on Goli. The first time, he went to Goli otok in 1949 for a year, and the second time was in 1952 for two years. The reason for his first imprisonment was his criticism of the lack of freedom of speech in Yugoslavia, as he advocated greater freedom of expression for young people. The second time he was imprisoned for refusing to cooperate with the state security service, which tried to recruit him as an informer.
The event was organized by the Study Centre for National Reconciliation and is listed in their Archive of Testimonies as one of the testimonies about the post-war rigidity of the communist system that also impacted young people, resulting in disillusionment with this system and Aplenc's emigration. The testimony is publicly available by prior arrangement but has not yet been used.
Lovinescu–Ierunca Collection at Oradea University Library
Lovinescu–Ierunca Collection at Oradea University Library
The collection is illustrative for the documentation work that lay behind the broadcasting activities of two prominent members of the Romanian exile community in Paris who worked with Radio Free Europe (RFE), Monica Lovinescu and Virgil Ierunca. Their programmes focused mainly on presenting the cases of dissidents in the then Soviet Bloc. The need to understand the dissidence phenomenon and the main ideas behind its criticism of the communist regimes required diverse readings from different subject areas. Thus, the Monica Lovinescu and Virgil Ierunca Collection in Oradea testifies to the interest of its creators in subjects relating more or less to cultural opposition in the fields of literature, philosophy, sociology, history, art, and religion.
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 Basic Declaration of Charter 77 of 1st January 1977 on the Causes of the Origin, Purpose and Targets of Charter 77, which on the Holiday of the Three Kings on January 6th, 1977, the playwright Václav Havel, the actor Pavel Landovský and the writer Ludvík Vaculík were issued to the Office of the Federal Assembly, Czechoslovakia and the Czechoslovak Press Office. On the way to Prague's Dejvice, their chase was ended, and the StB members caught up with them and they were then, detained by state security. The three were released later in the evening, apparently in response to the news which travelled abroad. The published Declaration of Charter 77 had given rise to a number of restrictive measures by the Czechoslovak regime. Its signatories were subjected to a constant persecution of the regime through police surveillance, house searches, job cuts, seizure of passports, detention, physical violence, imprisonment or expulsion from the country.
Alenka Puhar Collection on the Human Rights Movement
Alenka Puhar Collection on the Human Rights Movement
The Alenka Puhar Collection on the Human Rights Movement in Slovenia/Yugoslavia was mostly created in the 1980s and testifies to the struggle of Slovenian and Yugoslav activists to promote and protect human rights in Yugoslavia. Alenka Puhar was one of the key people in the 1983 campaign to abolish the death penalty in Yugoslavia, and in the organization of mass protests in Ljubljana in 1988 and in the Slovenian spring in the late 1980s. The collection documents the struggle and connections between Slovenian activists and other Yugoslav activists and dissidents who had the common goal of promoting and protecting human rights in Yugoslavia and ultimately the collapse of the communist regime.
The collection of the Szabédi Memorial House encompasses the literary heritage of various Hungarian Transylvanian writers and intellectuals after 1918. The end of World War I and the subsequent treaty of Trianon in 1920 put an end to the free development of the Transylvanian literary tradition, until then part of the wider national Hungarian literature. Under Romanian rule, the previously mainstream literary activities became suppressed, and the preservation of the literary heritages was considered a subversive activity.
The Mojmír Vaněk collection is a unique collection of materials that relate to the life and activities of Mojmír Vaněk. 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 Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, the Swiss branch of which he presided over for many years. The collection is at the Comenius Museum in Přerov.
The Bulletin of the Democracy International Committee to ...
The Bulletin of the Democracy International Committee to Aid Democratic Dissidents in Yugoslavia, 1985
The Committee to Aid Democratic Dissidents in Yugoslavia was the organization which Mihajlo Mihajlov founded in May 1980, in New York. The vice-presidents at the time were Franjo Tuđman and Milovan Đilas. The Committee bulletin was printed monthly, and covered issues on Yugoslavia, the repression by the regime, arrests and trials of its political opponents. It dealt with the status of human rights in Yugoslavia during 1980s. This bulletin is kept at the redaction of the Democracy International.
The Scriptum.cz web archive provides access to various non-commercial and online Czech exile and samizdat periodicals. This is a unique collection of works that are often not accessible anywhere and are constantly being refilled.
This collection of the historian, teacher and politician Milan Hübl consists of a unique collection of archive materials, which includes the correspondence and documentation of the Political University of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and a large collection of ego documents, samizdat volumes and materials related to Charter 77, the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Prosecuted (VONS).
Gane, Ștefan. Protest against the demolition of historic ...
Gane, Ștefan. Protest against the demolition of historic monuments in Romania, Paris, 1985. Photo
This photo reflects the way in which the Romanian exile organised itself and acted to present in the West the urban systematisation project of the Ceaușescu regime, which involved the demolition, mutilation, or destruction of the national heritage. The photo captures the moment when the International Association for the Protection of Monuments and Historic Sites in Romania was set up in Paris in 1985. On that occasion, the Association organised a protest on the streets of Paris, during which it displayed a series of placards with texts about Communist Romania, accompanied by photographs of historic monuments destroyed by the Communists or about to be demolished or moved. These details are captured in the photograph in question, which can be found in the Ștefan Gane collection in the original, 10x15 cm, printed on colour paper. The purpose of the Association was to draw the attention of political decision-makers and international public opinion to the project of the communist regime in Romania for the demolition of the architectural and urban heritage. The actions undertaken by the Association focused in particular on drawing media attention to the demolition of the city centre of Bucharest, which was planned by the authorities of the totalitarian regime so that they could reconstruct it according to the communist architectural vision.
Protest letters against construction of Pļaviņas HES in 1958
Protest letters against construction of Pļaviņas HES in 1958
In 1958, a group of 55 Latvian scientists and cultural figures signed a petition against the Pļaviņas Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) project, because it envisaged the flooding of part of the Daugava valley, one of the most beautiful areas in Latvia, which was rich in archaeological and historic monuments. It also had a symbolic value as part of the Latvian nation-building narrative. Due to the efforts of the Soviet authorities to suppress the protest, very few documents are available, some of which are in the Museum of the River Daugava.
The C.A.D.D.Y. Bulletin collection is made up of bulletins issued by the New York-based Democracy International’s Committee to Aid Democratic Dissidents in Yugoslavia (C.A.D.D.Y.) from 1980 to 1992. The bulletin focused on human rights violations. These bulletins illustrate the various ways intellectuals and cultural workers in opposition to the Yugoslav communist regime were persecuted. The C.A.D.D.Y. Bulletin collection is now owned by the historian Srđan Cvetković and is currently stored in his office at the Institute for Contemporary History in Belgrade.
The bequest of Rusko Matulić, an American engineer and writer of Yugoslav origin, is held in the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. The collection largely encompasses Matulić's activities as a political émigré in the United States of America, when he mainly dealt with the publication of the bi-monthly bulletin of the Committee Aid to Democratic Dissidents in Yugoslavia(CADDY). The bulletin and organization acted as a part of the Democratic International, established in New York in 1979. Mihajlo Mihajlov, one of the most prominent Yugoslav dissidents, was a member and the main initiator of launching the CADDY organization and its bulletin. Rusko Matulić was Mihajlov's main collaborator in the overall CADDY project.
The Pavao Tijan Collection is deposited in the Archives of the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts in Zagreb. It demonstrates the cultural-oppositional activities of the Croatian émigré Pavao Tijan, who lived in Madrid after the Second World War. There, Tijan organized anti-communist activities against the Yugoslav regime and also against global communism during the time of the Cold War. This collection is very important to the little known Croatian cultural history of the émigré colony of Spain.
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.
The documents of SZETA - Hungarian dissidents' Fund for A...
The documents of SZETA - Hungarian dissidents' Fund for Aiding the Poor
The Fund for Aiding the Poor (SZETA) was a unique endeavor of the Hungarian democratic opposition involving counter-cultural initiatives in the fields of art and literature and a heightened social awareness for those in need. The original documents of SZETA have survived to our day only in part, and are scattered across private collections. Therefore an almost complete documentary collection of SZETA could be composed only virtually as of yet, with items from the relevant holdings of the Blinken-OSA Open Society Archives, Budapest, the secret police files of the Historical Archives of the State Security Services (ÁBTL), Budapest, and Gabriella Lengyel's online collection, together with some private papers of Gábor Havas, Bálint Nagy, Ferenc Kőszeg, Gyula Kozák, Zsuzsa Hermann, and others.
Letter from Virgil Ierunca to Sanda Budiș, in Romanian, 2...
Letter from Virgil Ierunca to Sanda Budiș, in Romanian, 25 February 1985
This letter is an important document for the history of the post-war Romanian exile community because it is proof of the activity of fighting communist propaganda outside the country, as well as of the integration of Romanian culture into Western culture. Such activity was also carried out by Sanda Budiș, an exile community personality, who emigrated to Switzerland in 1973. One of her actions, alongside another representative of the Romanian exile community in Switzerland, the lawyer Dumitru Stambuliu, consisted in supplying the Swiss Library for Eastern Europe in Bern with publications of the Romanian exile community. The starting point of Sanda Budiș’s project was a book donation from Romania, which the Romanian ambassador to Switzerland made to the Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne in 1984. This donation took place during a festivity advertised in the local press. In response, Sanda Budiș took the initiative to donate publications of the Romanian exile community from her personal library to this library, but her donation was denied "for political reasons." Consequently, she addressed the leadership of another institution – the Swiss Library for Eastern Europe in Bern – which served at the time as a documentary fonds for the Swiss Eastern Institute (Institut suisse de recherche sur les pays de l'Est–ISE/Schweizerische Ostinstitut–SOI), an institute that carried out research on communist countries. At the Institute, both the management and the members were Swiss personalities with authority in their field of expertise. The management of this library accepted her donation “with great satisfaction, especially as it is literally flooded by propaganda publications sent free and regularly by the various propaganda officers of the Ceaușescu regime.” In order to counteract the propaganda of the Romanian communist authorities, Sanda Budiș continued her efforts by sending letters to the management of important and representative publications of the Romanian exile community. Among the recipients of such letters was Virgil Ierunca, who accepted her invitation and sent to the library not only newspapers and magazines of the exile community, but also books published by Romanians abroad. Ierunca also responded to Sanda Budiș in a letter in which he congratulated and thanked her for the action she had initiated. The original handwritten letter is to be found today in the Sanda Budiş Collection at IICCMER.
István Bibó (1911–1979) was a Hungarian political scientist, sociologist, and scholar on the philosophy of law. During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Bibó acted as the Minister of State for Imre Nagy’s second government. When the Soviets invaded and crushed the revolution, he was the last minister left at his post in the Hungarian parliament building. Rather than flee, he remained in the building and wrote his famous proclamation, “For Freedom and Truth,” until he awaited arrest. Bibó became a role model for dissident intellectuals in the late communist era and a symbol of non-violent civilian resistance based on a firm moral stand. Since Bibó’s death in 1979, the family collection of his bequest, which includes personal documents, photos, manuscripts, books, and video and sound recordings, has been in the care of art historian and educator István Bibó Jr., who keeps the materials in his home in Budapest.
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.
FAZ Article about Letter from Victor Frunză to Nicolae Ce...
FAZ Article about Letter from Victor Frunză to Nicolae Ceaușescu, in German, August 1978
This letter is an important document for the history of dissidence in Romania, being a proof of the open opposition of a Romanian living in the country to the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu. In this case the writer was Victor Frunză, a Romanian writer and journalist, who in 1978 went as tourist to Paris. On this occasion, he contacted a representative of the Reuters Agency, to whom he handed a letter addressed to Nicolae Ceaușescu. He wrote the text of the letter in Romania and memorised its content in order not to carry it and be discovered at customs control. So he rewrote it from memory after he arrived in France. The material in question was published by Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung and broadcast by Radio Free Europe. Also, a copy of the letter was sent by Victor Frunză, by post, to Nicolae Ceaușescu. Essentially, his letter was a criticism of Ceausescu's dictatorship: "I want to manifest deep disagreement with the revival of the cult of personality, today is an improved version, decorated with the national flag." Frunză's conclusion was that "the type of socialist democracy in Romania is nothing more than a parody of discussions through speeches, even if these are not written by those who speak them." The document is in the IICCMER archive and is an original copy of the German letter published in 1978 in Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung. The letter was subsequently published by Victor Frunză in Romanian, at the publishing house he founded after the emigration, in the pages of the book For Human Rights in Romania (1982). The second edition of this volume appeared in 1990, in Bucharest, under the aegis of Victor Frunză Publishing House.
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.
The private collection of Tamás Csapody (1960–) includes documents related to movements for the reform of the compulsory military service and the introduction of alternative civilian service. Refusal to perform military service was an illegal act in the countries of the Warsaw Pact. Csapody’s collection, as the only collection focusing this specific topic, contributes to remembering the stories of people who were penalized by the laws of the Kádár regime because of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
Personal notes of the Founder, In: ’Yearbook of Soros Fou...
Personal notes of the Founder, In: ’Yearbook of Soros Foundaton–Hungary 1984-1985’, 1985. Publication
“The Founder’s personal notes”
In: The Yearbook of the Soros Foundation, Hungary 1984–1985
“It was not my choice that I was born in Hungary in 1930. However, it was my own deliberate decision, one of the most important ones in my life, that 17 years later I left this country. And my return with this foundation is but a late consequence of this early age choice.” These opening sentences are the most “personal” notes in the founder’s preface to the first yearbook of the Soros Foundation, Hungary (HSF) 1984–1985.
Soros used this opportunity to address the public freely (i.e. without much risk of being censored) and share authentic information and assert the principles on which his recently established foundation was based.
The was important in part simply because in the first few years the foundation was given hardly any press coverage in communist Hungary except for some short official statements published in dailies, according to which a New York stock investor had signed a contract with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) and opened a small office in the Buda Castle district to receive applications for grants and other forms of support. Apart from this, no reports were printed and no interviews were done in the print and broadcast media. Even in 1987, Soros and his secretary staff still had to fight for the right to publish lists of successful grantees at least in HVG (the three-letter abbreviation used for an earlier title of the same periodical, Heti Világgazdaság, or “Weekly World Economy”), an economic weekly. The first principle Soros insisted on, thus, was the importance of free and permanent control by the pubic (instead of by the party and the secret police) of the operations of his foundation. Similarly, he asserted a number of other safeguards as a founder. He maintained the right to choose his personal colleagues, to decide on his own on the amount of his yearly donations to be spent (which began at one million dollars and grew to nine million dollars by 1990), and to exercise a veto in all strategic or personnel decisions, i.e. decisions concerning curators, projects, grants, prizes, etc.
As for the applications and projects, Soros readily informed the public about ongoing practice and plans for the future. The foundation wished to maintain the individual system of both dollar-based and forint-based grants and support. The Literary and Social Science grant systems were running successfully, but they also planned to test and introduce some new projects which offered support for study abroad and research grants and support for conferences, as well as funding for filmmakers, theater groups, and artists active in the fine arts. Applicants who fell in other categories were equally welcome to submit inventive workplans and new, creative initiatives.
Finally, Soros sought and offered a confident partnership to all: “We need the help of the larger public, after, all the success of our foundation can only be ensured by the applicants’ talent and inventiveness, and the reactions of Hungarian society.”
Milan Šimečka Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentatio...
Milan Šimečka Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
Milan Šimečka (1930-1990) was a Czech and Slovak philosopher, essayist and publicist. He was one of the prominent personalities of the Czechoslovak opposition from 1968. He published in samizdat and exile, and for this he was detained illegally for a year. The collection contains mainly texts and correspondence.
The collection includes Croatian State Security Service's file on the case of first and best known Yugoslav dissident, Milovan Djilas, and its reception in Croatia. During 1953, Djilas published a series of articles in the newspaper Borba on the need for democratization and liberalization of Yugoslav society, which led to his condemnation at Party forums and expulsion from the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. In Croatia, similar ideas were mainly manifested in the weekly Naprijed, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Croatia. It led to open conflict with Party leaders and the suppression of the newspaper, while its journalists were forced to halt their careers in journalism. The collection includes different analysis and reports on operational measures conducted by the Croatian State Security Service against the Naprijed group and other Djilas supporters (Djilasovci) in Croatia until the beginning of 1960s.
Original Broadside of Third Universal, November 7, 1917. ...
Original Broadside of Third Universal, November 7, 1917. Typescript.
The events that transpired alongside the fall of the Romanov monarchy in February 1917, the takeover of the Winter Palace by the Bolsheviks in October 1917, and the dissolution of the Constitutional Assembly in January 1918 are immensely significant for understanding Ukrainian history and cultural opposition to communism. During that year of upheaval, many divergent visions for the future were articulated throughout the Russian Empire. In the Imperial Southwest, the Bolsheviks battled monarchists, nationalists, socialists, greens and anarchists over how to move forward during and after the collapse of empire.
The Ukrainian Museum-Archives has in its possession an original broadside of the Third Universal, issued by the Central Rada on November 20, 1917, in the four major languages used in the Imperial Southwest—Ukrainian, Russian, Polish and Yiddish. This document is reflective of efforts by the Central Rada to appeal to various communities living on the territory, while negotiating with the Provisional Government for greater autonomy. As historian George Liber notes, the first two proclamations of Rada did not define the borders of Ukraine, but the Third Universal asserted that the nine provinces in the Imperial Southwest with Ukrainian majorities belonged to the Ukrainian National (or People’s) Republic. The document also claimed parts of Kursk, Kholm/Chelm and Voronezh provinces, where Ukrainians also constituted the majority. The Central Rada also pledged to defend the interests of all national groups living in these territories and articulated a law protecting personal and national autonomy for Russians, Poles, Jews and others.
Shortly after this, the UNR established diplomatic ties with a number of European countries and even the United States. Britain and France tried to persuade the UNR leadership to side with them against the Central Powers, which they refused as they were determined to stay neutral. The Soviet Russian Republic initially recognized the UNR, but this was short-lived as the Red Army soon moved in from the north and east. This prompted the Rada to issue the Fourth Universal on January 25, 1918, which declared independence of the UNR as defined by the Third Universal. This made the push for greater autonomy within the context of empire a war of nationalist secession. (Liber, 62-63)
These early conflicts helped shape Soviet Ukraine’s relationship to Moscow for decades to come. In fact, Ukraine’s cultural, political and economic leadership struggled to define the parameters of engagement. Figures who were at the forefront of creating Soviet culture in the political and creative domains had to contest with the complex legacies of the Civil War of 1917-1922, which were never really fully resolved. Republican officials in particular (first in Kharkiv and later Kyiv) found it difficult to strike the right balance between autonomy and central control, regularly finding themselves on the wrong side of cultural policy after major shift in the priorities of Moscow.
Charter 77 Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation C...
Charter 77 Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
Charter 77 was an informal Czechoslovak citizens' initiative that criticised state power for the non-recognition of basic civil and human rights, following the movements of the CSSR and their signing of the Final Act at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe on 1st August 1975 in Helsinki.
This photograph from the Ștefan Gane Collection is a testimony to the Ceaușescu regime's policy of transforming the urban landscape and destroying everything that was opposed to its vision. An example of this is the almost total destruction in 1985 of the Mihai Vodă Monastery, of which only the church and the bell tower were preserved and moved to another site down an incline.
The church of the former Mihai Vodă Monastery is an emblem of premodern Bucharest and one of the oldest buildings that have been preserved in Bucharest. Built in 1594, over time it had several destinations, including Princely Residence, Military Hospital, Medical School, and headquarters of the State Archives. It was founded by one of the most important rulers in the Romanians' national history: Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave). He was the ruler of Wallachia between 1593 and 1601 and the only leader of one of the premodern states existing in the modern perimeter of modern Romania that unified, for the period 1600–1601, a territory roughly equal to that of today's Romania. Thus Mihai Viteazul was considered from the nineteenth century an important figure in national history. Under the communist regime, historiography of gave Mihai Viteazul a much more important place in national history than he had had before. He was named as the prefigurer of the so-called "Union of 1918". This historical event consisted of the annexation of the historical regions of Austro-Hungary, inhabited mostly by Romanians to the so-called Old Kingdom of Romania and was materialised in the Peace Treaties of Saint-Germain (1919) and Trianon (1920). This image of Mihai Viteazul as anticipator of the “Union of 1918” was strongly promoted under the Ceauşescu regime not only through textbooks and historical works, but also through the historical film Mihai Viteazul, made in 1970.
Despite the overwhelming importance the communist regime granted to Mihai Viteazul, the monastery complex he founded became the most famous victim of the total demolition of Bucharest. The site where it was located, a high position in the urban landscape of the capital, was assigned by the communist authorities to the building that is now home to the Romanian Parliament. In 1985 the monastery was demolished, but not entirely. At the last moment, the church and the bell tower were moved, despite the initial plan that everything should be destroyed. The church was moved to the base of the hill, where it was subsequently hidden by communist buildings. The church was originally located on Mihai Vodă Hill, on the former Archives Street no. 2, and was moved to Sapienţei Street no. 4, where it still stands. This photograph was taken clandestinely by Ștefan Gane a few months before the edifice was moved, and went with him to France in 1985 when he emigrated. The photo in question, which is today in the Ștefan Gane collection, is in the original, 10x15 cm, printed on black and white paper. Today it is an important historical source for understanding and writing a part of Romania's recent history in connection with the project of destruction of the national patrimony practised by the communist regime between 1977 and 1989.
This unique collection mainly contains the documents of János Vargha, leader of the Danube Circle Movement, which was the most important environmental oppositional group in Hungary in the 1980s. The collection contains sources on resistance to the planned Bős-Nagymaros River Dam System, against which all of the Hungarian oppositional groups protested.
Ivan Medek Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation C...
Ivan Medek Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
Ivan Medek (1925-2010) was a prominent Czech music publicist, a signatory of Charter 77 and a founding member of VONS. In 1978 he went into exile, where he founded the Press Service and worked with Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. This collection contains unique documents from his exile activity.
Polish Underground Publications Collection at Polish Libr...
Polish Underground Publications Collection at Polish Library POSK in London
Located at the Polish Library of the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) in London, Polish Underground Publications collection contains serials, books, and brochures published clandestinely by Polish opposition groups from 1976 to 1990. This is one of the largest collections of Polish independent publications worldwide and outside Poland. It documents the pluralistic character of anti-communist opposition in People's Poland and testifies to the richness, diversity, and magnitude of underground publishing in People's Poland.
The collection is important proof of the activities of a left-thinking historian, a "spiritual father" and co-founder of the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Prosecuted (VONS), a co-publisher of unofficial periodic Dialogy, who was imprisoned several times and forced to go to exile, where he collaborated with dissidents from other socialist countries.
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.
Collection gathered by Michał Guć is an extensive set of Polish postage stamps and envelopes which were disseminated in the "second circuit" in the 1980s. Stamps were a form of expressing support for the "Solidarity" and the patriotic opposition. They were created both by proffesional artists and by amateur activists. A very interesting part of the collection are the stamps created by the strikes' participants and the prisoners of the internment camps. Michał Guć has one of the biggest collections in Poland which he managed to assemble thanks to his personal engagement in democratic changes.
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.
The collection of the significant Czech journalist, dissident, signatory to Charter 77 and politician, Jiří Ruml, contains both published and as yet unpublished texts from 1967 to 1989, correspondence, Czech and foreign samizdat and exile publications. There are also writings by his friends, many of whom were also important signatories of Charter 77.
The “Black Book” collection contains documents from the first seven days of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by five Warsaw Pact troops in August 1968, which served as a basis for Seven Prague Days 21-27 August 1968, also called the “Black Book”. The “Black Book”was edited by Milan Otáhal and Vilém Prečan, academics from the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, and all materials were collected during or shortly after the occupation.
The Ante Ciliga Collection is deposited at the Collection of the Old Books and Manuscripts at the National and University Library in Zagreb. It testifies to cultural opposition activities of the Croatian political émigré Ante Ciliga, who made the transition from high-ranking member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia to an anticommunist and critic of the one party system and the totalitarian form of socialism.
The personal collection of Croatian philosopher and sociologist Rudi Supek contains documents and photographs that testify to Supek's intellectual activity, which had been prevented in some phases of his life. Supek was the editor of two critically-oriented Marxist journals, Pogledi and Praxis, and as one of the main protagonists of the Korčula Summer School of Philosophy, he expressed views that did not align with those promoted by the Communist authorities. Supek's disagreement with the practices of the communist regime stemmed from his understanding of the position of intellectuals in society and his stance that there is no socialism without democracy. This collection also illustrates Supek's work as one of the pioneers of the environmental movement in Yugoslavia.
Part of a civic and ethical project with no equivalent in any of the other former communist countries of Europe, the Museum collection of the Sighet Memorial is an extraordinary site of memory, both individual and collective, of Romanian communism seen from the perspective of the victims of the regime. The Museum collection of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance includes an impressive number of documents, photographs, letters, newspaper collections, books, manuscripts, albums, and various other objects illustrating both the repressive dimension of the communist regime in Romania and the reaction of Romanian society to that regime, in accordance with the vision promoted by the Civic Academy Foundation through the intermediary of the International Centre for Studies into Communism.
Photos from Independent Demonstrations for Peace, 1983
Photos from Independent Demonstrations for Peace, 1983
It is little known that self-determined demonstrations took place in the GDR - and visual records, if any, only exist on film made by the Ministry of State Security. The Upper Lusatian Peace Circle as an independent bloc joined an official peace demonstration in Zittau in 1983, making its own demands public. Some of the images produced during the event are preserved in the archive.
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.
At the Memorial to the Revolution in Timişoara may be seen Lorenţ Fecioru’s vest with the holes made by the bullets that killed him and the traces left by their victim’s blood. This object with a profound emotional charge was donated in 1999 by the mother of the hero-martyr. The material traces of the violent death of this young man are symbolic for all the young people who, with the recklessness and courage of youth, took part in the Revolution of 1989. At the same time, the manner in which he met his death is illustrative of the repression that followed in the days immediately after the outbreak of the popular revolt in Timişoara. Along with over 1,000 others, Lorenţ Fecioru is a martyr of the bloody events that led to the change of regime in 1989 and one of those to whom all Romanians are indebted for the freedom that they enjoy today. It is a civic duty of all Romanian citizens to preserve their memory, a duty that the Memorial has taken upon itself to pass on to generations who did not experience the Revolution of 1989.
Lorenţ Fecioru was one of those who, alongside the poet Ion Monoran, took part in the stopping of trams in Maria Square on 16 December. He died in the night of 17–18 December from the effects of a bullet fired by a sniper straight into his heart. In the public documents issued after the Revolution of 1989, it was initially stated that Lorenţ Fecioru was shot on the steps of the Cathedral of Timişoara. The facts, however, are otherwise, albeit equally tragic. Two decades after the tragedy played out, Lorenţ Fecioru’s youngest son related for a national newspaper what actually happened to his father: “My father was shot by a sniper in the night of 17–18 December. In the Securitate files photographs have been found that were taken during the day, when my father and some of his colleagues from work went out into the street and climbed onto tramcars, onto buses. I understand that in the file is written ‘mission accomplished.’ He was on the balcony with his friends that evening, telling them that he had seen when the photographer took pictures of them and that he was afraid to go out onto the balcony. The moment he went out onto the balcony he was shot. I saw the bullet that killed him, because he was shot in the heart and the bullet came out through his back and ricocheted off two walls in the house. His friends took him to the morgue, and by ‘good fortune’ they found a coffin, otherwise he would have been incinerated like the others.” This version is confirmed by researchers at the Memorial to the Revolution. Gino Rado, the vice-president of the Memorial, mentions that Lorenţ Fecioru was on the balcony at his home on Calea Şagului in Timişoara when he was fatally shot. The vest donated by the family of the hero-martyr Lorenţ Fecioru is on the same ground-floor level of the building of the Memorial to the Revolution in Timişoara, very close to the corner dedicated to the child-martyr Cristina Lungu.
Project for supporting democratic organisations, In: ’Yea...
Project for supporting democratic organisations, In: ’Yearbook of Soros Foundaton–Hungary 1989’, 1989. Publication
The Soros Foundation Hungary project in support of new democratic organizations in 1989–1990
By the spring of 1989, Hungary had managed to halfway through the process of political transition: the political monopoly of the one-party communist system had already been shaken, but civilian society and democratic forces still could not break through the colossal structure of the forty-year-old monolithic regime. There were fewer and fewer legal and political barriers to democratic organizations, and the main obstacles were the lacks of finances and media coverage concerning the awakening society and the political opposition. Independent media channels and organs in the print press which could inform the public efficiently about major political changes were still badly needed in the country. Similarly, there was not adequate public space or office infrastructure for the newly launched local and national movements, proto-parties, organizations, student clubs, trade unions, etc. The accelerated process of forming new parties, together with the beginning of the Roundtable Sessions of the Democratic Opposition and then the Nationwide Negotiations made it clear that the traditional semi-conspiratorial, amateur strategies used by the oppositional forces were wholly insufficient to remove the old monopoly power system.
From the outset, Soros Foundation Hungary (HSF), as the main supporter of independent civilian initiatives, realized that it was time to overtly “underwrite democracy,” to borrow from the title one of the books by Soros. In the spring of 1989, Soros publicly offered a sum of one million US dollars in support of the newly launched democratic organizations. The grand curatory (the main decision-making Advisory Board) discussed the practical details of the planned project at two sessions. The call for applications was then published, and an operative staff was formed in May to manage the project, led by László Sólyom. It included Gábor Fodor, Elemér Hankiss, László Kardos, and a dozen members of the SFH secretariat.
The new support project, as was expected, became extremely popular within a short period of time, and the deadline for the submission of applications was eventually extended six times to eighteen months, with more than double the sum Soros originally had intended to spend on the project. (It proved to be an almost ceaseless rally, which is well reflected in the fact that, as late as October 1990, there was still a package of 25 new applications for support waiting to be assessed, most of them convincing cases with rightful claims.) In 1989, 353 applications were received from various parts of the country. During the first year run of the project, the Advisory Board of the Soros Foundation Hungary approved claims made by 157 applicants and donated a total of 44 million Hungarian forints. It also distributed badly needed office equipment: 49 copy-machines, 26 computers, 12 telefax machines, 6 phone sets with recording machines, and 3 laser printers.
Some of the successful applicants gained support from the Soros Foundation Hungary in 1989–1990:
Nationwide movements, and organizations: League to Abolish Capital Punishment, the Independent Lawyers’ Forum, the International Service for Human Rights, the Asylum Committee, the Press Club for Free Public Speech, the Raoul Wallenberg Society (Budapest-Pécs) Committee for Historical Justice, the Foundation for Aiding the Poor. Trade unions: the League of Independent Democratic Trade Unions, the Trade Union of Employees of Public Collections and Cultural Institutions, the Educators’ Democratic Trade Union, the Solidarity Alliance of Workers’ Trade Unions, the Scientific Workers’ Democratic Trade Union, the Chemical Industry Workers’ Democratic Trade Union. Church organizations: (Lutheran) the Evangelical Youth Association, the Association of Christian Intellectuals, the Ecumenical Fraternal Society of Christians, the Hungarian Protestant Cultural Society. Minority organizations: the Association of Transylvanian Hungarians, the Rákóczi Union, the Hungarian Jewish Cultural Society, the PHRALIPE Independent Gipsy Association, the FII CU NOI Roma Society. Environment Protection: the Danube Circle, the Independent Center for Ecology, the Holocén Society for Nature Protection.
