Ha minden jól megy, 1994. (Irodalmi antológia a Soros Alapítvány támogatásával)
From the outset, one of the main aims and preferred profiles of the Soros Foundation Hungary (HSF), was to provide support for contemporary Hungarian literature through the numerous grants and prizes offered for writers and literary scholars as well as the largescale system of support for book publishers, periodicals, and libraries following 1989–1990. The jubilary anthology of works by 58 writers, which enjoyed the support of the Foundation, was launched to mark the 10th anniversary in order to represent the versatile values of this literary heritage, with a forward by novelist Miklós Mészöly and the title by Péter Esterházy: Ha minden jól megy / If Everything Goes Well on Its Way. It was published in 1994, more or less at the halftime of Soros Foundation Hungary’s support for Hungarian literature, by a new Budapest scholarly publisher, the Balassi Publishing House.
In fact, this special project of literary grants and other forms of support was originally intended to be but a modest experiment to determine whether an alternative patronage system based on private donations by George Soros could work more or less independently outside the prevailing system of communist cultural policy. The call for grant applications was announced, and in early 1985, an advisory board was formed of four devoted middle-aged experts: Miklós Almási, Mátyás Domokos, Ottó Orbán, and Endre Török, chaired by a widely respected senior poet and essayist, István Vas. It was quite clear from the outset that the process of selecting the grantees required considerable attention to detail, and results could only be achieved step by step. Therefore, most of the successful applicants were recruited from among authors who had not been banned or supported by the regime, but rather had simply been tolerated. Dissident writers, who by that time published their works mostly in samizdats, or writers who were more radically critical (such as intransigent poet György Petri) were repeatedly denied support by the party through the co-chairman of Soros Foundation Hungary, an apparatchik who represented the Hungarian Academy of Science. Still, some dissidents were able to secure support later, such as György Berkovits, Zsolt Csalog, János Kenedi, and Sándor Radnóti.
1989 and 1990 brought major changes. The advisory board was renewed and divided into two separate juries: one responsible for belle lettres, another for literary scientific support. Instead of grants, a system of literary prizes was established named after Hungarian nineteenth-century and twentieth-century classic authors, like Endre Ady, Lajos Kassák, Dezső Kosztolányi, Gyula Krúdy, Imre Madách, Sándor Weöres, etc. Furthermore, a set of new projects was launched to provide direct support for literary publishers, periodicals, and libraries throughout the country. During the first ten years (i.e. up until 1994) of the Soros literary patronage program, altogether 330 grantees and 50 prize-winners were given support. Most of them were original, middle-aged talents, including several Hungarian poets and novelists from Romania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia, such as Lajos Grendel, Elemér Horváth, István Szilágyi, Ottó Tolnai, János Székely, Árpád Tőzsér, and László Végel.
The Sirje Kiin private archive was formed as the result of the professional and creative activities of the journalist, literary scholar and critic Sirje Kiin (b. 1949). It includes material from the early 1960s to the early 2000s. Its most valuable parts are the very extensive correspondence with many cultural figures of the day, and diaries in which, among other things, the cultural and political climate of the 'hot' autumn of 1980 is described. Starting with protests by youth against the russification policies, and the suppression of these protests by the security forces, it led to the writing of a famous letter by 40 intellectuals, an open letter from Soviet Estonian cultural figures protesting against the increasing russification.
Zoltán Kallós’s Ethnographic Collection constitutes one of the most successful individual attempts at saving folk culture. This collection of material and spiritual items was carried out with the purpose of preserving not only the Hungarian cultural heritage, but also the ethnical diversity of the Transylvanian Plain (CâmpiaTransilvaniei in Romanian; Mezőség in Hungarian), as well as the collective identity of the Roman Catholic population of Moldavian Csángós. The collector successfully defied the political practice of the Romanian communist regime that aimed at socially and culturally homogenising Romania.
This ad-hoc collection comprises a series of archival materials relating to the activity of the musical band Noroc (officially known as the Noroc Vocal-Instrumental Ensemble). This group of young musicians reached the peak of its popularity during the period 1968–1970. Noroc represented one of the most important examples of an alternative musical style and subculture not only in the Moldavian SSR, but also at the all-Union level. Its members practised an original genre mixing local folkloric elements and Western influences (mostly jazz, rock, and beat). Due to the ”subversive” character of their music, the band was dissolved by the Soviet Moldavian authorities in September 1970. The materials in this collection were selected from Fonds No. 51 (Fonds of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Moldavia), which is currently held in the Archive of Social-Political Organisations (AOSPRM) of the Republic of Moldova. These documents reflect the emergence of a mass youth subculture in the USSR in the late 1960s and the ideological constraints placed by the regime on such displays of an alternative lifestyle.
The Pavao Tijan Collection is 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.
Fond Jana Zahradníčka v Památníku národního písemnictví
Fond Jana Zahradníčka v Památníku národního písemnictví
The Jan Zahradníček Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature is an important resource documenting the literary and Catholic opposition to the communist regime in post-war Czechoslovakia. It includes Jan Zahradníčekʼs poetry manuscripts, written illegally in the 1950s, in Pankrác Prison.
Photo series of spontaneous actions at the chapel: Once we went, May, 1972 (Photo: Dóra Maurer, participants: Miklós Erdély, György Jovánovics, Tamás Szentjóby, Tibor Gáyor)
“There was a grid put across the chapel door, originally from a fence, but applied horizontally and not vertically. Jován stood on it, and the others automatically began to find their places, too. Szentjóby lay down on a branch and stuffed his long hair into his shirt, so his hair was not floating like Jován’s in the photo. Erdély placed himself in the door, bent over, as if he had been glancing out from there, while Tibor lay on the ground, as if that had been another direction, too, and only the smoke of his cigarette revealed which direction was up. Erdély held up a poppy and said that if we photographed it, it might look as if it were the chapel bell. Then they were jumping down from a bench, Erdély, Tibor, and I think Jován, too, as if they were jumping on top of the Badacsony, i.e. as if they had been touching the mountain with the shape of their bodies.” (Dóra Maurer, 1998)
The painting in water-colors named by Kurts Fridrihsons "25 kilometres from Omsk", depicts a scenery from the Gulag camp or its closer environments. Although there are no typical attributes of the camp scenery such as wired fence, watchtowers (probably, because such paintings were not allowed to keep and to send home), mood of the painting is gloomy and full of desperation.
The founder of the Folk Dance House Movement was Béla Halmos. Halmos, as a musician, a folklorist, an instructor, an organizer and the leader of the Hungarian revival movement, supported the Hungarian folk culture and Dance House Movement. The Folk Dance House Archives started to function in 1999. The root of the Archives was the private collection of Béla Halmos, and it continuosly grew thanks to gifts and donations.
The collection presents photos and other documentation of the annual activity of Gallery P.O. Box 17, run by Tomasz Sikorski and Tomasz Konart from the beginning of 1979 to November of the same year. This gallery was a continuation of the activities of the Mospan Gallery, closed in December 1978. It had no localization - it only had a mailbox. Gallery, by courtesy, were using the space of Dziekanka Students' Art Center and Stodoła Club. At the same time, Sikorski and Konart planned to use the form of mail art. The collection, preserved and developed by Sikorski, is a unique testimony, characteristic for neo-avant-garde art in Poland in the late 1970s.
Ladislav Mňačko Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature
Ladislav Mňačko Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature
The collection of Ladislav Mňačko (1919–1994), a Slovak writer and former prominent Czechoslovak journalist, consists of unique correspondence, manuscripts, prints and clippings which help to describe the life of this significant writer, who after August 1968 was a critic of the communist regime and a representative of Czechoslovak exile literature.
For the Democratization of Art Collection at the Museum o...
Nelu Stratone - Colecție privată de înregistrări muzicale
The Nelu Stratone collection is one of the most impressive collections of rock, jazz, and folk records created in communist Romania, as a result of the happy combination between its owner’s exceptional passion for alternative music and his ability to acquire records that were not imported officially. The collection is important not only for its size, but even more for the significant number of albums of Western provenance, which were unavailable in shops in Romania but could nevertheless be obtained due to the existence of an alternative market for such products. The creation and preservation of such a collection were activities regarded with suspicion by the communist authorities in Romania, because they proved the younger generation’s fascination with Western cultural products, in contravention of the spirit of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s Theses of July 1971.
Koncert rock grupe Azra u Gospiću, 1978. Fotografija
The photo shows the first line-up of the band Azra in Gospić in October 1978. The concert was part of the first tour of Azraorganized by Polet. The first line-up consisted of Branimir Johnny Štulić, Jura Stublić, Marino Pelajić, Branko Hromatko and Mladen Max Juričić. In 1979, Jura Stublić, Marino Pelajić and Mladen Max Juričić left Azraand founded the group Film. With Azrasoon reformed by Johnny Štulić, the group Filmbecame one of the leaders of the new wave scene not only in Zagreb but also throughout Yugoslavia.
After the strike in Gdansk in August and September 1980 and the establishment of the Solidarity trade union, which meant the beginning of the fall of communism in Poland, Štulić wrote the song "Poland in my heart." It expresses explicit support to events in Poland, and mentions Wojtyla, i.e. Pope John Paul II. Among the young people in Yugoslavia, this song was perceived as a call to freedom from communism and cultural disagreement with the older generation who were in the Party.
After one concert and eight studio albums, Azra broke up in 1990. After several changes in the original line-up, group Filmcontinued to perform and still plays today under the name Jura Stublić & Film.
The temporary collection "Forms of Resistance" is dedicated to the artistic opposition against the communist regime in Bulgaria from 1944 to 1985. The exhibition highlights different forms of repression against particular artists at particular moments during the period of state socialism. It also shows the active role of some painters, as well as their forms of resistance against the dogmas of Socialist Realism and against ideological guidance. The upper time limit is the beginning of the perestroika in the Soviet Union, which marks the beginning of the final disintegration of the system of state socialism, also with regard to the political control of arts.
Declaration on the Name and Status of the Croatian Litera...
The Mihai Stănescu collection illustrates the portfolio of the most corrosive critic of the communist regime in Romania to come from the community of cartoonists. In the last decades of the Romanian communist regime, cartoons were an efficient weapon of social and political criticism, and Mihai Stănescu was one of the most daring and most well-known exponents of this type of critical discourse.
The Hungarian Soros Foundation (HSF), founded in May 1984, was George Soros's first pilot enterprise in the one-time communist bloc, years before he opened his similar Beijing, Moscow, and Warsaw offices in the late 1980s or establish his foundation network in the early 1990s throughout Central and Eastern Europe. During its 23 years of public operation, the HSF spent more than 150 million dollars by providing grants, stipends and other means of support for artists, writers, scholars, and students, and it ran several new cultural and educational, social, and health projects and remained the main supporter of NGOs and civil society in Hungary. By breaking many taboos before and after 1990 with its challenging new policies, especially in the cultural field, the HSF was strongly opposed by both the communist and nationalist protagonists of state-controlled culture. Its grantees and supporters saw its main mission as the preservation and nurturing of the spirit and values of ongoing cultural resistance.
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 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.
In 1963 the painter and graphic artist Roger Loewig was arrested following his first privately organised exhibition in East-Berlin. Throughout the regime, Loewig denied socialist realism artistic forms of production, while his artworks were considered subversive. After almost one year of imprisonment, Loewig was released in the GDR with the support from the Protestant Church from West Germany. Loewig’s release on three years probation could not be prevented. It was only 1972 that the artist could leave the GDR and settled in West-Berlin. Following his death in 1997, Loewig’s private fine-arts collection was bestowed by the Roger Loewig Association. This was founded in 1998 in Frankfurt Oder. Since 2000 the fine-arts legacy of the artist is preserved by the Federal Foundation for Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship. This aims at facilitating the scientific documentation and preservation of Loewig' artistic legacy. The literary and biographical works are currently on hold at the Academy of Arts in Berlin.
The Berlin Archive "Song and Social Movements" collects reports from the GDR singer- and songwriter movement from the 1960s onwards. The materials that are managed by a non-profit organization show how difficult it can be to investigate cultural opposition between the extremes of supporting and opposing the state.
Costina, Sorin. Cum am devenit colecționar, 1989. Manuscr...
Costina, Sorin. Cum am devenit colecționar, 1989. Manuscris nepublicat
In May 1989, Dr Sorin Costina decided to sum up on paper the principal steps by which his passion for collecting art had developed. The result of this effort of memory is an eleven-page text, typed single-spaced, in which are mentioned the most important landmarks of an unusual and spectacular passion. “Also in the years 1962 to 1963 I had my first contacts (as Paul Neagu puts it) with thevisual, or the visual arts. A first shock, an exhibition from the Dresden Galleries seen at the Museum of the Republic (I still remember the reviews, my favourite magazine in those years: second-rate works and rather weak with the exception of Titian’s Lady in White). For what I was then, it was a great festive event,” recalls Sorin Costina, speaking of one of his first encounters with the visual arts. He places his first encounter with contemporary art two years later: “Finally, my first contacts with contemporary art took place in Iaşi in 1965.” According to his notes, on 16 August 1969 he bought his first picture, The Bridge of the Turk, a scene in the old town of Sibiu by Ferdinand Mazanek. The price was 138 lei. His records of his purchases of items of visual art were kept in detail until 1989. According to this unpublished document, Sorin Costina bought most of the works that today make up his private art collection from galleries and studios in Bucharest. The last sentence of this testimony is particularly relevant for the way in which Sorin Costina conceived his own collection: “The marginalisation of all that is best in Romanian culture explains my ability to approach these figures of great value while unfortunately not rising to their level.” Small extracts from this document (which is also an account of the life of Dr Sorin Costina) have been cited in various texts about Sorin Costina’s life or within several autobiographical texts by the author himself. The text has never been published in its entirety. The manuscript is to be found in Sorin Costina’s private collection.
Jan Čep Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
Jan Čep Collection of the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre
Jan Čep (1902-1974) was one of the most prominent representatives of modern Czech prose. His collection contains his manuscripts of radio reflections, which he wrote for Czechoslovak Radio Free Europe. Through his reflections, he tried to face totalitarianism and spiritually strengthen people "at home".
Blatný, Ivan. Old Addresses, in Czech, 1979. Typescript
The Doina Cornea Private Collection is an invaluable historical source for those researching the biography and especially the dissident activities of the person labelled by the Western mass media as the “emblematic figure” of the Romanian resistance to Ceauşescu’s dictatorship. This collection comprises manuscripts of her open letters of protest, her diary, samizdat translations, correspondence, drafts of her academic works, photos, paintings, video recordings, and her personal library. This private collection is by far one of the most significant and valuable collections reflecting the cultural opposition to the Romanian communist regime.
“After the reaction of the state apparatus, Slobodan Tišma cancelled his public art practice and, together with Čedomir Drča, created several works and staged several performances that focused deeply on the death of utopian projects and the end of modernism. It was interesting that after the state’s reaction most of the artists, sooner or later, reduced their presence within the cultural scene, some amongst them stopped working or started to symbolically respond to the new situations that surrounded them. There were works like Invisible Art, Invisible Band and Invisible Artist that were part of a time-based performance called The End that took place between 1972 and 1977. During this period Slobodan Tišma and Čedomir Drča drank American Coca-Cola and Russian kvass every day with friends in front of a local store. This performance presented an ideological and political dimension for the desired autonomy of art; declaring the avantgarde’s artistic acknowledgment of the defeat of art in the battle with the ideological state apparatus.” (The Continuous Art Class, 2005, p. 19 – 20).
This took place during rehearsal breaks of the bands they formed during these years. There is very little photo documentation of this period both because photography was expensive and because the participants themselves did not give too much importance to these performances. One of the few photographs from this period is in the possession of Čedomir Drča, and it depicts him wearing a T-shirt with the inscription The End.
Era Milivojević, Taping the Artist, 1971/2007, performanc...
Era Milivojević, Taping the Artist, 1971/2007, performance, Student Cultural Centre
Era Milivojević first carried out the work ‘Taping the Slave’ in 1969, followed by ‘Taping the Mirror’, while his first performance, ‘Taping the Artist’, was staged at the exhibition in 1971. In the words of the artist, a performance is created by including the person in the work itself. This is a photograph of the performance enacted in the Student Cultural Centre in Belgrade. The photograph records the creation of a living sculpture produced by the artist himself, Era Milivojević, in collaboration with another artist, Marina Abramović – the taped artist.
The work was incorporated into the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007 thanks to funding provided by the City Assembly of Belgrade.
Cassette covers of unofficial Czechoslovak music groups from the 1980s, 1988. Book
The Audiovisual Section of Libri Prohibiti contains three “books” – sheaves of paper – made from covers of cassettes of unofficial music groups from 1980s Czechoslovakia. The sheaves were made by the State Security (StB) from items confiscated during the prosecution of Petr Cibulka, a political activist and collector. During the 1980s, Cibulka recorded both concerts and amateur studio recordings, which he then produced and distributed in his samizdat record label S.T.C.V. (Samizdat Tapes & Cassettes & Video). Cibulka’s collection – hundreds of recordings and covers – was probably the biggest private collection before 1989. Cibulka was, because of these activities, sued in 1988 and imprisoned for “unjust enrichment” and his collection was confiscated by StB. The sheaves should have been evidence of his activities. A lot of original cassette covers were made from photo paper. The “books” therefore testify to the originality of producers of samizdat recordings. The item was presented on the travelling exhibition COURAGE “Risk Factors: Collections of Cultural Opposition” between 21 September and 28 October 2018 in the National Monument in Vítkov, Prague.
Mihajlov, Mihajlo. “Moscow Summer” (in English), 1965. Ma...
Mihajlov, Mihajlo. “Moscow Summer” (in English), 1965. Manuscript
The manuscript of Mihajlov's travels, “Moscow Summer,” written in English is in the box 28. The text was the fruit of Mihajlov's visit to the Soviet Union in the summer months of 1964. Mihajlov supported Nikita Khrushchev's reforms and the program of de-Stalinisation, and he criticized the changes in the Soviet leadership after Kruschev’s fall. This criticism alarmed those in charge of Yugoslavia’s foreign policy, since it could once more undermine Soviet-Yugoslav relations, which had normalized in the mid-1950s.
Referring to the publication of the first two essays of this book, Tito himself called out Mihajlov in February 1965 as a result of pressure from the Soviet ambassador due to his criticism of the new political course following the fall of Khrushchev in the autumn of 1964. Despite censorship of Mihajlov’s essays in Yugoslavia, American politicians and the public were interested in Mihajlov's case precisely because of his stance on the Soviet Union during the political upheavals in the upper echelons of the Soviet party in those years.
The beginnings of the Video Studio Gdansk are connected to the I National Congress of “Solidarity”, organised in Gdansk in 1981. At first, the independent “Solidarity” filmmakers documented the union’s most important events, however soon the first documentaries were produced. Video Studio Gdansk has been operating for almost 40 years, and its archive today consists of several thousands of video materials. It mostly comprises own videos, created by the Studio: raw footages (of the most important oppositional events, like strikes, clashes, protests), documentaries, reportages, few feature films, and numerous recordings of television theatre, public debates, cultural events, etc.
Mattis-Teutsch, Hans. Manual workers and intellectuals, [...
Mattis-Teutsch, Hans. Manual workers and intellectuals, . Painting
The work belongs to Hans Mattis-Teutsch’s constructivist period. According to the art historian Gheorghe Vida, constructivism was assimilated by Mattis-Teutsch at the time of his involvement in the Romanian avant-garde during the 1920s and at the beginning of the 1930s (Vida 2009, 80). During this period, Mattis-Teutsch collaborated closely with groups of avant-garde artists formed around the cultural publications Contimporanul, Integral and Alge, sharing the artistic vision of these groups, as well as their socialist views. His artistic vision marked by constructivism was theorised in his work Kunstideologie. Stabilität und Aktivität im Kunstwerk published in interwar Germany (Mattis-Teutsch 1931). This vision, which sees art as a “messenger” of the “new man” in the “technological era without traditions,” is marked by the mobility and rhythm of modern life (Mattis-Teutsch 1977, 76–79). The work and rhythms specific to modern man are also central themes in this painting from the end of the 1920s, and the title of the work is a direct reference to the relationship between intellectuals and the proletariat in Marxist ideology. As with all the works of Hans Mattis-Teutsch created during the interwar period, this item could not be displayed during the 1950s due to the fact that the avant-garde techniques were in contradiction with socialist realism.
Lebel, Jean-Jacques. Hommage a Robert Filliou, 4 April, 1...
Latvijas Padomju rakstnieku savienības 5. kongresa materiāli, 1965. gads
At the 5th Congress of the Latvian Soviet Writers' Union in December 1965, the younger generation of writers and the more liberal section of the older generation managed to oust from the Union's Executive Board the five most notorious defenders of Socialist Realism and the Communist Party line in literature. A more liberal leadership of the Union was elected. In speeches at the congress, the younger generation of writers spoke out in favor of more creative freedom, against censorship, for the rehabilitation of the pre-Soviet literary heritage, and about the possibilities of getting more information about Latvian exile literature and world literature in general, and protested against the ban on the Jāņi midsummer festival. Although the Latvian Communist Party Central Committee was unhappy with the results of the congress, it had to put up with them. The congress was an important turning point in Latvian literature, and in the history of the Writers' Union, which changed from being an obedient follower of the Communist Party into an organization which was willing and able (although within certain limits) to defend creative freedom and the national culture.
Balio Sruogos kolekcijoje daug įvairių dokumentų, įskaitant užrašus, rankraščius ir susirašinėjimus su kitais lietuvių rašytojais. Dokumentai gerai iliustruoja intelektualų ir rašytojų situaciją sovietų Lietuvoje valdant Stalinui. Sruogos romano Dievų miškas rankraštis, parašytas 1945 metais, yra ypač vertingas. Rankraštį labai stipriai kritikavo valdžios organai ir cenzūra. Lietuvos TSR jis publikuotas tik 1957 metais.
Molnár Geregly és Rész István: Anna Frank Emlékest (Spion...
Molnár Geregly és Rész István: Anna Frank Emlékest (Spions), 1978 (plakát)
This offset poster represents a significant event both in the history of the Hungarian new wave and in Tamás Szőnyei’s personal story. This was the first item of Szőnyei’s collection. He received it as a present from his painter brother, György Szőnyei. The poster advertised an art-punk act by a certain “Anton Ello” and “Pierre Violence,” who are Gergely Molnár and Péter Hegedűs of the band Spions. They used pseudonyms and their band’s name, Donauer Video Familie (that eventually turned into the not less ironic Spions), was not displayed either. The potential audience would have had little clue of what to expect.
The event was entitled Anne Frank Memorial Evening, and the name Anne Frank appeared on the poster as well. One of the band’s songs was “Anne Frank’s Dream,” which is a violent apocalyptic vision: it is initially about a coercive sexual act with Anne Frank before the Nazis discover her. The text is also open to a variety of figural meanings, one being that the perpetrator is the totalitarian political power itself and listeners of the song are all Anne Franks whose best chance for gratification is to be assaulted before the quickly approaching death. “No future?”—the poster questioned with an homage to the Sex Pistols.
The band Spions had a huge impact on the new wave in Hungary, despite the fact that they could not release an album, and performed no more than two (!) times in Budapest and on one single occasion in the city of Pécs. The band grew out of a lecture series on the history of rock music that was held under the auspices of the Society for Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge (TIT), an institution of public education supervised by the Ministry of Culture. The lecturer was Gergely Molnár, who analyzed texts by Lou Reed, David Bowie, Roxy Music, and the Kraftwerk in an event at the Ganz-Mávag factory, House of Culture in April 1977. The opening and closing acts were songs performed by students of the Music Academy, Péter Hegedűs and György Kurtág Jr. Hegedűs approached Molnár to start a band, and they wrote a bunch of songs together. The event advertised on the poster was their first performance. It happened at the University Stage (Egyetemi Színpad) that was founded in September 1957 by the Loránd Eötvös University of Budapest. The Stage was one of the few official spaces where alternative performing acts and concerts could be held. The proto-Spions was the first art-punk band on this venue. The audience was small, but the songs had a greater impact than they ever imagined. These were formative experiences for such cult bands as Kontroll Csoport, Európa Kiadó, or URH, and their inspirational, witty songs were played throughout the 1980s.
The performance at the University Stage, however, was interrupted by the director of the venue, who went to the stage and explained that the concert had to be cancelled because of “technical reasons.” There is no clear evidence that the disruption was politically motivated, though witnesses say that it did sound bad. Nevertheless, it was made into a political issue by the artists when the next concert was advertised with a poster that used the image of the director of the University Stage interrupting the first performance. The poster contained another direct provocation to the officialdom of the regime. It featured the song “Ungvári Tamás” that bears the name of a famous public intellectual of the Kádár regime as its title. Ungvári was notorious for committing large numbers of factual mistakes in his works, which was noticed by many at the time; but this alone, perhaps, would not have provoked Molnár to devote an entire song to him. But Ungvári also aspired to write on popular music and counterculture with no fewer mistakes: fans, for instance, counted over 3,000 factual mistakes in his bestselling book on The Beatles. Such things, and Ungvári’s antipathy towards the alternative scene, inspired the lines by the Spions: “you mixed up, Tamás / Lennon with Lenin, Tamás / alliteration, Tamás / not politika, Tamás / but poetica, Tamás.”
The Spions provoked the interest of the political police, and there is extensive reporting on Molnár and his circle’s activities in the Historical Archives of the State Security Services (ÁBTL). For instance, Molnár’s private English teacher regularly informed on him, and the agent was instructed to provide a lot of homework for the musician in order to keep him busy and prevent him from “subverting” the system. Extensive practice of verb conjugation paid off well for Molnár: he emigrated to Canada in 1978 and never looked back. Hegedűs also left Hungary, coming back only after the regime change. The memory of the short-lived Spions and their songs, however, remained in the country and inspired an entire generation of new wave artists.
The central part of the painting shows artist Mića Popović with his back turned, looking onto a dynamic scene. A group of agitated animals, apes, is depicted in front of him, which he is passively observing. The ape is a frequent motif in this series of scenes. The ape is the animal closest to the human being. According to Darwin’s theory, ape and man can be traced to a common ancestor. Apes often imitate human movements. The picture reproduces Popović’s pessimistic relationship to the world and modern society. The expressions of the agitated animals suggest approaching danger, alluding to society and the despair and uncertainty looming in the modern world. This is a metaphor for social management in late socialism. Both people and society may be likened to apes. It is a pessimistic fable of the present and the future. Here, the artist is the observer and witness of events. The work presents a realistic image of the modern world.
Knížák, Milan. Book on the "Aktual" group activities, 196...
Vilniaus universiteto partijos komiteto kolekcija (1945-1986 m.)
Vilniaus universiteto partijos komiteto dokumentų kolekcija atspindi oficialią politiką ir požiūrį į dėstytojus, mokslininkus ir studentus. Universiteto administracija ir partijos komitetas bandė kontroliuoti ugdymo procesą ir mokslininkų bei studentų kūrybinę išraišką. Kita vertus, šios kolekcijos dokumentai padeda geriau suprasti lietuvių tyrėjų ir studentų kūrybines ambicijas, kurios ne visada atitiko oficialią ideologiją.
According to very early notes and recordings, István Darkó began work on Macskarádió (Cat radio) while at high school, in the early 1970s, using stories from his home-made paper Bendzin and his comic-experiment Utazás a világ körül (Journey around the world) together with other writings, and it continued to grow until the end of his university years, in 1978. Darkó's first tape recorder was the famous Hungarian Mambó, acquired from his parents; later he used a SANYO. He was very inventive, because he knew the technical possibilities of the poor-quality tape recorders. He worked not with the switch cabinet but with his hand, manually touching the tape to the recording head during recording. He did everything with one tape recorder and one microphone.
The audio recordings of Cat Radio are preserved on East-German-made tape with the series mark ORWO TYP 120/360 m Double Play, 5/482. The box is labelled “A MACSKARÁDIÓ különműsora” (Special programme of CAT RADIO). MacskarádióI. (Cat radio I.),the full story itself, is on the first track, and Macskarádió II. (Cat radio II.), which is looser in its structure, composed as an evening music programme, is on the second. On a second tape Darkó stored the various sounds needed for the radio play, for example the clacks of train wheels and animal noises.
Cat Radio is not only a studio, but a spiritual place, where things come together, meet, or break up, an occult place, where the arrangement and matching of the stories takes place. All the characters speak through the voice of Darkó, with the bon ton (mannered, polite) Hungarian movie voice of the 1940s. But these are experienced voices; the performer only ever spoke in the sanctuary of Cat Radio when sufficiently aroused. He made the audio recording in stages. The elaboration of each detail, each sequence is mental. According to Péter Egyed, the fact that Darkó created it over such a long period made it an endlessly complicated story. There are at least three levels, though this is hard to realise after hearing it once or even two or three times. Because of its metaphysics and because of its complicatedness it is obvious that the radio play was not made for a broad public audience. The constant element in the events is persecution. The characters are divided mainly in three groups. As a matter of fact there is a battle of intentions going on, in which the secret service type of deception is crucial. It is a matter of make-believe, gullibility; who is capable of reconstructing the true reality in virtual sound fields?
In Cluj and in Târgu Mureș the world, or rather worlds, constructed by István Darkó became known. When wanted to be in his element among his acquaintances and friends, he got out Cat Radio and let them listen to it. They listened to it, word leaked out, and the notoriety of Cat Radio exceeded theoretically and also practically the narrower circle of his friends. There was a mystical quality about it. It did not spread samizdat-like, because there was only one original tape, of which a copy was never made. But the fact that this tape was listened to by 10–20–50–100 people and so on made it a semi-public production. What runs on the tape is a continuous analysis of being. In Darkó's world there is a bit of the Orwellian, the hereafter, the world of passing, of things that have not come yet, that cannot be experienced by living people. In his view of life there is also an extraordinary closeness of death. Let's be careful, because we live in a world in which the other one is contained too, even if we don't want to acknowledge it!
When interpreting Cat Radio, Péter Egyed could not ignore the space and time parameters of its appearance. He believed that the material of Cat Radio could not exist independent of what István Darkó had experienced. Why did he not write something else? According to Egyed the Securitate, the state Party and other official agencies were not well-intentioned administrators of humanity, but people following orders and those orders were not about serving the good of civil society. They – contemporaries – were actually playing something according to the script of the multilaterally developed socialist society. It had to be played that things were all right, but everyone knew that it was actually about something else than what they were playing. In the script there is not real life, but Nothing – but where was real life then? Egyed thought that real life was located in what they experienced in intimacy, and what came up in intimacy, real friendships, love relations etc. Society had a life that supported this, as opposed to that which wanted to destroy it. In the army their officers told them that they, the intellectuals, were not needed for the country, either as intellectuals nor as soldiers. They were the "negligible quantity" and they were made to understand that they did not count from the point of view of the socialist future.
The Irina Margareta Nistor Private Collection includes a series of written documents, together with a few dozen VHS video cassettes preserving a small part of the Western films that were introduced clandestinely into Romania between 1985 and 1989, to be translated and dubbed and then distributed on video cassettes (semi)clandestinely. This collection epitomises a popular culture phenomenon without any equivalent in Eastern Europe, which emerged in Romania as a reaction to the reduction of the official programme broadcast on television channels to just two hours per day and to news broadcasts about the activity of Nicolae Ceauşescu and the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party.
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.
Ivan Blatný Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature
The Jan and Meda Mládek collection is the core of Museum Kampa exhibition. Besides works by František Kupka, an “undesirable artist” during the communist era, there is a broad collection of other works by artists from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland that do not follow the official socialist style.
The informal group of the Six Artists consisted of Raša Todosijević, Era Milivojević, Marina Abramović, Zoran Popović, Neša Paripović and Gergelj Urkom. The work of these artists began with the establishment of the Student Cultural Center in Belgrade in 1971. It lasted to 1973, when each of them started working independently. Their artistic activity was above all a resistance to the existing practice that was being taught in the framework of school programs at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade. They advocated the establishment of a modern approach to the reconstruction and functioning of artistic institutions, as well as to redefining the effects of art. The accent started to be set on the artist as a subject and to his authorial speech, "speech in the first place". The artists began to introduce new media into art (installation, bodybuilding, photography, film, text ...).
Scrisoarea lui Petru Lucinschi către Comitetul Central al PCM (în limba rusă), 11 decembrie 1970
Following the official decision to disband Noroc in September 1970, the members of this group found a temporary job at the Tambov Philharmonic Orchestra in Central Russia. This provoked a swift reaction on the part of the Moldavian Party establishment. Three months later, in December 1970, the leader of the Moldavian Komsomol (and future high Party dignitary and later president of the Republic of Moldova in 1997–2001), Petru Lucinschi, sent an official letter to his superiors in the Central Committee complaining about Noroc’s continued existence and frequent tours organised in various Soviet cities, despite its harmful ideological impact on “Soviet youth.” It is rather doubtful that this initiative came from Lucinschi himself. It was probably a move orchestrated by the Party leadership in order to legitimise its further actions and claim that it had support from below, i.e., from the representatives of the republic’s youth. In his letter, Lucinschi uses the customary Soviet jargon, claiming that Noroc “deviated more and more from the generally accepted norms of behaviour” expected from a Soviet musical group. The band is directly accused of ignoring the officially approved “programme, which suffered significant changes, especially in those cases when Noroc had tours beyond the republic’s borders.” Lucinschi does not fail to mention the “discontent” regarding Noroc’s “repertoire and behaviour” expressed in various letters sent to the Komsomol and local newspapers, invoking the public’s reaction as a legitimising strategy. The main grievance against Noroc and its musical style, in the Komsomol leader’s interpretation, concerns “the ethics of behaviour during the concerts and the quality of the repertoire.” In a revealing phrase deciphering these cryptic remarks, Lucinschi openly states that the band’s condemnation by the authorities derives from its “performances of musical pieces mainly authored by various English, French, Italian, and American Beatles” (sic!). This letter is also interesting due to Lucinschi’s parallel between Noroc and a similar Soviet musical group – the Leningrad-based band Poiushchie gitary (Singing Guitars), which also featured Western beat and rock music in its repertoire, coupled with modern arrangements of traditional Russian songs. Referring to a recent concert by the Poiushchie gitary held in Chișinău, Lucinschi hints at the danger represented by such musical trends, qualifying the Leningrad band’s music as “even more condemnable” that Noroc’s. This is due, on the one hand, to the “agitation among a certain part of our youth” (note the striking similarity to the language used by the letter from the Odessa party leadership). On the other hand, almost half of the songs performed during their concert “were borrowed from a different, foreign repertoire, completely alien to Soviet youth.” The real purpose of this letter becomes obvious from the seemingly innocuous conclusion, which states: “the republic’s youth is perplexed by the fact that this disbanded musical group was hired… by the Tambov Philharmonic orchestra and continues to tour the country… under its old name, Noroc.” The effect of this letter was immediate and radical: the members of Noroc were fired from the Tambov Orchestra and had to seek new employment in a small Ukrainian city. Lucinschi’s role in the whole affair was somewhat ambiguous: while playing the role of an ideological vigilante in December 1970, he was instrumental in assisting Noroc’s leader, Mihai Dolgan, to recreate the group under a new guise and name, Contemporanul (The Contemporary), in 1974. However, it is clear that Noroc’s deviation from the official ideological norms and its openness towards (and propagation of) Western musical trends were the real cause of the band’s demise. In an ironic twist, Lucinschi himself admitted, in a later interview, that the Noroc phenomenon became so popular due to its resonance with the wider youth subculture: “However hard the system tried, it could not control and curtail fashion, music, dances… i.e., the most elementary and necessary attributes of the young generation. Despite all the efforts made by the authorities, these things could not be stopped, because one simply could not stop the air we breathed. Two parallel worlds already existed in our society.” (Poiată 2013: 184).
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.
The twelfth issue of the “Sci-fi magazine” was published in Teplice in 1983 and was the last to be published by the sci-fi club in Teplice. In this issue, a religious story was published that caused the founder to prohibit further publishing of the magazine, which in the short term led to the club being closed. It was probably due to the story of Eva Novakova, which she called "How It Was with the Whale" and refers to the Old Testament story of Jonah and the Whale. This event did not slow the activity of others, rather the fanzines grew throughout the country.
Documents of Moldavian Union of Cinematographers (MUC). F...
Inconnu Art Group. State security photos of a banned exhibition
The exhibition entitled “A harcoló város/The Fighting City, 1986” was organized by the amateur artist group Inconnu to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The police banned the event on the opening day and destroyed the artworks. However, before that, an agent took photos of the compositions. Thus, the secret police itself created, through the act of destruction, a group of sources which is today the single visual trace of the exhibition. This photo collection is kept in the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security Forces (Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára – ÁBTL).
Ferenc Fejtő was an original, democratic leftist thinker. His library is a unique trace of the criticism of Eastern European rightist, authoritarianist, socialist dictatorship, and Western European leftist romanticism. Fejtő, who maintained strong connections with European intellectual elites, left Hungary for France in 1938, yet remained deeply committed to the fate of freedom-lacking Eastern Europe.
Scrisoarea oficială a Secretarului Comitetului Orășenesc de Partid Odesa către Secția Cultură a CC al PCM (în limba rusă), 29 iulie 1970
By the second half of 1970, Noroc had reached a wide and growing popularity. Its frequent tours throughout the entire Soviet Union were tolerated and encouraged by the local Moldavian leadership, including for financial reasons. However, the strategy of dissimulation applied by its members, which presupposed the existence of two parallel programmes and repertoires, led to dire consequences. Between 15 and 18 July 1970, Noroc gave a series of concerts in Odessa, a city where it had performed before and where it had received a particularly warm reception. The concerts took place in the city’s central park, at the Summer Theatre. Inspired by its recent success at the Slovak music festival Bratislavska Lira, the band unleashed a frenzied and violent reaction on the part of the Odessa audience, which included a number of “Soviet-style hippies” and other “marginal” elements representative for underground youth subculture. In its enthusiasm, the mob yelled, smashed seats and ultimately set the Summer Theatre on fire. These events, which were reminiscent of a Western rock festival, placed the party authorities on high alert. The Odessa party secretary, Ovcharenko, remarked that Noroc had “provoked the discontent of socially active citizens and of the vast majority of the audience” even during its previous performances. This time, however, things had apparently got much worse: “Its recent performances provoked a particularly unhealthy agitation among a certain part of our youth, mostly among fans of ultra-fashionable foreign jazz music.” Ovcharenko then harshly condemned “the ideological and artistic quality” of Noroc’s performance, which he found “vulgar and low-brow” [nizkoprobnaia]. He also questioned the group’s professionalism, since, in his view, the band displayed a “lack of any elementary musical culture.” Ovcharenko’s decision was rather harsh, demonstrating the genuine alarm of the Soviet authorities: “it is henceforth prohibited for the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra to plan” Noroc’s concerts in Odessa. The band was thus effectively banned from the city. In conclusion, Ovcharenko expressed his wish to see another kind of Moldavian music, one that would exhibit “a vivid, professional form and a higher ideological and artistic level.” This attack by the Odessa party officials was coupled with a press campaign in the local newspapers in Odessa and Vinnitsa (another Ukrainian city where Noroc had performed that summer). Several letters from angry members of the audience blasted the band for its Western style and “un-Soviet” behaviour on stage. The letter from Odessa seems to have been the main argument behind the official decision to dissolve the band in September 1970. The members of Noroc were informed about their fate by the director of the Moldavian Philharmonic Orchestra, Alexandru Fedco, on 10 September 1970. However, the official decision was only issued on 16 September. The order of the minister of culture of the Moldavian SSR, Leonid Culiuc, approved by the head of the Cultural Section of the Central Committee of the CPM, Pleshko, mentioned the “frequent complaints of the public” as the ostensible reason for Noroc’s suppression. The band was purportedly dissolved for “gross violations of repertoire policy” and for transgressions of “the norms of artists’ behaviour on stage, which are in contradiction with the tasks of our youth’s communist education.” The authorities thus recognised the subversive character of Noroc’s music and, by implication, of the lifestyle it represented. Even despite the intentions of the musicians, the regime construed any deviation from the accepted cultural and social norms as a threat to be addressed and removed as soon as possible. There are obvious parallels between the musical field and similar tendencies in Moldavian literature and film, where any intimations of “Western” influence became a target for official crackdown in the early 1970s. Noroc’s emblematic musical hits were effectively banned until the Perestroika period, while its members had to find new formats for their careers. The phenomenon of “Moldavian rock” epitomised by these musicians remained, however, significant as an anticipation of things to come.
Tomasz Sikorski Collection on Art on the Streets in Poland
The collection of Art on the Streets in Poland 1962-2015 is a unique collection of photos documenting various manifestations of creative activities in public space from the last few decades. The creator of the collection, Tomasz Sikorski has accumulated an extensive photographic collection, which also includes photographs made available by other artists. The concept of "art on the streets" allows you to juxtapose self-employed graffiti and happenings, performances and installations created in the public space by avant-garde and neo-avant-garde since the 1960s.
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 legacy of composer László Lajtha provides insights into to the strategies adopted by an urban middle-class intellectual who made efforts to preserve the traditions of pre-communist classical cosmopolitan and national culture. By collecting cultural artifacts that would have been considered potentially oppositional by the regime, Lajtha, who was an internationally renowned composer, tried to sustain links to European culture across the Iron Curtain and to officially suppressed cultural values of religion and minority culture abroad.
Two dolls within which photo-films with the images of Opanas Zalivakha’s paintings was smuggled from Soviet Ukraine to the US
In their smuggling operations, the Smoloskyp couriers used various ways to obtain and to transport samizdat and other materials of the Ukrainian cultural opposition from Soviet Ukraine. Manuscripts were usually copied as microfilms, hidden in luggages or parcels (in souvenir dolls, busts of Lenin or Shevchenko, etc.). In order to smuggle materials, Smoloskyp agents sometimes used official Canadian Communist delegations that visited Ukraine, as their luggage was checked less thoroughly on the border. Unbeknown to them, Smoloskyp agents attached microfilms to their luggage or talked them into carrying some souvenirs (with microfilms hidden inside).
Nowadays, two doll-containers are displayed on the Smoloskyp permanent exhibition in Kyiv as a symbol of the creative agency of both Ukrainian cultural opposition and Ukrainian diaspora in building hidden communication channels and making the case of the Ukrainian oppositional movement internationally known.
Cs. Gyímesi, Éva. Gyöngy és homok: Ideológiai értékjelkép...
The collection is made up of the papers of the avant-garde multimedia conceptual artist Hardijs Lediņš (1955-2004). It reflects his activities, and those of his collaborator Juris Boiko (1954-2002), as well as a number of their friends who were at the centre of alternative culture in Latvia in the 1970s and 1980s.
Orwell, George. 1984. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga, 1967. Knjig
Alenka Puhar is the author of the first translation of George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 into Slovenian, and at the same time into the language of any communist country. Puhar translated the novel in 1967 when she was still a student and it had a great influence on her. This was primarily reflected in the fact that the book gives its reader a device for critical thinking, which helped Puhar compare the society in the novel 1984 to Yugoslav society and come to comprehension that they are similar totalitarian systems. This knowledge determined Alenka Puhar’s future professional path.
The collection contains the first printed version of the novel 1984 which was translated in 1967, but does not include Puhar’s manuscript, which she handed in to the publisher. She did not keep the manuscript.
The establishment of the Béla Balázs Studio was initiated by young film professionals in 1959, but it was officially founded only in 1961. It served as a training studio for freshly graduated filmmakers, where they could make films that were not produced to be screened. Through its board, which consisted of elected members of the Studio, the BBS enjoyed partial autonomy over the redistribution of the yearly budget. Beginning in the 1970s, they started to involve “outsiders” in the activities of the studio, which became increasingly marked by two parallel tendencies: engaged forms of documentary and experimental analysis of the language of cinematography.
Censored Theatre and Cinema Ad-hoc Collection at CNSAS
The Censored Theatre and Cinema Ad-hoc Collection at CNSAS (the Romanian acronym for the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives – Consiliul Național pentru Studierea Arhivelor Securității) illustrates how the Archives of the former Romanian secret police, the Securitate, recorded the intervention of censorship to hinder the development of cultural opposition in Romanian theatre and cinema during the communist regime. The documents of the collection show that despite the gradual strengthening of political control over the cultural sphere beginning with the late 1960s, Romanian directors and actors managed on several occasion to bypass censorship. As a result their artistic work running counter to the official cannon, which reinforced socialist realism after the Theses of July 1971, reached a large audience, albeit only for a short period. This collection highlights the case of one of the few Romanian directors banned by the communist regime, Lucian Pintilie. His biography epitomises the destiny of a Romanian artist whose refusal to reach any compromise with the political authorities contributed to his marginalisation in Romanian cultural life while at the same time his work was acclaimed abroad.
The No Art Collection is a part of the Anti-Museum founded by Vladimir Dodig Trokut. It consists of characteristic avant-garde and post-avant-garde artefacts. The Anti-Museum’s No Art Collection was established during the many years of Trokut’s activity as a member of the informal cultural opposition, which was supported by prominent individuals and public personalities, such as artists and politicians like Koča Popović and Jure Kaštelan.
The Rock Museum was established in 2014 as a grassroots initiative by former musicians, experts, and collectors. The museum is the first collection in Hungary that presents documents and items of importance to the Hungarian rock and popular music scene (with an international and primarily regional focus) from the late 1950s to the present. Generally, the phenomenon of rock music under state socialism is considered a form of cultural resistance.
Casual Passer-by Collection at the Museum of Contemporary...
Casual Passer-by Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
The Casual Passer-By Collection by the Bosnian-Herzegovinian conceptual artist Braco Dimitrijević consists of eight photographs and two posters (portraits) created in Zagreb and Belgrade in 1971. The photographs and posters (portraits) were the foundation of his three performances from the "Casual Passer-by" series staged in Yugoslavia. They were subversive performances in which the author hung portraits of chance passers-by in public spaces, otherwise intended for executives, in this way questioning established forms of communication in the public space of a socialist state.
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.
Documents of Moldavian Writers’ Union (MWU). Fond P-2955 ...
Major, János. Living Tombstone, 1973. Performance documentation
János Major started to document tombstones as photo actions towards the end of the 1960s. These works not only served as the basis for Major’s conceptual artworks in the 1970s, but also for his only body art work performed at the Chapel Studio. The action Living Tombstone (the title was given by Galántai) took place in the frameworks of the exhibition organized between June 24 and July 7, 1973 with artworks by Miklós Erdély, György Jovánovics, and János Major. During the action, Major stood on a stone block, which served as a pedestal with an inscription on it: “MAJOR (NEUFELD) JANCSI / 1934-19.. / You lived for art / You became its martyr.” An issue of Pravda, the newspaper of the Soviet party, lay under his feet. The self-ironic action (the artist as the artwork) can be considered a continuation of Major’s ironic etchings and tombstone photos, being broadened to a “self-art” piece.
The collection of the Szabédi Memorial House encompasses the literary heritage of various Hungarian Transylvanian writers and intellectuals after 1918. The end of World War I and the subsequent treaty of Trianon in 1920 put an end to the free development of the Transylvanian literary tradition, until then part of the wider national Hungarian literature. Under Romanian rule, the previously mainstream literary activities became suppressed, and the preservation of the literary heritages was considered a subversive activity.
The Brașov–Orașul Memorabil Collection gathers more than 4,500 scanned copies of personal and official photos illustrating the history of this Transylvanian city, everyday life in Romania under communism, the programme of so-called urban systematisation conducted during Ceaușescu’s regime, and the popular resistance to this arbitrary policy.
Lovinescu–Ierunca Collection at Central National Historic...
Lovinescu–Ierunca Collection at Central National Historical Archives (ANIC) Bucharest
The Lovinescu–Ierunca Collection at the Central National Historical Archives (ANIC) in Bucharest is arguably the most important collection created by the Romanian Diaspora in Paris. The collection illustrates not only Monica Lovinescu and Virgil Ierunca’s interest in the subject of dissent in Romania but also how their activity at Radio Free Europe (RFE) created a transnational network of support for those who decided to speak against the regime.
Songs from Taizé were originated in 1982 in the Capuchin Church in Bratislava and spread on separate xerox prints. Songs were secretly recorded on tapes such as Zdravas Mária (Hail Mary) in 1987 and Verím, že je to možné (I believe it is possible) in 1988. Songs from Taizé were officially released in 1990 by Carmina Sacra. Katarína Horváthová, Pavol Kaločaj, Pavol Bulla participated in the realization of the songbook from the 1980s.
Photography of Edward Dwurnik Action "Wykonanie portretów...
Photography of Edward Dwurnik Action "Wykonanie portretów psychologicznych studentów D.S. Babilon"
The photography made by Tomasz Sikorski documented Edward Dwurnik’s painting action Wykonanie portretów psychologicznych studentów D.S. „Babilon” (Making of psychological portraits of the students from ‘Babylon’ Dormitory) at the Mospan Gallery. The action took place on May 31, 1976. Between 6 PM and 9 PM, Edward Dwurnik painted 28 images of the students living in the dormitory which the Mospan Gallery was associated with. The portraits were made by acrylic paints on the one huge canvas. The canvas was at the end cut into 28 pieces so every participant of the action could take his or her psychological image with his or her name and surname. Dwurnik’s performance was an exceptional event at the Mospan Gallery, one of a few that were addressed directly to the students from the ‘Babylon’ Dormitory of the Warsaw University of Technology.
Bokros Péter: Kísértet járja be Európát, 1970. (grafika)
The depiction by Péter Bokros shows the figure of Lenin, naked, with a Coca-Cola in his hand. The subtitle cited an altered version of the first sentence of the communist manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Instead of the original opening sentence of the manifest, the infamous lines “A spectre is haunting Europe,” he wrote “An experiment is haunting Europe.” The graphic was created for the exhibition of Inconnu entitled “A harcoló város/The Fighting City, 1986,” which was a commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution. This artefact, like the other items which were going to be put in display in the exhibition, was confiscated and destroyed by the political police. We know this from the photo documentation made by the secret security forces.
Antanas Miškinis (1905-1983) yra lietuvių poetas ir sovietinis politinis kalinys. Kūrybinę veiklą jis pradėjo dar XX amžiaus 3 dešimtmečio viduryje. 5 dešimtmečio viduryje jis įsijungė į ginkluotą antisovietinį pasipriešinimą, dėl ko buvo sovietinės valdžios nuteistas ir ištremtas į Sibirą. Tremties metu jis parašė romantinių poemų -psalmių. Daugelis jų buvo perrašomos, tremtiniai jas mokėsi atmintinai. Kolekcija susideda iš Antano Miškinio kūrybos, parašytos jo kalinimo Sibire 1948-1956 metais metu: psalmių ir poezijos.
Jerzy Ludwiński Archive at the Wroclaw Contemporary Museum is a permanent exhibition which presents the achievements and works of Jerzy Ludwiński, as well as some items that belonged to him. Ludwiński was one of the most important neo-avant-garde critics and theoreticians in the 1960s and the 1970s. He was a visionary, predicting the evolution of art in a post-art epoch. The exposition is completed with the works of artists befriended with Ludwiński or those who developed his ideas. Gathered materials belong to the Wroclaw Contemporary Museum and to the Zacheta Lower Silesian Fine Arts Association. At the same time, Jerzy Ludwiński Archive serves as a repository, as well as a research space, devoted to developing further reflection on current art.
Home concerts and performances, 1985. Photo montage
Home concerts and performances, 1985. Photo montage
The representatives of the alternative art circle in Pécs, such as actors, puppet actors, literati, artists, filmmakers, and musicians active in the mid-1980s, often took part in gatherings at people’s residences. The pictures were made in the mid-1980s in Nagyszkokó in the loft in Attila Kálóczy’s home, which was known as the “Big Space”. Kálóczy was the guitarist for the bands PUF and “Öregek Otthona” (Old People’s Home). Theater performances, concerts, reading nights, performances, and events linked to exhibitions were also held in other private venues, homes, and ateliers.
Three letters from Mykhailyna Kotsiubynska to Zina Genyk ...
Three letters from Mykhailyna Kotsiubynska to Zina Genyk Berezovska, July-December 1965
Mykhailyna Khomivna Kotsiubynska and Zina Genyk-Berezovska became acquainted in Kyiv during a visit by the latter to the Ukrainian capital in 1964. They became fast friends, Kotsiubynska’s letters accounting for more than a third of the letters sent to Genyk-Berezovska. The letters are now held and the T.H. Shevchenko Institute of Literature in Kyiv, Ukraine. The entire correspondence is the byproduct of a close female friendship, one that was deep and forged during a difficult time. The three letters sent in 1965 show that these two were under surveillance, as their letters were often lost, or more likely confiscated in transit. Kotsiubynska's letter from July 30, 1965 asks why there has not been any word from Genyk-Berezovska. Kostiubynska was particularly aggrieved because she had sent an important letter in which she wrote among other things about the death of a close relative and Kotsiubynska's adoption of her four-year-old daughter. Genyk-Berezovska wrote back sometime later, prompting Kotsiubynska to write a letter on August 21, 1965, underscoring how important this correspondence was to her and asking Genyk-Berezovska to write more frequently. The letter from September 30, 1965, opens with "Zinochka, my dear bumble bee!" Kotsiubynska asks why she has not heard from Genyk-Berezovska and wonders whether she is ok. Kotsiubynska writes that she misses Genyk-Berezovska greatly, especially given what is happening in Ukraine at this time. In Aesopian language, Kotsiubynska explains that things are not going well and that one of their friends has been arrested. "Things are not fun for us right now. Our friend, who has not written you for so long, will not be able to write you again for some time. And it is not his fault." She also asks whether Genyk-Berezovska received an earlier letter, presumably in order to ascertain whether it might have been intercepted by the state security services. When one reads back letters sent between these two women--especially those written in the late 1960s and early 1970s--one can feel the stresses of not being able to communicate regularly and with any certainty. This weighs heavily on Kotsiubynska, who is also under pressure and surveillance from the authorities. In May 1966, she asks Genyk-Berezovska if she has received a letter from Ivan, referring to Svitlychny, who had been released on April 30, 1966 for being "socially harmless." Apparently, his stature and popularity had been so great and the protests against his arrests so numerous, that the authorities opted to release him. The following year, Kotsiubynska wrote two letters that were only ten days apart--July 5 and july 15. In the first, she tells Genyk-Berezovska that she has been fired from her job and expelled from the Communist party. In the second, she says simply "this year has worn me down completely." Through their correspondence, one senses the immense psychological pressure facing literary scholars and human rights activists in Ukraine at this time, though one would also have to read Genyk Berezovska's responses in order to have the complete picture.
Matuzalem – výber 18 kresťanských piesní [Methuselah – A Selection of 18 Christian Songs], magnetic tape and audio cassette, 1983, samizdat. Within the congregations of the UBB, the recordings were distributed in pirate copies. After 1989, a selection of the songs of the Matuzalem band was released on CD.
Subculturile tineretului - Colecție ad-hoc de la CNSAS
The Youth Subcultures Ad-hoc Collection at CNSAS comprises documents created or collected by the Romanian secret police, the Securitate, about the emergence and development of Western-inspired subcultures among the members of the younger generation in Romania, subcultures which the communist regime considered harmful for their education and whose influence it thus tried to counteract. This collection illustrates that young people even in an isolated country like Romania in the 1970s and the 1980s still became exposed via Western broadcasting agencies to Western cultural goods, especially to music, which made them adopt alternative life styles and wear provocative outfits in order to build distinctive collective identities. Out of the many young people who attracted the unwanted attention of the Securitate two cases stand out and are featured in this ad-hoc collection: Clubul Regilor Liberi (The Club of the Free Kings) in Brăila and Organizația Tinerilor Liberi (The Organisation of Free Young People) in Bistrița.
The aim of the C³ video archive is the complete compilation, preservation, cataloguing, archiving and digital transfer of Hungarian video art. Primarily, it was visual artists who began to experiment with this difficult-to-access (due to state control) medium in the second half of the 1970s. Their endeavours were not institutionally supported, with the exception of a few independent workshops. The archive aims to preserve these technologically unstable materials (earlier considered radical approaches to the moving image) in digital format, and, based on research, to make them available in their historical and international context.
Stănescu, Mihai. Vaporul The Future, 1985. Caricatură
Under the title „písačky“ (scribbles) Slovak writer Dominik Tatarka generally described his texts from the so-called Normalization period. Milan Šimečka commented that the word “písačky” contained “deep sorrow of a writer who had been writing in solitude and isolation, without the hope that his manuscripts would be ever a published book, printed, bound and read.” More specifically, “písačky” refers to texts collected in his later book “Písačky pre milovanú Lutéciu” that were created between 1976 and 1978 and were designed as love letters of an older writer to his young lover to Paris. Under the title “Písačky” some texts were published in 1979 already in the samizdat Petlice Edition by Ludvík Vaculík. Miroslav Kusý published about 50 copies of “Písačky” by samizdat in Bratislava but Slovak readers were said to show little interest because they perceived these texts as pornographic. Part of this samizdat edition by Kusý was confiscated by the State Security during one of house searches. In 1984, “Písačky” were published in exile by historian Ján Mlynárik in the Index Publishing House in Cologne. On 23 September 1986, Dominik Tatarka was awarded the Jaroslav Seifert Prize for “Písačky” by the Charter 77 Foundation in Stockholm. The Jaroslav Seifert Prize Committee consisting of Jiří Gruša, Milan Kundera, Antonín J. Liehm, Sylvie Richterová, Josef Škvorecký, Jan Vladislav, František Janouch and “in pectore” Ludvík Vaculík and Václav Havel, appreciated on these works by Tatarka that they “newly developed a genre of human monologue” and also “a bold testimony about a time and so far not reached depths of human mind”. Tatarka learned that he was awarded the prize from the Voice of America broadcasting on the very day. “Písačky” were officially published after 1989 in an edition by Ján Mlynárik (1998, together with “Letters to Eternity” and “Alone against the Night”) and by Oleg Tatarka as “Písačky pre milovanú Lutéciu” (1999, 2003, 2013).
Éva Cseke-Gyimesi - Colecția de la BCU Cluj-Napoca
Familja Radio Warszawa concert-environment, photo, 1985
The Dziekanka Workshop was the space of intersection of many domains: visual arts, theatre, music, philosophy. Among music groups that gave concerts in Dziekanka, one might mention punk bands TZN Xenna and Dezerter, intuitive Ossian, and ephemeral projects set by Krzysztof Knittel, Marcin Krzyżanowski, Mieczysław Litwiński, Andrzej Przybielski, and other avant-garde musicians. Familja Radio Warszawa was related with Dziekanka as well. The group was established by Jerzy Caryk, Kuba Pajewski, and Libero Petrič with the participation of many other musicians, artists, and actors. The group combined musical improvisation with electronic experiments and joyful atmosphere while their performances were enriched with elements of theatre and astonishing scenographies. The photography made by Tomasz Sikorski presented the installation-environment created by Familja Radio Warszawa in Dziekanka, December 28-31, 1985.
Materials on Polish independent rock scene, documents, 1980s
Materials on Polish independent rock scene, documents, 1980s
Documents from surveillance, investigation reports, censorship protocols, song lyrics and photographs - all those materials were created by the State Security in the 1980s during its investigation into the rising punk and rock movement in Poland. Due to the rising pressure from the authorities to document the non-conformist behaviours, the investigation reports are often very detailed.Those materials are dispersed among different bureaus of IPN all over Poland.
Vasyl Stus was an iconic figure of the human rights movement in Soviet Ukraine and one of the leading Ukrainian poets of his generation. Volumes of his poetry circulated widely through samizdat in the 1960s-1980s. While conducting searches, the KGB would find his works in the homes of every writer, artist, chemist, and human rights activist, whose activities were cause for concern. As with many writers, Stus’s struggle with the Soviet regime, particularly his brutal incarceration and torture in a Soviet prison camp, which led to his death in 1985, have in many ways overshadowed his human and artistic legacy. The Vasyl Stus Collection at the T. H. Shevchenko Institute of Literature in Kyiv was donated by the Stus family after Ukrainian independence in 1991, with the aim of popularizing and making more accessible his writings. These materials include previously unknown works, volumes of Stus’s vast correspondence, as well as fragments of writings that survived his imprisonment in strict-regime hard labor camps in Mordovia and Perm.
A Rottenbiller utcai könyvtár populáris zenei gyűjteménye (FSZEK)
A special music collection was created by two librarians in a public library in Budapest. This unique repository was established in the branch library of the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library (Fővárosi Szabó Ervin Könyvtár, FSZEK). The librarians maneuvered among the barriers of the regime and utilized a loophole which allowed them to copy music recordings. The collection consists of recordings of contemporary Western music and alternative Hungarian bands. The materials reflect the tastes of the librarians.
Andrei Partoș – Radio Vacanța-Costinești Private Collection
Artlist is an online database that maps the development of modern and contemporary Czech fine art from the second half of the 20th century. Artlist is a unique project that allows free and online searches of authors and their works, including the artist's biography and catalog, and a detailed description of his work.
The photographies from the Tomislav Peternek collection at the Museum for Contemporary Art in Belgrade document scenes of significant historical protests and conflicts between people and the police in socialist Yugoslavia. In addition to the photographers outstanding faculties in aesthetic terms, the photographies are examples of the modernist current that have intersected with photographic socrealism. The photo from the series "Red University" [Crveni univerzitet] was part of a significant exhibition held at the Belgrade Youth Center [Domu omladine Beograda] right after the end of student protests in Belgrade in 1968 despite the high risk to be threatened by the authorities and the police.
The Goma Movement Ad-Hoc Collection at CNSAS reflects the activity of an ephemeral collective protest for human rights, which emerged under the influence of Charter 77, gathered rapidly about the same number of supporters, but unlike its model, succumbed only a few months later. It bears the name of the main proponent of this movement because this corresponds not only to its canonisation in post-1989 historical writings, but also to the pre-1989 interpretation of the secret police, which focused on identifying the network linking Goma to the other supporters and collecting complex data about all these individuals.
Action Tableau of shaking hands, 1972. Work of art
Professor Kathy Hillman highlighted autographed volumes by Alexander Solzhenitsyn as rare items in the Keston Collection. They require special handling and are not digitized. The publication is the 1974 London Book Club Associates edition translated from the Russian by Thomas P. Whitney. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn personally inscribed the book to Jane Ellis on February 26, 1976. Ms. Ellis worked for the Keston Institute for nearly 20 years, serving on the editorial board of Keston’s journal Religion in Communist Lands (later titled Religion, State & Society), including 5 years as editor. She also founded Aid to Russian Christians (ARC).According to her obituary published by Philip Walters in Religion, State & Society in 1998, the ARC was the first organisation with the aim of systematically supplying material aid and spiritual support to Orthodox Christians in Russia. She remained the organization’s director until 1986. For the first four years of its existence, Jane Ellis ran the organization alone, operating out of a tiny bedsit in London. She wrote hundreds of letters asking for support for faith communities in the Soviet Union. She joined the Keston Center immediately after graduating from the university in 1973, where she translated documents, gave lectures, wrote articles for scholarly journals and edited volumes, and broadcast for the BBC in both Russian and English. She travelled widely within the USSR and wrote two monographs about the Russian Orthodox Church, which were received with acclaim in Russia. She also promoted interfaith discussions and cooperative projects.
The book collection of the exile Hungarian writer László Cs. Szabó is a unique bequest with 11,000 books and many periodicals. It reflects the interests of a man, who refused to do as he was told by the totalitarian regimes. It also reflects an attempt to bring together the different Hungarian oppositional movements.
Predstava Jedan dan u životu Ignaca Goloba. 1977. Novinsk...
Predstava Jedan dan u životu Ignaca Goloba. 1977. Novinski isječak
After a three year long rehearsal period, the performance One Day in the Life of Ignac Golob by the theatre company Coccolemocco premiered in 1977. Preparations for the performance took so long, among other things, due to problems with the rehearsal space, which was finally found in the premises of the Society of Amateurs in Culture and Arts Vinko Jeđut. 25 people participated in the show, most of them from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Branko Matan wrote the libretto, Branko Brezovec was in charge of the direction, Tihomir Milovac made the props, Božo Kovačević provided the voice for Ignac, while Mladen Blaić provided the voices for other puppets. The main backbone of the performance were gigantic three-meter tall puppets, designed and made by Jadranka Fatur.
The performance follows the life of a factory worker, Ignac Golob, through a series of images from his everyday life: Ignac at Work, Ignac at Home, Ignac in a Shop, Ignac and the Sun, ... and finally Ignac and Death. The text by Branko Matan was subtitled "morality play on contemporary life," and engages in a dialogue with the book by Wilhelm Reich, Listen, Little Man! The theme of the "little man", unconsciously concealed in all of us, signifies "that model of ‘non-freedom’ which is the only one still needed by the crazed mass production of consumption" (cited from the program booklet), both in capitalism and socialism. Socialism failed to deal with the contradictions and deceptions of banality of everyday life before which the "little man" Ignac Golob, a factory worker, is helpless and ineffective, but primarily lacks responsibility. His diagnosis of the world is "Let it be what needs to be!"
The performance questions the idealized image of Yugoslav socialist society and through the portrait of the "little man" Ignac Golob and its co-responsibility for the social conditions of the society he lives in, it comes to the diagnosis spoken up by an actor on stage: “(...) if an individual lets the world come out of him, then nobody has a chance anymore.” The performance talks about the responsibility of the little man for “the death of all our languages”.
Gordana Vnuk cut the newspaper articles about the show and stored them in her collection, along with the program booklet, tickets for the show, and other documentation related to One Day in the Life of Ignac Golob.
Gotovac, Vlado, ur. Hrvatski tjednik, 1971. Časopis
Hrvatski tjednik (in its sub-title it was defined as a newspaper for cultural and social issues) was a periodical published by Matica hrvatska (MH) in 1971 (from April 16 to December 3). It was launched at the peak of the Croatian Spring and soon became the primary media through which the MH and a circle of intellectuals gathered around it spread the ideas of this national reform movement. In advocating for Croatian cultural integration and equality within the Yugoslav federation, the paper openly criticised the socialist regime due to its economic-political, demographic and cultural failures. It was the most vocal media of the Croatian Spring that shared the destiny of the movement. After a precipitous ascent, the government extinguished it.
The first editor-in-chief was Igor Zidić (no. 1-13), who was succeeded by Vlado Gotovac (no. 14- 33), while the managing editor was Jozo Ivičević. The editors and authors of Hrvatski tjednik were prominent Croatian intellectuals (Stjepan Babić, Zvonimir Berković, Dubravko Horvatić, Tomislav Ladan, Srećko Lipovčan, Zvonimir Lisinski, Petar Selem, Tvrtko Šercar, Ivo Škrabalo, Hrvoje Šošić, Franjo Tuđman and others). The paper, which was published every Friday on 24 pages, had a circulation of 35,000, which increased over time. The last issue reached a number of 130,000 copies, which was an incredible number for that time.
The rapid spread of the newspaper provoked a reaction by the regime, which began to see it and its publisher as political opposition. Soon the regime declared them a focal point of counterrevolutionary politics and Croatian nationalism. The paper was censored in July (No. 16, July 30), and after issue number 33 of December 3, and the fall of Croatian political leadership at a meeting in Karađorđevo a day earlier, the regime shut down the paper and its publisher. The regime also launched various types of persecution against the most prominent members of Matica hrvatska and its newspaper, from harassment at work, dismissals, to court trials and prison sentences. In 1972, editor-in-Chief Vlado Gotovac was accused of conducting hostile activity against the state and was sentenced to four years of strict imprisonment with an additional three-year loss of civil rights. The editorial board had also prepared issue no. 34 , which was ready to print, but it was never released during communist rule. This unpublished issue with the editorial ("Maintaining Hope") written by Vlado Gotovac, was obtained by émigrés and came to the hands of Jakša Kušan, who published it in the newspaper Nova Hrvatska.
The Matica hrvatska Collection at the Croatian State Archives contains copies of Hrvatski tjednik, including the censored issue of July 30, 1971, and the one with the text of the Supreme Court's decision to censor the issue on the cover. The Supreme Court's decision was printed on the cover instead of the disputed article "A Dramatic Moment for Croatia." In this article, statements by Vladimir Bakarić and Jakov Blažević on the issue of counterrevolutionary activity and the rise of nationalism in Croatia were cited. These statements were followed by critical comments by an anonymous author who rejected
Kljaković, Jozo. Krvavi val: isječci iz suvremenog života...
Kljaković, Jozo. Krvavi val: isječci iz suvremenog života. 1961. Knjiga.
Kljaković wrote this autobiographical political-utopian novel during his émigré period in Rome. He dealt with the crisis of the ideological focal points of his time through the prism of real and fictitious situations, in which Kljaković stood out in particular by sharply rejecting communist ideology. Kljaković's novel was inspired by the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. For this reason, the central character is named Oskar Csokor, who suffered at communist hands in Hungary in 1956. Likewise, the very title of the novel refers to the emergence and spread of communism as a "bloody wave" that flooded the entire world of its time. The book was banned in the socialist period, so its second edition was only published in Croatia in 2011.
Kazio Borutos kolekciją sudaro: rašytojo rankraščiai, susirašinėjimas bei dienraščiai. Visas šis dokumentų kompleksas gerai iliustruoja rašytojo situaciją sovietinėje Lietuvoje. Valdžia įvairiais būdais stengėsi kontroliuoti ir riboti kūrybinę iniciatyvą. Stalinizmo metais Boruta buvo areštuotas ir kalintas.
When Michal Šufliarsky began to collect these items in 1969, his philosophy was that "what is forbidden is good." He worked as an employee of Czechoslovak television in Bratislava in the field of film and television production. His small private collection contains samizdat, recordings of Western music, photos of everyday life during communism, and unique recordings of student events. The activities of Mr. Šufliarsky are a good example of individual rather than political activism.
Mattis-Teutsch, Hans. Composition, . Painting
Artpool Art Research Center collects, archives, and makes available documents for researchers regarding marginalized art practices of Hungary in the 1970s and 1980s and contemporary international art tendencies. Topics in the archive include progressive, unofficial Hungarian art movements (such as underground art events, venues, groups, and samizdat publications between 1970 and 1990) and new tendencies in international art beginning in the 1960s.
In addition to functioning as a research center, Artpool considers itself an active archive. It organizes events in search of new forms of social activity, participates in the process in a formative way, and simultaneously documents and archives these process in order to promote the free flow of information.
Review of Bohumil Hrabal's novel "Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age", 1964
The Czechoslovak Writer Publishing House collection deposited in the Literary Archive of the Museum of Czech Literature (LA PNP) contains sources documenting the course of review processes, which often led to demands for changes to literary works. This was also the case for the experimental text entitled “Dancing lessons for the advanced in age” (1964) written by the well-known Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal (1914–1997). This text was finally shortened by the author following the reviewers’ requirements. “Dancing lessons for the advanced in age” consists of the only continuous and unfinished sentence representing the monologue of the seventy-year-old uncle Pepin who recalls his past. Other sources stored in the LA PNP documents include the prohibition of Hrabal's collection of short stories “Lark on a String”.
Artists' books, became worldwide starting the end of the 1960s a medium of communication between graphic artists, writers, photographers and artists working with new media. Soon this medium was discovered by a young generation of artists in the GDR, who distancing themselves from socialist realism, used it as a vehicle for sharing not only their artistic views as well as dissenting ideas, which eventually draw the attention of the Stasi. This collection of GDR artists’ books has its origin during the GDR times when artists approached the Saxon Library, then active in purchasing graphic art from throughout the GDR.
Serke, Jürgen. Escape to the Madhouse, in German, 1981. C...
Serke, Jürgen. Escape to the Madhouse, in German, 1981. Copy of article
The German journalist and writer Jürgen Serke (b. 1938) dealt with persecuted and silenced artists. At the beginning of the 1980s, he was researching a book about life and work of Polish, Russian, East German, and Czechoslovak poets and writers living in exile. Thus, Jürgen Serke, accompanied by photographer Wilfried Bauer and Czech poet in exile, Jiří Gruša, visited Blatný in Ipswich in October 1981. Then, Serke wrote a report about Blatný and his life in exile entitled “Escape to the Madhouse” (Flucht ins Irrenhaus), which was published in the West German magazine Stern in December 1981. The following year, Serke’s book “Expelled Poets” (Die verbannten Dichter), which also included the report about Ivan Blatný, was issued. Serke’s article about Ivan Blatný in Stern found an echo. After its publication, Ivan Blatný received many letters and gifts, mainly from Czechoslovak emigrants. Some people also came to Ipswich to visit Blatný personally. Then, in 1982, British and Norwegian televisions made a documentary film about Ivan Blatný. Hence, Jürgen Serke, or specifically his article, “Escape to the Madhouse”, significantly contributed to the rediscovery of this almost forgotten exiled poet.
The Ivan Blatný Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature contains Blatný’s copy of Serke’s article.
Pool Window, Artpool, Budapest, 1979—1982. Newsletter
The archive houses the personal estate of the German writer Brigitte Reimann (1933-1973), whose literary criticism of the contradictions between socialist ideals and human needs had a great impact on the public in social reality of the GDR.
Allen Ginsberg, American poet and leading figure of the Beat Generation, arrived in Prague in February 1965. During his stay in Czechoslovakia, he attended several public readings and discussions. At the beginning of May, during the May celebrations, he was elected by students “The King of May”. However, a week later, he was deported by the State Security to the airport and expelled from the country. Later, Czechoslovak press launched a denigration campaign and accused him of “corrupting the youth”.
The Jindřich Chalupecký Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature contains Ginsberg’s address from 1965 written by Ginsberg himself. This address illustrates Chalupecký’s interest in the American poet and probable contact between them during Ginsberg’s stay in Czechoslovakia in 1965. Moreover, Chalupecký’s name appeared in Ginsberg’s diary that was confiscated by the Czechoslovak State Security.
Securitate. Herta Müller’s discussion with a German citiz...
The private collection created and owned by Piotr ‘Pietia’ Wierzbicki contains hardcore punk fanzines, articles, and papers from the 1980s, including the original matrices of ‘QQRYQ’ fanzine edited and published by Wierzbicki from 1985. ‘QQRYQ’ was the leading Polish magazine about the underground punk scene and Wierzbicki became an influential author and promoter on that scene.
Fond Jaroslava Seiferta v Památníku národního písemnictví
Fond Jaroslava Seiferta v Památníku národního písemnictví
The personal collection of Czech poet, journalist, writer and the Nobel Prize laureate Jaroslav Seifert (1901–1986) contains a unique correspondence, manuscripts, prints and clippings documenting the life of the important author, who was a critic of the communist regime from 1950 and a silenced poet and a representative of Czechoslovak independent literature after August 1968.
An item from the Popmuseum’s collection is an Ionika keyboard which was produced in the GDR between 1958 and 1965. It was likely the first instrument of its kind made in the Eastern Block. The instrument, among the Czechs and Slovaks, known as “jonika”, was used by a wide range of bands in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. One of the bands that used this instrument in the first half of the 1960s was, for example, Kometa, one of the first rock’n’roll, twist and big beat bands in the Czechoslovakia. It is said that the instrument often overheated during concerts, thus it was necessary to tune it before every performance. There were not many “jonikas” left after the arrival of better instruments. This is why the Ionika in the Popmuseum’s collection can be seen as rare and it is a unique example related to the roots of rock music in Czechoslovakia.
KwieKulik show "Festiwal Inteligencji i Kraty", photo, 1985
The neo-avant-garde duo of Zofia Kulik and Przemysław Kwiek was frequently performing in Dziekanka in the 1970s and 1980s. In the space of Dziekanka, KwieKulik made performances, showed their art on exhibitions and presentations, took part in discussions and symposiums. As a good example of their activity in Dziekanka could serve the performance Festiwal Inteligencji i Kraty (Festival of Intelligence and Bars) from March 4, 1985. The attached photography showed the artists making the performance.
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.
Latvijas Komunistiskās partijas Centrālās komitejas dokumentu kolekcija
Control of the cultural life in Latvia was one of functions of the Latvian Communist Party (LCP) Central Committee (CC). The collection of documents furnishes rich information about the formulation and implementation of LCP CC cultural policy, about ‘deviations’ from the official path committed by the cultural opposition, and about attempts to use Latvian culture for the political ends of the Soviet regime in 1940-1991.
Fond Dominika Tatarky v Památníku národního písemnictví
Broņislava Martuževa (1924-2012) was a poet and participant in the underground resistance to the Soviet regime. The main part of the collection consists of her correspondence after her release from prison in 1956 until 2000, as well as poetry written while she was living underground in 1946-1951 and in a prison camp in Siberia, copies of the handwritten patriotic periodical Dzimtene (The Motherland) of which she participated in the production in 1950 and 1951, and some other items.
Arsenie Platon - Colecția de la Arhiva SIS Moldova
Arsenie Platon - Colecția de la Arhiva SIS Moldova
This ad-hoc collection mainly consists of documents separated from the fonds 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 Arsenie Platon, a person of peasant background and an aspiring poet, who was tried and convicted in 1961 for displaying nationalist views and for conducting “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” among his friends and acquaintances. Platon’s “anti-Soviet” opinions were mostly expressed in a series of poems and short proclamations in which he criticised ethnic discrimination against the Moldavians and called for the overthrow of Soviet power. This case is emblematic for less widely known forms of grassroots cultural opposition, falling under the same broad category as the cases of Gheorghe Muruziuc and Zaharia Doncev. Platon’s file includes no further information about his fate after the end of his prison term.
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.
The Theater in ‘der Wende’ collection preserved by the Academy of Arts in Berlin documents changes in theatres in the former GDR as well as in cultural politics, covering the period from the autumn of 1989 until mid 1990s. The collection includes twelve theatres from the GDR, but it focuses mostly on (East and West) Berlin and Brandenburg, and three newly emerged theatres, in the context of the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification. The timeframe includes the transformation period initiated in some theatres prior to 1989 until their dissolution or those that completed their transformation at the beginning of 1990s. The materials were selected to showcase the uniqueness of the changes that affected theatres, an institution which was directly monitored by the surveillance mechanisms of the regime.
Alexandru Călinescu acquired his Swiss-made Hermes Baby typewriter around the middle of the 1970s. In general, in shops in communist Romania, the only typewriters to be found were produced in other communist countries, especially East Germany and Czechoslovakia, later also China. The Swiss machine was purchased “on occasion,” as the term was at the time for things bought second-hand, either from shops operating the so-called “consignation” system by which citizens could legally sell to or buy from other citizens, or directly from an “acquaintance,” as was Alexandru Călinescu’s case. “To be precise, I got it from the father of this acquaintance; he wasn’t very interested in it, didn’t use it, and I had liked it from the time I first saw it,” he recalls.
It was on this typewriter that the great majority of the text written by Alexandru Călinescu in the last fifteen years of Romanian communism were typed. In contrast to other types of material connected with his journalistic activity, the typewriter was not confiscated during the search in 1983. “It was registered with the Militia, as the law required at the time, there was nothing illegal about it, so they didn’t touch it,” Alexandru Călinescu recalls. According to the then extremely recent Decree no. 98 of 28 March 1983 regarding the regime of duplicating apparatus, materials necessary for the reproduction of writing, and typewriters, physical persons could only have typewriters, not copiers, and “only on the basis of an authorisation issued by the Militia.” In order to obtain an authorisation from this authority of the communist state, it was necessary, according to this legislative act, to hand in, on acquisition, after any repair, and at the beginning of each calendar year, “a page with the characters of the letters, figures, and orthographic signs.” The decree introduced a strict control over typewriters and other means of multiplying texts in order to limit the possibility of producing manifestos or samizdats. Alexandru Călinescu’s typewriter was, however, a very old model, on which – as he explains – he had to change several ribbons every year, as their quality was poor and they became worn through relatively fast. At present, the Hermes Baby typewriter, which weighs approximately 7 kg, is in Alexandru Călinescu’s private collection and is in good working order.
The tramp song, like other forms of art, is an integral part of the tramp subculture, faithfully capturing its character. The present collection includes tramp song lyrics collected between 1980 and 2017, some of which may date from even before 1980. Dozens of tramp songs are recorded in songbooks, on tapes, CDs, and DVDs and represented here.
The collection commemorates the life and oeuvre of the deeply religious Catholic poet of peasant origin, Gáspár Nagy. His works were repeatedly subject to censorship from the 1970s on, and he became a significant figure of the opposition by the 1980s.
Information on oversight of Jadran film’s activities. 13 ...
Cornel Chiriac During One of His Broadcasts, Munich, 1970. Photo
The photograph represents Cornel Chiriac during one of his broadcasts at the Romanian desk of Radio Free Europe (RFE). Taken in 1970, it was sent together with a letter to his mother in Pitești. Unfortunately, the Securitate confiscated the letter and the photograph and thus they never reached their destination. The picture is very telling for Cornel Chiriac’s passion for music and his rebellious nature. He is smiling to the camera as he is about to play one of the many vinyl records on his desk. His broadcasts at RFE enjoyed huge popularity among Romanian young people. This popularity was partly due to his passion for music, his vast knowledge about it, and the dedication with which he performed his job as radio producer at RFE. The photograph also showed the same rebellious Cornel Chiriac with long hair and beard, and a lit cigarette placed on an ashtray. The outfit, a long-sleeved striped shirt and a jacket on a hook on the wall, complete his rebellious outlook specific to the period. It is interesting to note that, although Cornel Chiriac was the idol of an entire generation, many people were not at all familiar with his face. It is from this photograph in the Securitate files that many discovered the image of their hero after 1989: “The great majority of us did not even know what our hero looked like, but he had become a lively presence, our close-faraway comrade, the protector of our sounding utopia. In a Romania, which was more and more isolated in its unhappiness, the music that Cornel Chiriac offered us represented one of the few open horizons, one of the few breaths of hope” (Jurnalul 2008). Today, the photograph confiscated by the secret police is his most widely circulated image, and it was selected by his fans to illustrate the Facebook page which keeps alive his memory (https://www.facebook.com/Metronom-In-amintirea-lui-Cornel-Chiriac).
Lietuvos komunistų partijos centrinio komiteto kolekcija ...
Lietuvos komunistų partijos centrinio komiteto kolekcija (1944-1953 m.)
Kolekcija suteikia daug naudingos informacijos apie Lietuvos komunistų partijos Centro Komiteto politiką lietuvių inteligentijos ir nacionalinio kultūrinio paveldo atžvilgiu. Kolekcijoje saugomi dokumentai apima dramatiškiausią Sovietinės Lietuvos istorijos laikotarpį.
Olasz, Sándor Private Collection of Banned Literature
Olasz, Sándor Private Collection of Banned Literature
The Private collection of Sándor Olasz, editor of Tiszatáj, a journal banned in the 1980s, about critical, nonconformist literature. The collection is owned by Sándor Olasz’s family: his widow and son.
Everyday Life in Southwest Bulgaria during Socialism
The collection of the Radio Free Europe consists of 17 000 recordings of broadcasts on magnetic tapes and casettes, most of them covering the key historical events in Poland and within Polish diaspora. Polish Section of the Radio Free Europe broadcasted political, but also cultural, musical, religious and entertainment content, created by journalists and writers from Polish diaspora in Western Europe. The Radio was one of the main sources of independent news in socialist Poland.
Emil şi Aurel Cioran - Fondul Documentar de la Biblioteca...
Documents of the Hungarian Democratic Forum (1987-1989)
The Hungarian Democratic Forum (HDF) was the first legal oppositional movement in socialist Hungary. The document material of the HDF, based on the private collection of Sándor Lezsák, is a unique source on cultural resistance during the late Kádár period and 1989.
Rašytojo Vinco Mykolaičio-Putino kolekciją sudaro įvairūs dokumentai: užrašai, korespondencija ir rankraščiai. Kolekcijos dokumentai padeda geriau suprasti intelektualų ir rašytojų padėtį sovietinėje Lietuvoje. Valdžia, pripažindama Mykolaičio - Putino reikšmę lietuvių literatūrai bei kultūrai, taip pat stengėsi įtakoti jo kūrybą. Vėlyvo stalinizmo laikotarpiu partiniai vadovai nekartą griežtai kritikavo rašytoją.
Most specialists and fans of rock music in Romania agree that three albums marked the history of this musical genre under communism: (1) Muguri de fluier (Flute buds) of 1974, an LP by the Timișoara-based band Phoenix; (2) Zalmoxe of 1979, the album by the Bucharest-based band Sfinx, which underwent tedious a three-year process of protracted censorship until its release, although it was named after the famous god of the Dacians, the ancestors of the Romanians who under Ceaușescu’s regime took prominence over the Romans in the myth of common descent; and (3) Cantafabule of 1975 by the same Phoenix. Together with Sfinx, Phoenix was among the most innovative rock bands in communist Romania, and is credited with developing the so-called ethno-rock style. This represented an original synthesis of lyrics inspired from ancestral traditions and pre-Christian folklore with modern sounds specific to progressive and psychedelic rock. More than a decade after their debut, already at the height of their musical career, Phoenix created during the winter of 1974–1975 what remains to this day their masterpiece: the double LP entitled Cantafabule (erroneously printed on the front cover as “Cantofabule”). The lyrics were the work of two very talented poets from Timișoara, Andrei Ujică and Şerban Foarță, who had also collaborated with Phoenix to create their previous hit, Muguri de Fluier. This album, however, was far less oriented towards local sources of inspiration than the previous one, which had highlighted autochthonous pre-modern traditions. For the new album, the two poets took inspiration from Western medieval bestiaries and authored a universal story about a series of mythological creatures, some small and rather innocent, such as the unicorn or the scarab, and others vicious and dangerous, such as the asp and the basilisk. Towards the end of the rock poem, which has fourteen parts, all these fantastic creatures enter into a fierce conflict with each other, which leads to a new beginning. Accordingly, the last piece of the album is dedicated to the fantastic bird of rebirth and eternal return, the phoenix, which gave its name to the band. Phoenix toured entire Romania to stage concerts with this rock poem. During concerts, the members of the band dressed in special costumes to interpret these fantastic animals and used volunteer students to complete the entire gallery of mythological creatures, which were also represented on the cover of the album. Cantafabule was a best-seller of that time, as it seems that half a million copies were sold, according to the estimations of the members of the band. It is from this album that the phrase came which rock fans and the eternal admirers of this band use to greet one another: Fie să renască (Be it reborn). Two years after the release of the album, all the members of the group (except for one) managed to clandestinely cross the border, so all pieces by Phoenix were banned in communist Romania. Yet, the band survived in the collective memory of its fans, while its albums, which became extremely expensive items on the black market, continued to disseminate their music among younger generations who did not have the chance to attend its concerts. The last of the Phoenix albums produced under communism, Cantafabule represents to this day a great achievement due to its original blend of ancestral lyrics and modern music, a genuine masterpiece of rock in Romania.
Fond Milana Knížáka v Památníku národního písemnictví
Fond Milana Knížáka v Památníku národního písemnictví
The personal collection of Milan Knížák (born 1940), a Czech artist, poet and founder of the group Aktual, contains unique books of the events organised by Aktual, one of the sources mapping the life of the provocative artist, the Czechoslovak underground and alternative art of the 1960s.
The Milovan Djilas collection is deposited at the Hoover Institute Library & Archives, located at Stanford University in the United States. It offers an important insight into the life and work of the first and most prominent dissident in Yugoslavia, who was also one of the most notable dissidents anywhere in communist Europe. Djilas had been the main ideologue of the Yugoslav Communist Party and one of the Tito's closest associates when he confronted the Party and Tito in the mid-1950s.
The Istrian Fighter Digital Collection is available at the University Library of Pula website. It is the collection of the first Croatian youth journal Istrian Fighter/IBOR, which was published in Pula from 1953 to 1979 (with two minor interruptions). The journal was published by the Istrian Fighter Literary Club with the objective of preserving the Croatian language in Istria. The journal developed a reputation as a critical media in the 1970s, covering more and more cultural, local and social themes whose tone was not well-received by the socialist authorities, so the financing of the journal was cancelled in 1979 after which it ceased publication.
Kazimiera Zimblytė yra viena pirmųjų abstrakčios dailės kūrėjų. Ji savo kūryboje atsisakė dailės tradicijos, paremtos objektu ir pasakojimu. Savo darbuose ji ieškojo supratimo ir jausenos, esančios už materialaus pasaulio ribų. Šiame konkrečiame kūrinyje (1978) menininkė sukūrė jauseną, kad objektas yra lyg sustojęs ir pakibęs.
Tomasz Konart's "Conversation and Photography" Documentation
Tomasz Konart's "Conversation and Photography" Documentation
In 1978, Tomasz Konart invited Tomasz Sikorski to have a talk about independent galleries. The condition of the talk was that both participants had to take ten photographies of the interlocutor. The very photographies are the only evidence of the conversation. Also, the time of the discussion was strictly fixed to 30 minutes.The documentation of the action Conversation and Photography was published in the catalog of the P.O. Box 17 Gallery. The catalog was edited by both Sikorski and Konart in 1979. It was made of the loose pages of A4 format. One of the pages showed exactly the action carried on by Konart. The work is a proper example of both the ephemeral nature of the neo-avant-garde art and its intellectual ambitions to analyze its own status.
Polja (Fields), magazine for culture and art collection
The FV 112/15 Group Collection is a blend of artistic materials representing the time, social movements, and lifestyle of young people in Slovenia in the 1980s. It documents a central part of Ljubljana’s subculture and the alternative youth movement through the work of an amateur theatre group called the FV 112/15 Theatre and through the activities of three alternative clubs. The group cultivated an ironic attitude toward socialism and deconstructed bourgeois stereotypes.
Seifert, Jaroslav. Všecky krásy světa, 1970/1975. Rukopis