Charter 77 Foundation Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
The Charter 77 Foundation was founded in Stockholm in 1978 to support persecuted and imprisoned chartists and dissidents in Czechoslovakia, as well as to support opposition activities in the fight for human rights and civil liberties. The Charter 77 Foundation was led and organised by Frantisek Janouch.
Na Zátorách 6, 170 00 Praha 7 - Holešovice, Czech Republic
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Name of collection
- Charter 77 Foundation in Stockholm
Provenance and cultural activities
The Charter 77 Foundation was established in Stockholm in December 1978, when the Foundation was founded on the initiative of Václav Havel after the Charter 77 movement was awarded the significant Swedish Monismanian Cultural Prize. The main task of the Foundation was to support independent thinking and independent culture in Czechoslovakia and its promotion abroad. An important part of the Foundation's activities was financial assistance to persons persecuted for their cultural, scientific or religious activities, as well as political prisoners and their families. This assistance was provided in close cooperation with Charter 77 representatives in Czechoslovakia in the form of creative scholars to writers, artists, scientists, journalists and other creative workers who were deprived of the opportunity to work in their profession. The Charter 77 Foundation also supported the publication of significant works by Czech and Slovak authors abroad and contributed to the publication of some cultural exile journals. The collection grew gradually with the development of the Charter 77 Foundation in connection with the development of the situation in Czechoslovakia. The humanitarian aid that the Foundation sent to Czechoslovakia was based on the amount of funds that went to the Foundation from various sources. These were contributions from individuals, various organisations from Scandinavia and other countries in Europe and North America. Since 1981, it had been a strong supporter of the Georg Soros Foundation. Assistance to Czechoslovakia was not limited to financial support. Books, magazines, gramophone records, audio and video cassettes, radios, video cameras, and computers in the late 1980s were also contributed. The Charter 77 Foundation has also set up and funded a number of cultural-political prizes aimed at appreciating independent literature and thinking.
The collection was stored at Nortullsgattan Street in Stockholm, where the Charter 77 Foundation was based in the 1980s. The Foundation's collection was made available for scientific research immediately after the Velvet Revolution in November 1989. In December 1998, the Governing Board of the Stockholm Charter Foundation 77 decided that all written documents from the time of the founding of the Charter 77 Foundation to the present will be handed over to the Czechoslovak Documentation Center (ČSDS) for archival processing and scientific use. The relocation of the collection took place in the Autumn of 2000. The collection was stored in 57 boxes and the whole cargo, weighing about one tonne, was transported to Prague in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. In 2003, ČSDS concluded a gift agreement with the National Museum in Prague. ČSDS Collections, including the collection of the Charter 77 Foundation, were handed over to the National Museum. Here the collection is stored in 143 archive boxes.
Description of content
The Charter 77 Foundation's collection captures a significant part of the activities of Czechoslovak democratic exile in support of the opposition movement and independent activities in Czechoslovakia from the seventies until the fall of the communist regime. The collection includes, in particular, written documents on the establishment of the Charter 77 Foundation, its structure, staffing and the work of its bodies from the beginning of December 1978 until the beginning of the nineties. There is detailed documentation on foundation management, fundraising, cost accounting, and other financial statements. An important part of the collection is the preserved correspondence with the representatives of the domestic opposition and the personalities of exile. An extraordinary piece in the collection is from Nobel Prize winner, Jaroslav Seifert - various recordings from a time before his Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded. There are also documents about the Jaroslav Seifert Award for Literature which is awarded annually. The collection contains documentation of humanitarian aid that was sent to Czechoslovakia. The collection features Charter 77 and VONS documents, clip art, videotapes, gramophone records, and audio cassettes. Also, the collection contains documentation on international conferences and festivals where the Charter 77 Foundation participated and supported them.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 10-99
- legal and/or financial documentation: 500-999
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 1000-
- memorabilia (posters, flyers, stamps, etc.): 10-99
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 10-99
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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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
Janouch, František, and Jitka Uhdeová, eds. 1998. The Charta 77 foundation: Twenty years. Brno: Atlantis.
Janouch, František, and Jitka Uhdeová, eds. 1998. Nadace Charty 77: dvacet let. Brno: Atlantis.
Prečan, Vilém , interview by Hanáková, Jitka, September 28, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection