Opus bonum - Symposiums in Franken
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.
Na Zátorách 6, 170 00 Praha 7 - Holešovice, Czech Republic
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Name of collection
Opus bonum – sympozia ve Frankenu
Provenance and cultural activities
The Lay Catholic Association of Opus Bonum was founded in 1972 in Frankfurt am Main as a community of people caring for the preservation and development of Czech and Slovak Christian culture. The Association established the last abbot of the Prague Benedictine monastery in Břevnov, Anastáz Opasek (1913 - 1999) together with Dr. Vladimir Neuwirth (1921-1995). Both spent years in communist prisons. Opasek was jailed for eleven years, though had an original prison sentence for life imprisonment, to which he was sentenced in a political monster trial on the basis of a constructive accusation as a "Vatican spy". Dr. Neuwirth spent eight years in prison for working in a group of young Catholics who were engaged in spreading faith in Czechoslovakia. Already with its name, the association reported the reference of the Czech Catholic thinker and publisher of Josef Florian, the initiator of modern Christian culture in the Czech lands. One of his book editions was called "Good Work," the Latin translation of "Opus bonum." Thus, this Catholic lay organization was named after this edition. The chairman of the association was Jan Anastáz Opasek from the beginning. Since 1979, Opus bonum has been based in Munich, and has kept an office branch in Frankfurt.
Opus bonum, since the beginning of its existence, has sought reconciliation among European people, especially among Czechs and Germans. Opus bonum was an association of people of good will, especially Christians, people of a democratic nature, who, according to their abilities, spread the contribution of the Czech and Slovak nations to European culture. This legacy was passed on to the youth, especially at the annual youth meeting at the Benedictine monastery in Rohr in Lower Bavaria. 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. The Association, which held various meetings and spiritual meditations and worship, became a place for dialogue of different opinion streams within Czechoslovak exile. Since 1978, the organisation has regularly held exile meetings, a symposium in Franken, Northwestern Bavaria, which has been linked to the original academic weeks at Hünfeld at Fulda. In the context of the preparation and holding of the Franken Symposiums, many interesting documents emerged, which are now the basis of this collection. Historian Vilém Prečan began collecting the materials of the Franken Symposium in 1981, and five years later he handed it over to the newly established exile Czechoslovakian Documentation Centre of Independent Literature (CSDC), which he co-founded and led in March 1986 in Hanover. The collection was continuously added to until 1989. The centre, which moved to Schwarzenberg Castle in Scheinfeld in November 1986, then operated as a literary archive, a specialized library, as well as research, study, information and publishing facilities. CSDC specializes in collecting testimony of independent thinking and creation in Czechoslovakia after 1948, including cultural, religious and political activities, primarily by creating collections of Czech and Slovak samizdat literature. He also focused on the dissemination of independent Czechoslovak literature abroad and, last but not least, they also delivered foreign literature to Czechoslovakia and helped to publish the samizdat literature there. The Centre contributed to maintaining contact between Czechoslovak domestic independent work and exiles, as well as between the Czechoslovak cultural opposition and the West. To a great extent, CSDC helped Czechoslovak dissent and civic initiatives.
After 1989, the documentation centre focused on supporting research on the history of domestic spiritual resistance, opposition movements and civic initiatives, and on the history of Czech and Slovak democratic exile. In 2000, the collections of CSDS were transferred from Scheinfeld to the Czech Republic. Three years later, in 2003, CSDC concluded a gift agreement with the National Museum in Prague. CSDC Collections, including the Opus bonum collection, were handed over to the National Museum, with which the Centre continues to cooperate in making CSDC collections available and processed.
Description of content
The Opus bonum collection - Franken Symposiums, contains materials from the annual exile meetings that Opus bonum held at the holiday centre of the Ackermann - Gemeinde Sudeten Lay Catholic Association in Franken, Bavaria. The first symposium was held in 1978 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia. Thanks to the Christian tolerance of Opus bonum, representatives of various political beliefs regularly attended the meeting. It was possible to involve all those who had a say on the subject, from Catholics and Christians of all denominations to atheists, from conservative thinkers to modernists, from those who came to exile after 1948 to those who came in different waves after 1968. These encounters grew over time in unique discussion clashes within Czechoslovak exile. The collection contains materials from symposiums held from 1981 to 1989, such as invitations, symposia, correspondence, articles and texts of papers.
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 10-99
- memorabilia (posters, flyers, stamps, etc.): 0-9
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 0-9
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
- visits by appointments
Author(s) of this page
- Hanáková, Jitka
Medek, Ivan. Děkuji, mám se výborně. Praha: Torst, 2005.
"Opus Bonum Odpovídá." Accessed January 16, 2018. http://www.teologicketexty.cz/casopis/2008-3/Opus-bonum-odpovida.html.
OPUS BONUM - laické katolické sdružení. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.opus-bonum.cz/
Opus Bonum – Ústav pro studium totalitních režimů. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ustrcr.cz/projekty/opus-bonum/
Placák, Petr. "Lidská práva aneb Člověčenství: Charta 77 na půdě exilové organizace Opus bonum." Paměť a dějiny, no. 4 (2016), p26-140.
Prečan, Vilém , interview by Hanáková, Jitka, September 28, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection