The tape on which are imprinted the voices of two personalities of Romanian culture, Lena Constante and Harry Brauner, is today in the Zoltán Rostás private collection and contains an extensive interview taken with the couple in 1985. Harry Brauner (1908–1998) was a Romanian folklorist and ethnomusicologist of Jewish origin, who came from a family that included other notable intellectuals: his brothers were the surrealist painter Victor Brauner and the photographer Theodore (Teddy) Brauner. Lena Constante (1909–2005) was an artist and folklorist of Aromanian origin, and the author of a number of well-known postcommunist volumes, which were well received by readers of memorialistic literature. The couple were involved in a famous political trial, which had as its central figure Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu, an intellectual of Marxist orientation and an important political leader after 1945, arrested in 1948 and executed in 1954. This political trial was to have been a show trial, like those of László Rajk in Hungary and Rudolf Slánský in Czeschoslovakia, but in the end it was orchestrated behind closed doors, on the basis of false testimonies squeezed out of some of those included among the accused, as in similar cases in the Soviet bloc. In 1954, Harry Brauner was sentenced by the communist authorities to 15 years in prison and Lena Constante to 12. Both were released in 1962, after 12 years, but Brauner had to remain in “obligatory domicile” on the Bărăgan plain until 1964, when all political prisoners were released. The two only got married after their time in prison, while Brauner was still in forced domicile. In 1968, both were politically rehabilitated by Nicolae Ceauşescu, who had initiated a belated de-Stalinization and was reviewing some of the political trials orchestrated by his predecessor, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, in order to gain political capital. After 1989, the Pătrăşcanu trial was one of the most visited subjects out of the whole period of Romanian communism, owing to the political and intellectual eminence of those included among the accused. The interview carried out in 1985 by Zoltán Rostás also includes the couple’s testimonies about political imprisonment and forced domicile, subjects that were and still are of maximum interest for the majority of historians of postcommunist Romania. Here is an extract from Harry Brauner’s reflection on the significance of his experience of incarceration, remarkable for the way in which he synthesizes the essence of the absence of the rule of law under communism in a period in which there was effectively no access to professional analyses of undemocratic regimes: “ZR: Were you really so dangerous that after you had come out of prison they also gave you obligatory domicile? HB: Yes, it seems that I was very dangerous. Much more dangerous than I imagined. But at the same time, I was a good example for all the others, don’t you think? ZR: In what sense? HB: Ah, you haven’t understood what I mean. I was a good example for intellectuals, for artists, for all those who could see an example of what could happen to a man who had done nothing.” The aim of the 1985 interview was broader, however. The recording includes discussions referring to the beginnings of the couple’s relationship, to intellectual life in the interwar and postwar periods, and above all to many details of their contribution to the researches of the Gustian sociological school. “It was, I remember, a single meeting, but quite a long one. Lena Constante spoke significantly more than Harry Brauner, as he preferred to be very concise in the answers he gave me. By the way, he was a character in himself, with a voice and a ceremony of speaking that were quite distinctive. Indeed he is the character in a well-known novel by Marin Preda,” says Zoltán Rostás, recalling the meeting of which the dialogues are preserved on the magnetic tape in his private collection.
The book "The Performance Lesson: Game Method of Inclusion in Literature" was published shortly before Sevdalina Panayotova's death on 27 September 2014. Sevdalina Panayotova was the founder of the "Spectacular Lesson" method for teaching literature through theater.
The book contains a description of the "lesson-spectacle" method developed by Sevdalina Panayotova, and six scripts for dramas adapted from Bulgarian and classic word literature. Sevdalina Panayotova's reading of the literary works is unconventional: she enriched the scenes with descriptions of the time period, she used forbidden literature (works of symbolists, for example), and she directed attention to forgotten or forbidden stories about authors such as the proletarian poets Hristo Smirnenski and Nikola Vaptsarov. Through her works, she taught critical thinking, and civic responsibility.
She began writing theatrical scenes in 1960s and they developed over the years. Each class performed The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; About the Letters, based on texts of medieval Bulgarian literature; Vaptsarov - Eternal and Contemporary and The Mansard of Dreams from verses by symbolists, and other works. Her productions enjoyed great success among her students. The performances of these scenes were innovative, highly artistic, acknowledged by lecturers at the Krastyo Sarafov Higher Institute for Theater Arts (now known as the National Academy of Theater and Film Arts) and directors, and commissions which reviewed amateur theater. Nevertheless, her works also drew the suspicion of the state authorities.
Adrian Marino had an ample correspondence with Romanian intellectuals in exile, a correspondence that is preserved in his collection. It is worth noting the volume and content of his correspondence with the literary historian and critic Matei Călinescu, who defected to the USA in 1973, and went on to teach at Indiana University Bloomington. The letters received by Marino from Matei Călinescu can be found in the original in the files of his personal archive donated to BCU Cluj, while those received by the Călinescu from Marino were copied after 1989 and archived carefully in the collection. In these letters, Marino criticised Romanian literary life, the fierce competition among writers for positions in state cultural institutions in Romania, and the censorship practised by the publishing houses of the time. As their correspondence was monitored by the Securitate, Marino avoided formulating any critical political opinions and confined himself to cultural topics.In the letter sent by Adrian Marino to Matei Călinescu on February 26, 1968, the former congratulates the latter for not being in the country to witness a literary life which he characterises as being “increasingly convulsive and thus sterile” (Marino 2010, 32). The “convulsiveness” was caused by the intensification at the end of the 1960s of the competition between various literary groups for positions which allowed the allocation of financial resources. In this case, the letter addressed to Matei Călinescu (who was in London) is written in the context of the departure of Eugen Barbu – one of the most controversial Romanian writers of the communist period – from the position of editor in chief of the literary magazine Luceafărul (The Evening Star), which was issued by the Writers’ Union of Romania and aimed at promoting young talents. Marino deplored the fact that literary life was “unpredictable” because of the frequent changes of the people who occupied leadership positions in publishing houses and literary magazines, which threatened the prospects of certain of his editorial projects. Dissatisfied with the tense atmosphere within the cultural institutions, Marino proposed withdrawal from public life and wished to emerge himself in his own cultural projects stating that: “We need the passion for study in itself, for itself” (Marino 2010, 32).
In a letter dated November 11, 1989, Alenka Bizjak addressed the editorial board of Mladina in Ljubljana as a reaction to the article ˝Notice Before Expulsion˝ (Slo. “Opomin pred izključitvijo”) by Vlado Miheljak published in the magazine. In the article, Bizjak and the Greens were accused of "ecofascism." In her letter, Bizjak asked the editorial board of Mladina to publish her response to the charges of "ecofascism" and to the disrespect for the activity of the Greens political party that was founded a few days earlier. Bizjak signed the letter as chairwoman of the Greens of Ljubljana. Bizjak expressed her disagreement with the state of society, which was also manifested in media attacks on the then newly-formed democratic opposition, in the following words: "The basic functioning and engagement of the Greens of Slovenia is primarily directed toward issues of human survival in this poor country of ours and the basic prerequisite for their success is a truly democratic and legal state."
In this letter of April 3, 1952, the archbishop of Zagreb, Alojzije Stepinac (1898-1960), who was at the time under house arrest in Krašić, after being transferred therefrom Lepoglava prison, expressed his sympathy to Bishop Vovk after the brutal attack on him in Novo Mesto which resulted in his burning. Stepinac expressed uncertainty as to whether his first letter had reached Vovk. The archbishop of Zagreb encouraged Bishop Vovk to see the positive effects of such a savage attack on one of its bishops for the Catholic Church and also took the opportunity to comment on various Slovenian people, a sociologist whose work he read, a bishop whose visit he received and nuns who were under his care.
The letter reflects the solidarity between the two persecuted men, Stepinac and Vovk, and network they maintained. The letter shows that if the authorities knew about it, the letter would have been confiscated. Now the letter is available to the public and curator of the collection sees it as an example of how a prominent member of opposition to the regime, Stepinac, saw Bishop Vovk as a new symbol of opposition. The letter is preserved in the Anton Vovk Collection, in box number 77. It is freely accessible to the public.
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