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.
Na Zátorách 6, 170 00 Praha 7 - Holešovice, Czech Republic
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Name of collection
- Jiří Lederer Collection
Provenance and cultural activities
Jiří Lederer's collection was established between 1968 and 1969, when Warsaw Pact troops occupied Czechoslovakia. During this time Jiri Lederer, as a journalist, actively participated in a number of meetings, discussions, protests and demonstrations supporting democracy and protection of freedom of the press and speech. Between 1968 and 1969 Lederer worked at the editorial office of the Czechoslovak Writers' Literary Sheets (Listy), which responded to the relaxing political atmosphere of the "Prague Spring" and themselves contributed to the expansion of the space for free discussion. He also published in Reporter. Jiří Lederer was one of the most prominent journalists of the "Prague Spring". However, he did not agree with the occupation; he considered it to be an improper and detrimental interference with state and society. He advocated small activities that could create and gradually expand the space for the defense of progressive ideas and the realization of original intentions. This conviction was the main reason for his persecution. He spent two months in prison in 1970, and in 1972 he was imprisoned for two years for the article "Poland of these weeks" written in 1968.
In the 1970s he actively participated in the opposition movement, published samizdat, and also sent articles to exile periodicals. In 1977, he was one of the first signatories of Charter 77, signed also by his wife, Elzbieta Ledererová. In January 1977, he was taken into custody and then sentenced to three years' imprisonment.
In 1980, after returning from prison and receiving escalating pressure and threats from state security, he moved to West Germany with his wife and daughter. He moved during the Asanace event, which deprived the State Security of the uncomfortable signatories of Charter 77. In West Germany, he participated in the activities of the exiled Czechoslovak community and continued to devote himself to journalistic work, publishing in exile periodicals and writing for Czechoslovakia Radio Free Europe. Three years after emigrating he died when just 61 years old.
This collection of Jiří Lederer’s works are from his activities during the Prague Spring of 1968 and the period after the occupation of Czechoslovakia. Despite a series of house searches, in which books, manuscripts, correspondence, and personal notes of Jiří Lederer were seized, this collection was protected from the State Security by his wife while he was imprisoned. After Jiří Lederer went into exile, the Lederers took this collection with them when they emigrated. After the death of Jiří Lederer, his wife, Elzbieta Ledererová, donated this collection to Vilém Prečan at the Czechoslovak Documentary Center of Independent Literature (CSDS) exile. In 2003, ČSDS concluded a gift agreement with the National Museum in Prague. The collections of ČSDS, including the collection of Jiří Lederer, were handed over to the National Museum. The collection was institutionalized and partly made available to the scientific public.
Description of content
Jiří Lederer's collection mainly includes written documents and personal papers from the period 1968-1969 when Jiří Lederer, as a journalist, actively participated in the Prague Spring of 1968. There are various documents from the Union of Czech Writers and the Union of Czech Journalists, such as minutes of meetings, reports of activity, newsletters. In addition, the collection contains letters from readers, letters from various committees and trade unions to support the preservation of civil liberties, student strike resolutions 1968, other various texts and statements. Also included in the collection are Jiří Lederer’s notebooks, schedules and other notes from 1969.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 100-499
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 10-99
- memorabilia (posters, flyers, stamps, etc.): 10-99
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 10-99
Date of founding
Place of founding
Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- parts are closed to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Hanáková, Jitka
Prečan, Vilém , interview by Hanáková, Jitka, September 28, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection