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.
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.
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.
The Pavao Tijan Papers are 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.
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.
Vjesnik Newspaper Documentation is an archival collection created in the Vjesnik newspaper publishing enterprise from 1964 to 2006. It includes about twelve million press clippings, organized into six thousand topics and sixty thousand dossiers on public persons. Inter alia, it documents various forms of cultural opposition in the former Yugoslavia, but also in other communist countries in Europe and worldwide.
Frantisek Starek was one of the leading figures of the Czechoslovak underground movement and culture. Due to his long-lasting activity, he has built a very rich and interesting collection. In this collection, a lot of material – often unique – about Czechoslovak counterculture and personal resistance can be found. The collection covers the time period from the seventies to the nineties.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Ionică, Lucian. Living statue, Timișoara, 1989. Photo
Ionică, Lucian. Living statue, Timișoara, 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 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.
Commission for the Examination of Nationalist Phenomena i...
Commission for the Examination of Nationalist Phenomena in the Emigrant Foundation of Croatia (1964-1967)
This thematic collection documents the work of the Commission for the Examination of Nationalist Phenomena in the Emigrant Foundation of Croatia (EFC) of Executive Council of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia (EC CC LCC), in the period from 1964 to 1967. The commission was established solely to monitor the activities of the EFC's president, Većeslav Holjevac, and some of his associates, who were considered as opposition figures and nationalists. The collection contains documents that explicitly cite examples of oppositional activities in the EFC which testify to the role of the EFC leadership in opposition in the field of culture pertaining to Croatian emigrant communities, as well as the role of CC LCC in their condemnation.
Invitation from Ion Rațiu to Sanda Budiș for the First Fr...
Invitation from Ion Rațiu to Sanda Budiș for the First Free Romanians' Congress, in Romanian, 10 August 1983
This document is a testimony to the fact that the Romanian exile community, divided by country of immigration, began to be organised in the 1980s on a transnational level. The purpose of such an organisation was to be able to present to Western decision makers and public opinion on behalf of a Romanian exiles’ organisation Romania's situation under the Communist dictatorship. These measures aimed at determining interventions and measures from the West to improve the situation of Romanians inside the country and ultimately to remove the Communist regime. An example of such an organisation was the World Union of Free Romanians, one of the most important exile organisations. It was established in 1984. Before 1983, several meetings were held to consult with Romanians abroad about the need to set up such an organisation. One of these meetings took place on 12–13 November 1983, when Ion Raţiu, the initiator and future president of this organisation, organised a meeting in Paris of the Romanians actively involved in the emigrant community in order to prepare the first Congress of Free Romanians. This meeting was the basis for the establishment of the World Union of Free Romanians. In preparation for the congress, Ion Raţiu addressed invitations to take part in a congress to several Romanians. Such a personalised invitation was sent to Sanda Budiș who, after settling abroad in 1973, was involved in the organisation and activities of Romanian exiles. The original typed invitation can be found today in the Sanda Budiş Collection at IICCMER. In essence, Ion Raţiu informed Sanda Budiș that he was organising a Romanian emigration meeting for the purpose of discussing their situation outside Romania and setting up an organisation to represent them in the countries of residence in which they had settled. On this occasion, and taking into account her involvement in helping Romanians, Ion Raţiu launched an invitation to Sanda Budiş to attend the 12–13 November 1983 meeting in Paris, which the architect accepted.
Rudolf Mihle (1937–2008) was one of the most important Czech amateur filmmakers. Many of his films criticised the communist regime and society. Therefore, some of his films were censored and could not be distributed. He was an active member of the Czech Club of Amateur Filmmakers.
Samizdat issue of Ellenpontok No. 8, in Hungarian, Octobe...
Samizdat issue of Ellenpontok No. 8, in Hungarian, October 1982
This issue numbers only fourteen pages and comprises the “Introduction” signed by Attila Ara-Kovács and Antal Károly Tóth’s “Memorandum” and “Programme Proposal,” together with a presentation of the contents of the previously published seven issues. At the time of publishing the editors placed their hope in the “inner and activated” resistance of the population and on “the support of Hungary and of the democratic powers of the world,” while expecting repressive actions against themselves. In their effort to change the system “they saw a friend, a supportive partner with sober judgment in everyone who detested tyranny, and especially in the Romanian people.” They stated that they were ready to share their dedication and solidarity with all of their Romanian friends and fellow sufferers in order to regain their common freedom. Moreover, the authors found it important to underline that “this solidarity, this dedication does not convey and bear any hidden intentions.”
The “Memorandum” which was also sent to the participants of the Madrid CSCE Follow-up Conference, takes a stand in favour of the Hungarian minority, providing a brief account of the ethnic policy of Ceaușescu’s regime, the measures aimed at assimilation and as the methods applied to hamper the preservation and development of the Transylvanian Hungarian collective identity. It highlights the concept of second-class citizenship and the lack of possibilities of self-defence, the nonexistence of community interest groups. It pointed out that the chances of changing the situation are most affected by the fact that international conventions fail to take a stand with regard to the collective rights of minorities and that the mode of approach applied in international practice that only considers the point of view of human rights, ignores the values inherent in an ethnic minority, a community marked by rich tradition, particular culture and collective identity. The editors argue that minority values should deserve separate protection in contrast to those of the majority population which enjoy a dominant position. They state that an international effort which tries to protect the rights of minorities without taking into consideration their group character involuntarily places them at the mercy of the majority. In order to change their disenfranchised situation, the editors request that the conventions about to be concluded at the Madrid Conference should include the rights of Transylvanian Hungarians to preserve their values. The “Memorandum” summarises the aspirations of the editors in four paragraphs in which they ask that the Transylvanian Hungarians be allowed the possibility to feel that they are an organic part of the Hungarian nation “and thus all ethnic minorities should be granted equal rights,” that they might preserve their particular collective values and be able to create an organisation to promote their independent interests. They see a guarantee for the enforcement of these rights in the establishment of an impartial international committee.
They annexed a “Programme Proposal” to the “Memorandum,” in which they formulated in detail the most important demands in with of solving the situation of the Transylvanian Hungarians in communist Romania. The six-page document explains that the rights necessary for survival exist merely in theory and underlines the strong discrepancy between the situation depicted in official declarations or speeches and the everyday practice. Under these circumstances, demanding any rights seems an impossible mission. Moreover, the approval of any motion whatsoever is unimaginable without the proper intervention of some influential personality. Based on the assumption that two ethnic groups can only live together side-by-side if they treat each other as equal partners, the editors requested that Hungarians in Romania be granted the possibility “to freely demand the defence of their rights and interests.” They were aware of the improper timing of their demand as “even cultural claims formulated in pretentious language were openly labelled as reclaiming-revisionist.” They were also aware that although the Eastern European situation rendered the chances of seeing such claims solved entirely impossible, the worsening conditions forced them to take action considering that, as they themselves explained: “we cannot afford the luxury of waiting for a miracle to happen if we want to see a change.”
The “Programme Proposal” formulates the “demands” in ten paragraphs that occasionally make necessary the inclusion of several subparagraphs. The first demand repeats the first paragraph of the “Memorandum,” namely, that the Hungarians in Romania should be considered as an organic part of the entire Hungarian nation, and, as Romanian citizens, they should have the right to freely maintain their contacts with the Hungarian People’s Republic “both on an institutional and an individual level.” They also added another nine subparagraphs in which, among others things, they touched on the right to travel freely, the abolition of the regulation concerning the accommodation of foreign friends and of the practice of confiscating Hungarian cultural products at the customs, the right to freely invite Hungarian bands and personalities from the neighbouring countries, and the right of Transylvanians to have access to Hungarian TV channels as well as to books and publications from outside Romania which were in the Hungarian language.
The second “demand” asks for an institutional framework which would allow the cultural autonomy and the preservation of the collective identity of the Hungarian minority in Romania. This demand is detailed in eighteen subparagraphs. They demand that art. 22 of the 1965 Constitution should be completed with the right of minorities to create an interest organisation with an independent media organ, responsible for the administration of Hungarian cultural life and school policy, the control of Hungarian staff policy, the protection of monuments, and the legal remedy for minority grievances. They demand that a stand should be taken officially in favour of recognising minority culture as an organic part of Hungarian culture and not some branch of Romanian culture. They also demand that special departments of minority education should be founded within the Ministry of Education and in the county school inspectorates, and the reintroduction of Hungarian nursery-schools, schools, and universities thus providing the opportunity for all Hungarian children to learn in their mother tongue, with special emphasis on the possibility of learning Romanian history and geography in Hungarian. Furthermore, they demand the enforcement of Law 6/1969 concerning teaching staff status, which stipulates that teachers who have no or only partial knowledge of Hungarian cannot teach Hungarian classes. They take a stand in favour of eliminating the criteria of a compulsory number of pupils in a class, in order to ensure the survival of rural Hungarian schools and ask for the adoption of the Yugoslavian minority Act which permitted the establishment of a school even in case of nine children. They demand that the minority publishing house Kriterion should have an extended sphere of competence and a more solid financial background so that it can perform the tasks ignored by other publishers. It is also stated that that the Hungarian press and Hungarian radio and television programmes should focus on relevant problems of the Hungarian minority. They also demand that the authorities cease to treat Hungarian intellectuals as suspicious elements and put an end to their permanent monitoring and harassment by the secret police for the sole reason that they are Hungarians. The last subparagraph demands real freedom of religion and the internal autonomy of Hungarian churches.
The third demand, detailed in three subparagraphs, calls for the autonomy of regions populated by a Hungarian majority – the so-called Székely (Szekler) Land – together with equitable representation in the government. The fourth point, also structured in three subparagraphs, requests the suspension of the Ceaușescu regime policy of changing the ethnic constitution of historical Transylvania, the Partium, and the Banat. The fifth point, including nine subparagraphs, requests for the Hungarians in Romania the possibility to create and develop their sense of identity, defined both by their past and by their present. The sixth paragraph demands that the free use of the Hungarian language – both formal and informal – should be equally justified in all areas of greater Transylvania which are also inhabited by Hungarians. Subparagraphs three and four formulates the claim that in settlements with mixed population, the teaching of the Hungarian language should be made compulsory in Romanian schools. In addition to this, they demand that such localities be provided with bilingual signs, including the names of settlements, streets, shops, factories, public institutions, museums, and product names.
The seventh point formulates the claim that the Hungarian minority should enjoy equal opportunities of self-fulfilment to the Romanians, and that professional development and the selection of employees should be performed according to qualification and not according to ethnic criteria. The eighth point underlines the need to preserve historical and cultural traditions, whereas paragraph nine refers to the Moldavian Csángós who were a Hungarian-speaking group. This paragraph asked that Csángós be considered also Hungarians, against the practice of the official statistics that considered them Romanians, and that they be allowed to participate in Hungarian cultural life. The tenth paragraph, in compliance with paragraph four of the “Memorandum,” demands that the competence to examine and decide in case of pressing issues concerning the situation of Hungarians in Romania should be assigned to an impartial international committee, comprising both Romanians and Hungarians.
Although the consideration of the interests of the Hungarian minority were a priority in formulating the “demands,” the editors were aware that “their consideration cannot be isolated from the solution of matters of general interest” and that “first and foremost the Romanians should have the competence” to draw international attention to the common issues. The editors did not consider this unusually harsh “measure” to be premature, arguing that, “it is high time the wall of silence were demolished and that the massive and seemingly indestructible practice of injustice and arbitrariness that haunts the entire population of Romania (with the exception of a few) as a nightmare were ultimately [denounced as] responsible for today’s totally catastrophic conditions.” They believed that the programme proposal also served the interests of the Romanians “as lawfulness would implicitly add to their rights.”
The eighth issue of Ellenpontok is the best-known issue of the samizdat to date. The “Memorandum” and “Programme Proposal” that it included are considered to be documents of historical significance, for they represented the most renowned documents of the Hungarian civil opposition in Romania at that time. In the course of time these two documents have been published on more occasions. In Hungary they were published in the well-known samizdat Beszélő, No. 5-6 (December 1982). In France, Párizsi Magyar Füzetek (Hungarian Brochure of Paris), No. 12 (1983) published an article under the title “What’s Happening in Transylvania?” and included the full “Memorandum” and excerpts from the “Programme Proposal.” These documents were also mentioned in the most prestigious papers in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, and Britain. Radio Free Europe broadcast the contents of the documents on several occasions, especially during the year 1982. The “Memorandum” and “Programme Proposal” were also included in Géza Szőcs’s volume Az uniformis látogatása (The visit of the uniform), published at the end of 1986 in New York. After the regime change the two documents were published on multiple occasions in the works of Antal Károly Tóth. It speaks for their value and significance that Éva Cseke Gyimesi included both documents in her 2009 volume Szem a láncban: Bevezetés a szekusdossziék hermeneutikájába (Piece in a chain: Introduction to the hermeneutics of Securitate files), “since the memory of these documents has faded and the younger generation know almost nothing about them.”
Hans Otto Roth Collection at Black Church Archives Brașov
Hans Otto Roth Collection at Black Church Archives Brașov
The Hans Otto Roth Collection includes documents gathered in the period 1919–1951 by the creator of the collection in order to illustrate his activity as a political leader and journalist of the Transylvanian Saxons who opposed both the pre-communist extreme right movements and regimes and the communist regime.
The Éva Cseke-Gyimesi Collection is arguably the most comprehensive example of Transylvanian Hungarian cultural opposition in Romania. It consists of books, manuscripts, typed texts, private correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other items reflecting Éva Cseke-Gyimesi's cultural opposition to Ceaușescu's regime. The collection allows one to understand Éva Cseke-Gyimesi's criticism exercised through her professional works, her democratic resistance marked by a truly pro-European perspective, and her struggle for human rights illustrated by letters of protest, memorandums, pamphlets, and samizdats which she authored, endorsed, or distributed.
The Zina Genyk-Berezovska Collection at the T.H. Shevchenko Institute of Literature in Kyiv is crucial for understanding the transnational networks underpinning cultural opposition in Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora community in Prague. The latter was largely composed of anti-Bolshevik émigrés that had fled to Czechoslovakia in the 1920s, after their failed attempt to establish the Ukrainian National Republic amid the chaos of the First World War. Genyk-Berezovska was born and raised in this community, studied Slavic languages and literatures at Charles University in Prague, later teaching and translating Ukrainian literature into Czech. Through personal connections, Genyk-Berezovska was also deeply involved in the cultural renaissance in Soviet Ukraine known as the sixtiers movement.
In addition to the more than 800 letters Genyk-Berezovska received from her many correspondents in Ukraine, her archive contains her own works as a scholar of Ukrainian and Czech literature, translator, and prominent community figure, as well as those of her husband Kost’ Genyk-Berezovsky, a philologist who taught Ukrainian at Charles University in Prague. Their family archive served as a repository for materials about prominent members of the Ukrainian émigré community in Czechoslovakia, including the Ukrainian sculptor Mykhailo Brynsky, the Czech writer František Hlaváček, the Ukrainian chemist and statesman Ivan Horbachevskyi, and Petro Krytskyi, a former colonel in the Ukrainian National Republican army, among others. This unique collection highlights both the transnational and the intergenerational dimensions of Ukrainian cultural opposition to communism.
Letter from Nicolae Lupan to Sanda Budiș, in Romanian, 13...
Letter from Nicolae Lupan to Sanda Budiș, in Romanian, 13 October 1984
This letter from the Sanda Budiș Collection reflects the way the Romanian exile community acted to preserve, at least among those who emigrated from Romania, the memory of the territories occupied by the USSR, Bessarabia and Bukovina. An example in this respect is represented by the work carried out by Asociaţia Mondială prin Corespondenţă Pro Basarabia şi Bucovina (The World Association by Correspondence Pro Bessarabia and Bukovina). The Association was founded on 1 December 1950 in Paris by the Romanian diplomat Nicolae Dianu. The initial name was the Pro Bessarabia Association, modified on 27 November 1955 to the Pro Bessarabia and Bukovina Association, and from 1975 it became the World Association by Correspondence Pro Bessarabia and Bukovina. In 1955, the headquarters of the Association was moved to Brussels, where the leaflet Pro Basarabia and Bucovina together with a series of volumes about the two Romanian provinces were published by the Nistru Publishing House. Between 1975 and 1989, the Association was coordinated by Nicolae Lupan. Its purpose was, on the one hand, to preserve the memory of Bessarabia and Bukovina among emigrant Romanians. On the other hand, it was designed to attract the attention of politicians and international public opinion to the history of these former Romanian provinces. Many exiled personalities were actively involved in the activity of this Association, including Sanda Budiș, who joined it in 1984. On 13 October 1984, Nicolae Lupan, the president of the Association, sent her a letter, the typed original of which now is preserved in the Sanda Budiș Collection at IICCMER. In this letter, Nicolae Lupan congratulated and thanked her for her desire to join and contribute to the Association. On the same occasion, he sent her a membership card and some advice on how she should act as a member of the Association. She was informed that members’ activity was varied, consisting in: organising the commemoration of the anniversaries of the unions of Bessarabia and Bukovina with Romania (27 March and 28 November, respectively); publishing reports of these commemorations in the local press in their countries of residence; preparation of documented communications on the issue of these two territories annexed by the USSR and their submission for publication by the Association at the Nistru Publishing House in Brussels; supporting the publishing activity of the Association by means of money contributions and distributing its books among Romanians in their countries of residence; the collection of papers, articles, studies, maps, photographs, and newspaper cuttings relating to the Romanian identity of the provinces of Bessarabia and Bukovina with the purpose of centralising them at the Association's headquarters for publishing; explaining, in private and public discussion, the importance of Romanians' solidarity for the integrity of Romania, irrespective of political and religious beliefs; drafting suggestions and proposals on the functioning of the Association; and attracting new members by spreading membership forms.
The collection illustrates Alojzij Šuštar's theological and pastoral work as a priest and archbishop who led the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Ljubljana despite the restrictions on freedom imposed by institutions under the communist government’s control. The Collection includes books, original manuscripts, Šuštar’s published articles and his correspondence and polemics, which demonstrate his critical stance toward Slovenia’s communist regime in the late years of the regime and in the period of transition to democracy.
The German Historical Museum in Berlin was granted in 1991 the user rights for a series of photos from Jürgen Nagel. At the point when the GDR was about to become history, the museum actively engaged in acquiring items which were representative for the regime to overcome. Jürgen Nagel's photos are significant for capturing everyday life in the GDR, culminating with the immortalisation of the autumn demonstrations in 1989 in East Berlin and the last days of the GDR in October 1990.
Archive of the GDR-Opposition at the Robert Havemann Society
Archive of the GDR-Opposition at the Robert Havemann Society
The Archive of the Opposition to the GDR, founded by the Robert-Havemann Society, is the largest and most significant amongst the so-called ‘reappraisal archives’. With its impressive collection of personal documents, the Archive offers a wealth of alternative and contrasting source material to that found in state and party files.
Nicolae Dragoș Collection at National Archive Moldova
Nicolae Dragoș Collection at National Archive Moldova
This ad-hoc collection is related to the activities of the first explicitly anti-communist organisation of the post-Stalinist period that operated in the Moldavian SSR, the Democratic Union of Socialists. The materials within this collection focus on the activity of the founder and main ideologue of the group, Nicolae Dragoș, a schoolteacher who challenged the political and ideological monopoly of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union under the impact of Khrushchev’s “thaw” and aimed at creating an alternative political movement based on a platform of “democratic socialism.” The Dragoș case files, originally held in the Archive of the Intelligence and Security Service of the Republic of Moldova (formerly the KGB Archive), were transferred to the National Archive of the Republic of Moldova in 2012.
The collection includes the documents of the Danube Circle Association, which was a non-governmental organization in opposition to the government’s project to construct a River Barrage Dam near Nagymaros (Hungary) in the 1980s. The Danube Circle movement tried to prevent the construction of the dam with samizdats, public debates, and protests. The Circle was one of the new types of alternative movements, which expanded the base of the “traditional” intellectual opposition.
Memorial to the Revolution of 16–22 December 1989 in Timi...
Memorial to the Revolution of 16–22 December 1989 in Timişoara
The collection belonging to the Memorial to the Revolution of 16–22 December 1989 in Timişoara brings a distinct and quite remarkable civic and ethical dimension to the institutionalization of the memory of the recent past of Romania. The monuments, exhibition spaces, objects, documents, photographs, and personal testimonies included in this collection illustrate the authenticity of the popular revolt that began in the city of Timișoara. To be more precise, the collection illustrates both the huge scale of the armed repression in those days and the extraordinary citizen resistance that the authorities were faced with in this key city for the fall of communism in Romania. The Memorial also includes a research centre and a publishing house, ensuring that there is constant scholarly and editorial activity aimed at developing the potential of the historical resource that it administers.
The collection commemorates the life and historical documents collected by György Krassó, who was a significant figure of the Hungarian democratic opposition in the 1960-1980s. In his political dissident, Krassó was the founder of the Hungarian October Free Press Information Bureau in London. Its documents are a rich source on the late socialist period and the regime change in Hungary.
Ljubomir Tadić was a professor of philosophy, academic, and politically active intellectual over many decades. During the socialist period in Yugoslavia he was a prominent opposition figure and critically minded intellectual who struggled against the Yugoslav system. Ljubomir Tadić’s collection is located in the Archives of Yugoslavia in Belgrade.
Ecological Protests against the Chlorine Pollution in Ruse
Ecological Protests against the Chlorine Pollution in Ruse
The collection was established in the 1980s and 1990s. It includes autobiographical materials, personal memoirs and images connected with one of the first and most important civic and ecological mass protest movements of the 1980s in Bulgaria.
The Prosvjeta collection presents the role of the strongest cultural and educational society of Serbs in Croatia. The association, in addition to the affirmation of Serbian culture and traditions, also sought to enhance the political status of the Serbian people in the Socialist Republic of Croatia (SRC). Therefore, its actions were characterized as contrary to the regime and the association was at first marginalized and then terminated.
Located at the Polish Library of the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) in London, this collection contains approximately 600 posters, calendars and leaflets produced by the Solidarity movement in Poland, and its collaborators and sympathizers in Western Europe from 1980 to 1990. Of particular value are posters printed in France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Norway, Sweden that document the activities of Solidarity outposts in exile, demonstrate grass-root initiatives in support of the Solidarity union in Western Europe, and provide examples of visual, artistic, and satirical projections of anti-communist opposition in communist Poland and Eastern Europe.
Commission for Ideological and Political Work of People's...
Commission for Ideological and Political Work of People's Youth of Croatia (1945-1962)
The Commission for Ideological and Political Work of the People's Youth of Croatia (1945-1962) was crucial in the development of young people regarding their guidance and education based on socialist values. The Commission worked under the aegis of the Communist Party, and its primary task was to monitor all activities that were opposed to the regime. Therefore, the numerous documents in this collection encompassing the period from 1945 to 1962 show different oppositional aspirations and activities of young people in Croatia in the immediate post-war period up to the beginning of the 1960s.
Archives of National Commission of Solidarity Trade Union
Archives of National Commission of Solidarity Trade Union
National Commission of "Solidarity" Trade Union collects, develops, stores, and publishes archival materials of the Independent Self-governing Labour Union "Solidarity”, primarily from the 1976-1990 period. The Archives are located at the National Commission of "Solidarity" head office and serve the purpose of documenting the social phenomenon of democratic opposition in Poland, in particular in the 1980s. Apart from documents it holds audio and video recordings, photographs, and other items. The Archives continuously add and digitise new, both private and institutional, collections from various parts of Poland.
The collection documents the work of Croatian historian and political émigré Nikola Čolak (1914-1996). In 1966, he belonged to a group of academics and thinkers from Zadar, who officially sought to break the Communist Party's monopoly on truth by establishing the first journal not controlled by the Party. After the suppression of this initiative, Čolak was forced into exile in Italy. The so-called Movement of Independent Intellectuals represented the first attempt to create a formal cultural opposition circle not only in Croatia, but in Yugoslavia as a whole, which is recorded through this collection.
The Mircea Carp Collection includes original documents and copies gathered by its creator during his activity as a journalist for the radio stations Voice of America and RFE in the period 1955–1995. This collection is one of the largest collections related to the activity of the Romanian emigration. It illustrates the instrumental role that these two radio agencies played in the case of communist Romania as alternative sources of information and transmission belts between critical intellectuals and society.
The Bulletin of the Democracy International Committee to Aid Democratic Dissidents in Yugoslavia, 1985
The Committee to Aid Democrat 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 Memory of Nations is an extensive online collection of the memories of witnesses, which is being developed throughout Europe by individuals, organizations, schools and institutions. It preserves and makes available the collections of memories of witnesses who have agreed that their testimony should serve to explore modern history and be publicly accessible. The collection includes testimonies of communism resistance, holocaust survival, artists of alternative culture and underground and many others.
The collection 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ‘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 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.
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.
The digital collection of the Oral History Center contains more than 2000 interviews with twentieth-century witnesses, which are divided into different themes and topics, thus presenting a unique collection of professionally created interviews and memories, many of which are related to the theme of cultural opposition.
The Miko Tripalo Personal Papers 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.
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 Mojmir Vanek collection is a unique collection of materials that relate to the life and activities of Mojmir Vanek. The activities of this distinctive, albeit unknown, Czechoslovak exile was very important for the dissemination of Czech music abroad, as well as his activities within the Society for Science and Art, the Swiss branch of which he presided over for many years. The collection is at the Comenius Museum in Přerov.
The Libri Prohibiti’s collection of Czech samizdat monographs and periodicals contains over 17 500 units from Czech samizdat publishers from the 1950s to the 1980s, and more than 440 Czech samizdat periodical titles.
The Miroslav Brandt Papers are deposited at the Collection of Old books and Manuscripts at the National and University Library in Zagreb. It reveals cultural-oppositional activities of Croatian historian Miroslav Brandt, who became one of the consistent critics of Yugoslav regime and its ideology after ending his membership in the League of Communists of Croatia and participating in the Croatian Spring (1967-1971).
The collection contains the personal papers of the émigré writer Vinko Nikolić and the archives of the literary quarterly Croatian Review, which the communist authorities banned in Croatia in 1945. Nikolić re-established the review in Argentina in 1951 and was its editor-in-chief until 1990. Additionally, the collection contains the archives of the Library of the Croatian Review, a publishing house founded by Nikolić in 1957. This rich collection is essential for researching the transnational network of post-war Croatian political émigrés, whose literary works were strictly prohibited and labelled as "hostile propaganda" in socialist Yugoslavia.
The Czechoslovak Students’ Movement of the 1960s Collection (Ivan Dejmal Collection) at the Libri Prohibiti Library contains valuable sources documenting Czechoslovak students’ movement in the 1960s, and especially during the years 1968 and 1969. Materials, which were collected by the leading Czechoslovak student activist Ivan Dejmal, illustrate, among other things, students’ activities during the so-called “Prague Spring” or reactions of students’ milieu to Jan Palach’s self-immolation in 1969.
Rotblat, Joseph, ed. Proceeding of the First Pugwash Conf...
Rotblat, Joseph, ed. Proceeding of the First Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs: Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada, 7-10 July 1957, 1982. Book
The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (popularly called the Pugwash Movement) is an international organisation of scientists and intellectuals who advocate world peace. It has emerged as an international conference on science and global problems, and at the time it was “a significant international factor and channel of communication among scientists,” (Knapp, 1995, 71), primarily discussing the dangers of the development of nuclear weapons.
After each conference, the presented papers were published, but this was not the case with the first conference held in 1957. Only in 1982, on the twenty-fifth anniversary, were the proceedings published with all papers and almost all materials that were then discussed. The first conference was attended by 22 participants (of whom sixteen were physicists, two chemists, one biologist, two physicians and one lawyer) from ten countries (seven from the USA, three from the USSR, three from Japan, two from the United Kingdom, two from Canada, and one each from Australia, Austria, China, France and Poland) (Rotblat 1982, 11).
The first conference ended with a joint warning from scientists from all five countries that had or were developing nuclear weapons that the potential nuclear war would end as a “world catastrophe, with hundreds of millions people killed instantly, and hundreds of millions more dying in the aftermath” (Knapp 2013, 88-89). Croatian scientist Ivan Supek was the first man from Yugoslavia who joined the Pugwash Movement and promoted its ideas. At that time, due to plans on the possibility of developing a nuclear program, the Yugoslav authorities received the ideas of this anti-nuclear movement with scepticism. Thanks to Supek's advocacy, the Yugoslav public became aware of the movement and their activities.
The collection includes the documents of the National Pantheon Foundation. In the 1980s, the Kerepesi Cemetery became an important place of Hungarian national heritage for the National Pantheon Movement. The movement attached messages to the cemetery that differed from the official socialist cultural policy: they emphasized different aspects of the past and in doing so created a potentially critical cultural perspective.
Lazar Stojanović (1944-2017), film director, journalist and intellectual, was one of the most famous cultural dissidents of socialist Yugoslavia. His film “Plastic Jesus” (1971) was declared as anti-communist and anti-state propaganda and led to Stojanović’s three year imprisonment. The collection represents Stojanović’s personal compilation gathered over the previous decades and consists of books, newspapers, posters, catalogues and video materials/films.
The lay Catholic Association Opus Bonum was founded in 1972 as a community of people caring for the preservation of the values of Czech and Slovak Christian culture. Since 1978, it has been holding symposiums in Bavarian Franken, which grew into unique discussions of various streams of Czechoslovak exile. Opus bonum also engaged in charity activities, organized concerts, exhibitions, literary evenings and published publications that spread through Czechoslovakia. Through its activities, it has always tried to help the anti-communist opposition in Czechoslovakia. After 1989, the documentation centre focused on supporting research on the history of domestic spiritual resistance, opposition movements and civic initiatives, as well as on the history of Czech and Slovak democratic exile.
The Fištrović Collection of the Fran Galović Library and Reading Room in Koprivnica contains about 1,300 historical, political, economic and cultural books in English, many of which are the only copies in Croatia. The books were used by a group of Croatian intellectuals in Chicago in the 1990s to address the American public and advocate for a democratic and independent Croatia, which can be considered a final act of resistance to the Yugoslav socialist regime. The authors of some of the books are also intellectuals from the former Yugoslav republics, and their work, published in English, is evidence of their dissent against the Yugoslav system of government.
The collection consists of more than 500 recorded interviews with national (Sąjūdis), dissident and ex-Soviet figures, and from the cultural opposition and informal groups, conducted during two research projects in 2009-2015. It is the biggest database of oral history on the Soviet past in Lithuania.
Iljko Karaman Collection of Court Records on Censorship
Iljko Karaman Collection of Court Records on Censorship
The Iljko Karaman Collection is an archival collection established in 1949 by the Zagreb Deputy Public Prosecutor, Iljko Karaman (1922-2010), who deposited the collection at the Croatian State Archives in 1992. The collection includes unique material related to state censorship practices in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Independent State of Croatia, the People’s Republic of Croatia and the latter Socialist Republic of Croatia until the 1980s.
Call for Protest in Support of the “Arrested” Editors of ...
Call for Protest in Support of the “Arrested” Editors of the Romanian Hungarian Samizdat Ellenpontok, in Hungarian, 20 November 1982
Apart from the official addressees, the “Call for protest” – also included in the Göteborg collection – was published in the most prestigious samizdat of the Kádár era which addressed the “second public sphere,” Beszélő. The “News” column of issue no. 5–6 (December 1982) published it under the title “Cases of Harassment by Police Forces in Transylvania – A Hungarian Act of Protest.” The same edition of Beszélőalso included the fundamental documents of Ellenpontok no. 8 (October 1982), “Memorandum” and “Programme Proposal.”, while the previous numbers (1–4) were published in detail in issue no. 4 (September 1982) of Beszélő. The “Call for Protest” was signed by seventy-one representatives of the Hungarian opposition of the time – writers, literary historians, historians, editors, economists, lawyers, sociologists, philosophers, philosophy historians, translators, film directors, poets, pianists, architects, linguists, journalists, academicians, actors, public writers, sculptors, biologists, ethnographers, and a three-time Olympic champion.
The Call has the following content: “On 6 and 7 November 1982 Romanian state security personnel arrested several young Hungarian intellectuals in Transylvania. They conducted searches in their homes and confiscated documents relating to the political situation in Hungary and Transylvania. The exact number of persons arrested is not known yet. The following names are known: Attila Ara-Kovács, writer-philosopher, Attila Kertész, actor, Géza Szőcs, poet, and Károly Tóth, teacher. In the course of a week several persons were interrogated, among them being the agricultural engineer Lóránt Kertész and his wife Éva Kertész, Márta Józsa, Éva Bíró, András Keszthelyi, a philosophy student, together with the Tóth couple. Some of them, for instance Géza Szőcs, Károly Tóth, and his wife, were physically abused. After a few days Attila Ara-Kovács and Károly Tóth were released on the condition that they cannot leave the city (Oradea) or their homes. We still have no information regarding the whereabouts of the remarkable poet Géza Szőcs, whose name is known in all Hungarian-speaking territories. Not even his closest relatives and friends know where he is. We have reason to suspect that the political police has still not released him. We make an appeal to everyone: protest!We also call on our Romanian friends: please intervene for the release of Géza Szőcs!This call for protest has been sent by its signatories to the president of the Ministerial Council of the Hungarian People’s Republic, to the directory board of the Union of Hungarian Writers, and to the Hungarian PEN Club.” (Beszélő Összkiadás 1992)
The call for protest is not entirely accurate due to the lack of authentic sources. It is mostly based on rumours and assumptions, and although it abounds in information it remains the instrument of the selected few. The moderate form of the collective enforcement of interests, as expressed through the “media outlets” – the samizdat – is obviously an organised one, aimed at improving the situation of those affected. There are no data regarding the immediate effects of the call for protest in Romania, nor whether the leaders of the MSZMP (Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party) too any immediate steps in order to change the minority policy in Romania. At the same time, the official Hungarian circles reproached “in the course of internal discussions” that the call reached international media outlets sooner than the Hungarian government. In December of 1982 the editorial team of Beszélő categorically denied this, arguing that such accusations only “discredit a fully legitimate civil initiative,” and divert the attention from the real issue, namely, “what’s going on with the Hungarian intellectuals in Romania and what can Hungarian public opinion and the Hungarian state do against the serious violation of minority rights.” (Beszélő Összkiadás 1992).
The Archives of Transition 1989-1991 is a project coordinated by the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland and the Chancellery of the Senate of the Republic of Poland. The project aims at creating a public registry of all materials, archives, library, cultural institutions and museums in possession of materials concerning the period of Polish political and social transformation. Archives of Transition consists of mapping the potential partners, researching the content of their collection and putting them in digital registry. The core of the collection of the Archives of Transition are the documents from both Chancelleries obtained from former politicians and activists, representing changes in Polish political, cultural and social context.
The collection Public Against Violence is a large archival collection that documents the activities of this movement during the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and then as a political party until 1992. This collection contains valuable materials, including letters from the public and other documents, thematising the presence of cultural opposition.
Protest message of the International Association for the ...
Protest message of the International Association for the Protection of Monuments and Historic Sites in Romania, in French and English, Paris, 1985
This document reflects the way in which the Romanian exile community organised itself and acted to promote media coverage in the West of the urban systematisation project of Ceaușescu's regime, which tacitly involved the demolition, mutilation, or destruction of the national heritage. The protest message was shared when the International Association for the Protection of Monuments and Historic Sites in Romania was founded in 1985, in Paris. The purpose of the association was to draw the attention of political decision-makers and international public opinion to the communist regime's plan for the demolition of the architectural and urban heritage of Romania. The actions undertaken within the Association focused particularly on the promotion of media coverage of the demolition of the city centre of Bucharest, which the communist authorities planned to reorganise according to their architectural vision. On the occasion of its foundation, the association organised a protest on the streets of Paris, during which it distributed a protest message to participants and passers-by with texts about communist Romania accompanied by photographs of historic monuments destroyed by the communists or scheduled to be demolished or moved. A copy of this protest message was sent by post to several Romanian exiles in order to convince them to join the Association and get involved in unmasking the communist regime in Romania and, in particular, the urban systematisation project of the Ceaușescu regime. This document was sent by the president of the Association, the architect Ștefan Gane, to Sanda Stolojan, a personality of the Romanian exile, who kept it in her private archive. The document, which can be consulted in the IICCMER collection, was written in English and French, in A4 format. The material, titled "Protest: Romania's historical and spiritual heritage is in danger," briefly outlines the consequences of the Bucharest systematisation project undertaken by the Communist authorities since 1977 and some examples of monuments from the historical and spiritual heritage of the Romanians that had been destroyed, demolished, or mutilated by the Ceaușescu regime. Against this background, the association protested, asking for: a stop to the demolition of historic monuments and sites in the country; the re-establishment of the Romanian Historic Monuments Commission, abolished in 1977; and the rebuilding, under the aegis of this Commission and with the help of the International Council for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites and other international organisations, of the demolished historic monuments and sites.
The Nebojša Popov Collection is held at the Historical Archives of Belgrade in Serbia. Nebojša Popov, a sociologist and intellectual, became one of the most renowned antiwar activists in Serbia and former Yugoslavia and was known for his involvement in various intellectual, academic, and political activities critical of contemporary authorities. From 1975 to 1981, Popov's work was deemed politically unsuitable so that he was excluded from academic institutions. This collection contains manuscripts, press clippings, court decisions, appeals, minutes of opposition meetings and round table discussions, book excerpts, articles from academic journals, and about three-hundred books from Popov's private library.
The collection of “suppressed literature“ is the result of an academic project that questioned the established canon of literary history in the GDR and aims to morally rehabilitate the authors of this suppressed literature. The archive is held by the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship.
The private collection of historian Gábor Klaniczay (1950-) includes written, visual, and audio sources from the 1970s and 1980s. These sources all concern the alternative, underground cultural trends, art, music performances, and political oppositional movements of the period. The almost entire series of the samizdat publications from Hungary also constitute an important part of the collection, as do the leaflets and posters from his trips to Paris and New York.
Thuringian Archive for Contemporary History 'Matthias Dom...
Thuringian Archive for Contemporary History 'Matthias Domaschk'
The "Matthias Domaschk" Thuringian Archive of Contemporary History is one of the most important "reappraisal archives" for documenting the history of opposition and nonviolent resistance in the GDR. The Archive is supported by a private association and holds the largest cache of documents and files relating to the GDR in Thuringia. The archive is named after Matthias Domaschk, who died under still-unsolved circumstances while being held in remand by the Ministry for State Security in 1981.
This ad-hoc collection mainly consists of documents separated from the fond of judicial files concerning persons subject to political repression during the communist regime, which is currently stored in the Archive of the Intelligence and Security Service of the Republic of Moldova (formerly the KGB Archive). It focuses on the case of Pavel Doronin, an ethnic Russian and a retired worker who was accused of „anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” and convicted in March 1972 to one and a half years in prison, according to article 67, part 1, of the Criminal Code of the Moldavian SSR. Between 1967 and 1971, Doronin produced a series of leaflets criticising the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which he disseminated in Chișinău and sent by post to several Soviet state institutions and factories. He also posted anti-Soviet messages on banknotes (in vanishing ink) and wrote a number of “anti-Soviet” letters and short texts which he sent to various Soviet newspapers. Some of these pieces contained open appeals to overthrowing Soviet power. Doronin’s case is revealing for the forms that individual protest against the regime – mostly based on social and political grievances – took in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Vons.cz is a unique digital collection of archive materials related to the VONS association, which aimed to track and publish cases of political prisoners and other people persecuted for political reasons. All digitized archives are accessible on the web.
Everyday Life in Southwest Bulgaria during Socialism
Everyday Life in Southwest Bulgaria during Socialism
This fascinating collection sheds insight on generally unknown moments of everyday life in southwest Bulgaria during state socialism, including: the experience of and resistance against collectivization; experiences reflecting the religious policy of the communist regime (e.g. towards Muslims) and others elements of everyday life. The collection is one of the first created by the Balkan Society for Autobiography and Social Communication - Blagoevgrad (BSASC). It mainly consists of oral histories and photographic documentation, which aim to share ordinary people's experience of socialism.
The collection of Zsolt Csalog (1935-1997) covers his diverse activities as a sociologist (he published on sensitive social issues, such as poverty, discrimination, and forms of social deviance), writer (he focused on the underprivileged and marginalized social groups of the Kádár regime), and a former member of the Democratic Opposition