Of the roughly 500 applicants, 201 organizations and organs (printed press, local radio and tv channels) received valuable financial and material help from the Soros Foundation Hungary. The project, the deadline for which was extended six times, lasted until late 1990, and it distributed more than double the originally offered sum, i.e. significantly more than two million USD.
The complete archival collection of the project (applications, letters of support, secretarial reports, minutes of curatory sessions, press clippings, and files of the former secret police) can be found in the OSA-Blinken Archives. The detailed list of the organizations which were given support were also published in the 1989 and 1990 Yearbooks of the Soros Foundation Hungary. See their online version here.
Peroutka, Ferdinand. Inaugural Speech in the RFE, 1951. T...
Peroutka, Ferdinand. Inaugural Speech in the RFE, 1951. Typescript
Ferdinand Peroutka, who represented the democratic past of Czechoslovakia, and mainly the First Czechoslovak Republic, became the director of the Czechoslovak section of Radio Free Europe (RFE) in New York on 6 April 1950. The Czechoslovak service of the RFE began its regular broadcasting from Munich on 1 May 1951 with the famous phrase “This is the voice of Free Czechoslovakia, Radio Free Europe.” One of the first speakers was also Ferdinand Peroutka, who stated, besides other things: “One magazine would mean little in a country where freedom reigns. But one free magazine, one radio station in a dictatorial regime – that is a revolution, because such a system is based on the fact that only the government can speak and nobody can answer back, that anyone can be charged, but nobody can defend themselves. However, once even a fraction of freedom enters that rigid and artificial system, from anywhere, once it is again possible to set argument against argument, once it is no longer possible to act without criticism, once there is a place to call untruths into question, then this whole proud system quavers.”
The Literary Archives of the Museum of Czech Literature possesses a mimeograph copy of the typescript of this speech.
The collection is the second largest repository of Polish independent publications on the British Isles. Its origins date back to the late 1970s when the British Library acquired first issues of underground newsletters and periodicals released by opposition groups. The collection consists of books, periodicals and ephemeral publications and demonstrates the strength, proliferation and domestic and international impact of the underground publishing in Poland from 1976 to 1989.
The collection of the D-fund of Prohibited Literature (1945-1991) is located in the National and University Library in Ljubljana and forms an integral part of the Slovenian Press Collection Outside of the Republic of Slovenia. The D-fund mostly contains books and periodicals published outside of socialist Yugoslavia and those primarily pertaining to the Slovenian émigré scene. However, a smaller part of the same fund encompasses the émigré literature of other Yugoslav peoples. In this sense, the D-fund also belongs to the culture of dissent.
The Help and Action newsletter was launched in 1977. It was published by the same organisation Help and Action, founded in Paris in 1974, dealing with the protection of human rights and civil liberties in the Soviet Union and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The Newsletter regularly published information on individual cases of human rights violations guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally recognised conventions. The first issue was published on 15th January 1977, shortly after the establishment of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. The rapporteur was based on the English and French versions, initially as a bimonthly, and was published quarterly from 1987 onwards.
The Help and Action newsletter regularly reported on all types of persecution behind the Iron Curtain. They published the names of the persecuted and imprisoned opponents of the regime in the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, East Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Albania. It spoke about protest actions organised in the West by human rights organisations to help the oppressed opponents of the regime. There were various demonstrations, campaigns and concerts to support persecuted dissidents, open letters to representatives of totalitarian regimes, but also exhibitions of forbidden samizdat books by authors and conferences on human rights issues. The aim of these actions was primarily the release of political prisoners and the administration of fair trials in the countries of Eastern Europe. The leadership of the committee and the issue of Help and Action was organized by Ivana Tigridová, the wife of Pavel Tigrid, who was one of the most prominent representatives of Czechoslovakian anti-Communist exile.
Protest campaign against construction of the Daugavpils H...
Protest campaign against construction of the Daugavpils HPP in 1986-1987
The protest campaign against the construction of the Daugavpils hydroelectric station in 1986-1987 was the first issue during perestroika in Latvia to involve the wider public, especially the intelligentsia, and it was the first step on the path that led to the restoration of national independence. This was the first case during the Soviet occupation when the endeavours of the intelligentsia to defend the natural and historical riches of Latvia were successful. The collection consists of material gathered by the staff of the Museum of the River Daugava, and donated to the museum in 1987-1998 by several people who were involved in the 1986-1987 protest campaign, mostly among the protesters, but there is also material provided by their opponents too.
Márton, Áron. 2016. Egyház – Állam (Church – State). Draw...
Márton, Áron. 2016. Egyház – Állam (Church – State). Drawn-up and notes added by József Marton. Csíkszereda: Pro-Print Könyvkiadó
The thirteenth volume of the series entitled Áron Márton’s Legacy comprises those of the bishop’s writings that had been addressed to the state authorities. As a bishop, Áron Márton represented the diocese of Alba Iulia for forty-two years and on occasion the other Transylvanian Roman Catholic dioceses as well. His episcopate was not free of cares; following the years of royal dictatorship, he remained in Southern Transylvania after the Second Vienna Award to offer hope for his congregation members, who held a minority status. Then, following the Second World War, the much-awaited peace failed to arrive and the religion-persecuting dictatorship inherent in the Romanian version of Soviet power came instead. Throughout these years, the supreme power in Bucharest proved helpful or tolerant for only very short periods as there was a twofold pressure on the Hungarian Roman Catholic congregation members, clergy, and bishop, as a minority both through confessional otherness and through differences in mother tongue.
In the four years between 1948 and 1951, besides the nationalisation of ecclesiastical schools, the conversion of Greek Catholics to Orthodoxy by force, and the abolition of monastic orders, priests and monks had to face imprisonment, forced labour, and persecution. After Áron Márton’s release in 1955 he was the only active Roman Catholic bishop in Romania. He had to establish contact with both the local and central authorities, and, considering the correlation of forces, this relationship was a subordinating one and, consequently, marked by struggle and compromises. In this struggle the bishop had only two instruments to resort to: asking and protesting. Surrender was not possible as he had to undergo all the hardships for his priests and congregation. His letters are classic examples for minority leaders regarding the nature of their attitude toward the government. The letters in which he asked for something were written in such a manner that he never humiliated himself; at all times he maintained his human dignity and his episcopal stance and remained unbiased. The official letters published in the volume represent testimonies to the bishop’s straightforwardness, honesty, sense of responsibility, empathy, and regard towards the authorities. They speak about people who suffered, in whose interests he intervened before the local authorities or the Ministry of Religious Affairs and later before the competent authorities of the Office of Religious Affairs. He had to defend his congregation members against national oppression, rather than against purely religious offences. The letters arranged in chronological order according to the changes in history reflect the serious problems characteristic of the period and reveal the relationship between State and Church through time. The bishop’s official writings and letters published in the volume help readers to “get acquainted with and make out” the laws regulating the ecclesiastical life of the time, considering that their application produced mostly negative effects and led to restrictive consequences.
Raţiu–Tilea Personal Library Collection at BCU Cluj–Napoca
Raţiu–Tilea Personal Library Collection at BCU Cluj–Napoca
The Raţiu–Tilea Personal Library Collection reflects the academic interests of two Romanian intellectuals living in exile, both involved in the political organisations of the Romanian Diaspora in the West and authoring relevant works on twentieth century Romania. The collection brings together a large number of publications dealing with postwar Eastern Europe, including the most appreciated academic contributions on the history of Romanian communism published in the West.
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.
Fortepan is an extensive online collection of photos documenting the 20th century until 1990. All the photos fall under creative commons license. Started as a private non-profit initiative, it grew out of a core collection of 5,000 images, and it has been dynamically expanding as both institutions and private individuals have donated photos. Images are largely about scenes of life in Hungary, but there is a growing number of photos that were taken in other countries. Fortepan is the largest free-use digital photo collection covering, among other things, cultural opposition under communism in Eastern Europe. Underground music scenes, alternative theatre and film, grey zone cultural activities, and the democratic and populist opposition are all topics covered in the collection.
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 Sanda Stolojan Collection is an important source of documentation for understanding and writing the history of that particular segment of the Romanian exile community which was actively involved in the West in unmasking the communist regime in Romania. At the same time, this private archive contributes to an understanding of Romanian–French bilateral relations between 1968 and 1998. In particular, the collection illustrates the activity of the collector and other personalities of the exile aimed at promoting respect for human rights in Romania and stopping the demolitions imposed by the communist authorities as part of Bucharest's systematisation programme, and later at supporting the reconstruction of democracy in their country of origin.
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.
Oral History Archive at the KARTA Centre Foundation
Oral History Archive at the KARTA Centre Foundation
The collection of Oral History Archive (OHA) of the KARTA and the History Meeting House strives to show Polish and Central European modern history from the individual, everyday life perspective. It consists of thousands of biographical interviews and family photographs which witness to the ambiguity, richness and different modes of lifestyles before, during, and after the World War II. First interviews of the OHA were recorded in the 1980s.
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.
The Ștefan Gane Collection documents in photographs and slides the extent of the demolitions imposed by the so-called systematisation programme in Bucharest following the devastating earthquake of 4 March 1977, which the communist regime used as a pretext for destroying or mutilating numerous historic monuments. The Ștefan Gane Collection is also an important source for understanding and writing the history of that particular segment of the Romanian exile community which was extremely active in disseminating in Western countries information about the aberrant policies of the Ceaușescu regime. In particular, this personal archive illustrates the efforts of the collector and of other personalities from the exile community to stop the systematisation of Bucharest.
The archival fond Zhelyu Zhelev at the Central State Archive portrays the life and the creative and political work of Zhelyu Zhelev. Zhelev, a prominent philosopher, was one of the most well-known dissidents in Bulgaria and, in August 1990, became the first democratically elected president of Bulgaria (he was in office until 1997). The collection contains numerous materials documenting the attempts by the communist government to impose total control over intellectual and scientific activities; at the same time, it shows different forms of resistance and opposition by various individuals and groups. The collection holds essential documents, which can help us reconstruct Zhelev’s ideas and activism, including documents on the Club for Support of Openness and Reconstruction, which was among the first dissident organizations in Bulgaria.
The collection contains material about Sergei Soldatov, one of Estonia's most notable dissidents, who was culturally most active when living in exile after 1981. There are different types of documents and photographs in the collection, which describe not only Soldatov's life, but also the activities of dissident movements in the Soviet Union. Soldatov also used this material in his numerous books, which he published himself.
The Pugwash Movement Collection testifies to the anti-nuclear and anti-war activities of intellectuals from around the world during the Cold War era. The collection contains books and magazines, including the proceedings from the Pugwash Conferences, which were held every year in different city in the world. It also contains Encyclopaedia moderna, the most important journal for the history of anti-nuclear and peace movements in Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav government mostly did not look favourably upon the activities of the Pugwash movement’s members in Yugoslavia.
The website illustrates the life path and evolution of Franjo Tuđman’s ideas. Tuđman was a historian and politician who was twice sentenced to prison and banned from engaging in any public activity because he published and defended the results of his historical research, which contradicted the prevailing narrative promoted by the regime. The website contains digitised photographs, excerpts from Tuđman's diary, manuscripts and published works. The material testifies to his academic and political activities and his transformation from a relatively high-level communist official to a party dissident and finally the leader of the political opposition which overthrew the communist regime in Croatia.
Smoloskyp collection (Museum-Archive and Documentation Ce...
Smoloskyp collection (Museum-Archive and Documentation Centre of Ukrainian Samvydav in Kyiv)
The collection was created in the Ukrainian diaspora by the Smoloskyp Publishing House. Deeply involved in political and cultural opposition in Soviet and post-Soviet Ukraine, Smoloskyp built a communication channel between Ukraine and the international community, making the Ukrainian oppositional movement internationally known. In 1998, the collection was institutionalized as the Museum-Archive and Documentation Centre of Ukrainian Samvydav in Kyiv. It holds the most extensive collection of Ukrainian samizdat; Ukrainian diaspora periodicals; the collection of Ukrainian tamizdat (samizdat materials published abroad in Ukrainian, Russian, English, French, German and other languages); hundreds of photos of Soviet-era political prisoners and dissidents; the archives of several committees for human rights in Ukraine from the US, Canada, Australia, Argentina, and other countries.
Document Collection of the Civic Movement Archive in Leipzig
Document Collection of the Civic Movement Archive in Leipzig
Leipzig was not only scene to the Monday Demonstrations of autumn 1989 that spread across the GDR and brought the regime to collapse, but also home to numerous youth, peace, environmental and human rights groups. The Civic Movement Archive in Leipzig houses the largest collection of documents relating to the histories of these groups.
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.
A tin called Atmosphere 1970 – Unbreathable, is a genuine artefact from the 1. Open atelier of Rudolf Sikora, originating on 19 November 1970, which took place at his apartment at 32 Tehelná street. The tin is a witness to a metaphorical message. This masterpiece is also to be found in the Slovak national gallery collections. On one hand, it represents something hermeneutically sealed as a parallel to a “normalised” society. On the other hand, the inability to breathe indicates the very conditions within the society where no freedom can be allowed and nothing from outside is allowed to get in. Furthermore, since Rudolf Sikora came across the Rome club outcomes, an international organization dealing with climate change, he could have referred to climate changes as well as an eminently growing environmental threat to the society. This particular artefact undoubtedly added to the reasons why he was constantly interrogated by the state security, the ŠtB. One of the reasons he has managed to keep this piece was that he had produced many of them. Currently, he keeps it also in his private collection as a personal memory of the 1. Open atelier.
Ivana Tigridová Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentat...
Ivana Tigridová Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
Ivana Tigridová (1925-2008) was a journalist and human rights activist. She was one of the most distinguished personalities of Czechoslovak exile. In Paris, she founded two organisations supporting prisoners and persecuted opponents of the regime in Czechoslovakia and other countries of the Eastern Bloc.
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.
Zoran Đinđić Personal Collection at the Archives of Serbia
Zoran Đinđić Personal Collection at the Archives of Serbia
This is the collection of the prominent Yugoslav intellectual and dissident, Zoran Đinđić. During the seventies, Đinđić was active in the Student Union of the Faculty of Philosophy and in informal groups of the radical left. He left Yugoslavia in 1977 and returned at the beginning of the 1990s, becoming one of the most important leaders of the opposition movement after the state’s disintegration. From 2001 to 2003, he served as prime minister of Serbia. The largest part of the collection is focused on the period after 1990, thanks to his active political engagement, while a smaller part covers his dissident activities during the socialist era.
The Miko Tripalo Collection testify to the activities of Miko Tripalo, one of the key personalities of the Croatian Spring - the liberal reform movement of Croatian communists, intellectuals and students who, with the widest public support, tried to initiate changes aimed at equality between nations and the democratisation of society in socialist Croatia and Yugoslavia. After the fall of the Croatian Spring in late 1971, Tripalo became one of the most prominent dissidents. He became a symbol of national resistance and the struggle for democracy. After the fall of communism, he became an active politician and a committed advocate of an open society and human rights. By the end of his life, he expanded his collection with new documents and manuscripts.
Zoran Đinđić Library at the Zoran Đinđić Foundation
Zoran Đinđić Library at the Zoran Đinđić Foundation
This is the collection of the prominent intellectual and dissident of the SFR Yugoslavia, Zoran Đinđić. During his studies at the beginning of the 70s, Đinđić was active in a leftist oppositional student movement. After being tried for attempting to organize an alternative independent student union, he left Yugoslavia for Germany and only returned at the beginning of the 90s. After the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Đinđić was one of the most important leaders of the opposition movement during the 1990s, and between 2001 and 2003 he served as prime minister of Serbia. The collection consists of books which Đinđić accumulated from his student days up until his assassination.
Ionică, Lucian. Revolution of 1989 - Living statue, Timiș...
Ionică, Lucian. Revolution of 1989 - Living statue, Timișoara, December 1989. Photo
Among the very few images that were taken from a high position, Lucian Ionică draws attention to those taken in a central place for the revolutionary events of Timişoara in December 1989: the former Opera Square, now Victory Square. He mentions that he never really felt any serious threat when he tried to take photographs, and that, on the contrary, he experienced a moment of great good fortune and generosity precisely on the occasion of taking these photographs from above. “In my case, the fear I had had that I might encounter hostile reactions proved unfounded. No one bothered me, no one prevented me from taking photographs. On the contrary, for one of the photographs I was even the beneficiary of a combination of favourable circumstances: in Victory Square, to capture that crowd, I couldn’t photograph from ground level. I had to go upstairs in a building. And I went upstairs in the building situated diagonally opposite the Opera Theatre, where at the time there was a milk-bar – now it’s McDonalds – and on its façade, high up, you can still see the marks of bullets from the Revolution. Quite simply, I just knocked on a door, and the gentleman agreed to let me onto his balcony. And from there I took photographs – one of which is among the best known photographs of Opera/Victory Square during the Revolution. I took a few pictures from there.”
Among these photographs mentioned by Lucian Ionică, one in particular, even after such a long time, has a very powerful significance for him: “From the balcony I took a number of photographs, among them one that I would like to see turned into a monument. Of course there would have to be an artist, a sculptor who wanted to do this. There was, and I think there still is an electrical installation there. It’s an installation enclosed in a box, like a 70cm x 70cm square about 2 metres long. Well, on the surface of that there were five people, like a living statue. The image is very powerful, both visually and symbolically. As if people were standing on a pedestal, ordinary people on a pedestal. If a sculpture in realistic style were made from that photograph, it would show, in my opinion, that desire of people both to see and to participate in what was happening there."
The Sanda Budiș Collection is an important source of documentation for understanding and writing the history of that particular segment of the Romanian exile community which was extremely active in supporting dissidents in the country and in disseminating information about the repressive or aberrant policies of the Ceauşescu regime. In particular, the collection illustrates the actions of the collector and other personalities aimed at putting pressure on the communist authorities in order to give up the project of systematisation of Romanian villages. Also, the documents in this collection reflect the involvement of Romanians abroad in rebuilding democracy in their home country.
The collection of Jaroslav Šabata is a unique collection and testimony of a former member of the Communist Party and later a Charter 77 spokesperson. This collection is made up of the private documents of Šabata, which he gathered during his lifetime and which were donated to the archive after his death.