Public Against Violence
Bratislava, Drotárska cesta, 42
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Name of collection
- Public Against Violence
Provenance and cultural activities
The movement Public Against Violence (Verejnosť proti násiliu, VPN) was established on 19 November 1989 at a meeting of cultural and academic figures in Bratislava. It was meant as a spontaneous reaction of the cultural and scientific community to the crackdown by security forces against a peaceful demonstration of students on 17 November 1989 at Národní třída in Prague.
Public Against Violence was established as a free, open, independent association of citizens without binding rules for their activities, without the authorization or consent of the competent authorities, and thus without legal entity.The collection VPN was established by archiving documents of this movement. In the period from 1993 to 1998 part of the documents were stored in the premises of the Milan Šimečka Foundation, part of the documents in a private building outside Bratislava. In 1999, the two parts were put back together. Documents from November and December 1989 and the first half of 1990 were presented at the exhibition in the Zichy Palace in Bratislava to mark the 10th anniversary of the fall of the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia. In the same year, meetings were held between representatives of the Milan Šimečka Foundation and the leadership of the Slovak National Archive, which resulted in agreement with the conclusion of the custodianship by the former. From 22 to 23 July 2004, the documents were transported to the Slovak National Archive.
The historical value of the collection VPN stems from the period in which the documents were drawn up and the part played by VPN in November and December 1989 in Slovakia. In a way, each document has a meaning regardless of how fragmentary it is, including, for example, postal envelopes and Christmas greetings, as each of them tells about the time and emotional atmosphere. Cultural opposition is evident especially in the letters to the VPN, in which people are looking for a culprit, and through their correspondence they identify themselves as the role of the opposition.
Description of content
The establishment and operation of the VPN as a citizens' initiative without a fixed hierarchical structure, and the extraordinary social situation from 17 November 1989 until the end of December 1989, influenced the form and content of documents preserved; it also influenced the fact that some of the documents are not retained or remain in the hands of private individuals – including former members or sympathizers of VPN. This collection contains, among other things, documents from November to December 1989 that were preserved in the former headquarters of VPN, additional views on the internal political situation, negotiations between the representatives of civic initiatives and student movements with the government, negotiations between the representatives of Civic Forum (Občanské fórum) and VPN, documents from various meetings, organizing demonstrations, on shaping the movement of the VPN, various independent associations, forums, initiatives, movements, parties, foundations, signature sheets, suggestions, comments, information, requests, declarations, and correspondence. In the correspondence we can find also personal testimonies and life stories of people who identified themselves as part of the cultural opposition.
- graphics: 10-99
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 100-499
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
- Mistríková, Mária and Marková, Margita and Janšová, Tatiana: Verejnosť proti násiliu (VPN). [Public Against Violence] Bratislava: Slovak National Archive, 2009.
Author(s) of this page
- Stýblová, Magdaléna
Abaffyová, Lenka. Dopisovanie s revolúciou. Politická zmena v dobových listoch občanov adresovaných vedeniu VPN. [Letters to Revolution. Political Change in Letters of Citizens to VPN Leadership] (Diploma thesis, Comenius University, 2011).
Abaffyová, Lenka , interview by Stýblová, Magdaléna, September 22, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection