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.
Na Zátorách 6, 170 00 Praha 7 - Holešovice, Czech Republic
Show on map
Name of collection
- Milan Šimečka
Provenance and cultural activities
The collection of a prominent Czechoslovak dissident, philosopher and writer originated mostly from 1969-1988, when Milan Šimečka participated in activities of cultural and political opposition. He was one of the most prominent representatives, especially in Slovakia. The most significant part of the collection includes, in particular, Šimek's correspondence with his friend Vilém Prečan, which testifies to the life of Milan Šimečka and about the situation between 1970-1989. Letters have become a peculiar genre of independent creation, a means of self-expression, the sad culmination of which were letters from prison. Besides Havel's letters from prison, the letters of Milan Šimečka are the most famous. Milan Šimečka was arrested and then accused of subversion of the Republic in connection with State security event "Šiklová et al." after the detention of a French truck with exile publications. After a year, he was dismissed without a trial. Already during Šimečks's imprisonment, his letters circulated in writings that his wife spread, and in 1984 they were published in the samizdat edition of Edice Petlice in Prague by the writer Ludvík Vaculík. In this samizdat edition, other samizdat books by Milan Šimečka were published and the manuscripts were stored in the collection. Milan Šimečka was among the forbidden authors who, due to the introduction of censorship, were not allowed to publish their works with official publishers. For his opposition work and for publishing his works in samizdat editions and by exile publishers, he was under the constant supervision of State Security. During the home visits carried out by the State Security, his manuscripts and samizdat and exile literature was often seized. Some of these confiscated things have returned to Milan Šimečka after 1989 and they are also part of the collection. Some of his collection, especially the samizdat and exile literature, was not possible to trace. The collection thus gives testimony to the difficult time of communist totality, which is preserved in his essayist work. After 1989, all of his books were published by official publishers. After the death of Milan Šimečka in 1990, the collection was kept by his wife Eva Šimečková. After her death in 2003, their son Milan Šimečka donated it to Czechoslovak Documentation Center. Here the collection was supplemented by letters sent by Milan Šimečka to his friend Vilém Prečan. In the same year, the collection was handed over to the National Museum. The collection was institutionalized and partly made available to the scientific public.
Description of content
The Milan Šimečka collection mainly contains written documents and personal papers from the 1970s and 1980s, when Milan Šimečka actively participated in the opposition. The collection contains extensive correspondence with historian Vilém Prečan, who went into exile in 1986. There is also a private correspondence between Eva and Milan Šimečka and personal correspondence by Eva Šimečková. The collection contains original letters from prison from 1981-1982 and their samizdat edition. The collection also contains texts by Milan Šimečka from 1975-1989, published in samizdat and exile. In the collections are also books, magazines and clippings from other authors 'and friends' newspapers. To a lesser extent, the collections include correspondence from the 1950s and 1960s and articles about Milan Šimečka. The collection also includes personal documents and materials and papers about posthumously awarded awards. In the collection, personal items from the estate of Milan Šimečka, such as chess pieces made of bread made in prison, glasses and watches, can be found.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 10-99
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 500-999
- other: 10-99
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 10-99
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Show on map
Important events in the history of the collection
- parts are closed to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Hanáková, Jitka
Drápala, Milan. 1992. Milan Šimečka: Bibliografíe díla za léta 1975-1990. Praha: Ústav pro soudobé dějiny ČSAV.
Kusá, Jolana, and Peter Zajac, eds. 1996. Prítomnost minulosti, minulosť prítomnosti. Bratislava: Nadácia Milana Šimečku.
Kmeť, Norbert, ed. 2005. "Spoznal som svetlo a už viac nechcem tmu ...": Pocta Jozefovi Jablonickému. Bratislava: Veda, Vydavateľstvo SAV.
Prečan, Vilém , interview by Hanáková, Jitka, September 28, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection