The documentation contains mainly reports, posters, programmes and other material related to the organization of the festivals. These documents are related to the Gombaszög Dal és Táncünnepély(Gombaszek, 1960-1990), Országos Népművészeti fesztivál Zselíz(Central Folklore festival Želiezovce, 1961-1991), Tavaszi szél vizet áraszt népzenei vetélkedő (Tavaszi szél vizet áraszt folklore festival, 1970-1989).
- 931 01 Šamorín Parková 4 , Slovakia
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A file belonging to the ‘Ideological trends’ section contains valuable material for the investigation of political pressure and prohibitions in relation to cultural and artistic work in Yugoslavia. The featured item of the collection consists of documents gathered under the heading, ‘Information on the performance “When Pumpkins Blossomed” at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre by Dragoslav Mihailović’ (KPR II-4-a/73), which encompass party material from 1969 relating to the performance. At issue is a play based on the novel of the Serb and Yugoslav writer, Dragoslav Mihailović. The novel appeared one year earlier but did not generate much controversy. However, the inclusion of the play in the programme of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre in Belgrade alarmed the communist party. ‘The novel was not suited for a theatre production, so I rewrote half the text,’ explained Dragoslav Mihailović in an interview with the Večernje Novosti newspaper (Matović 2016). The play’s story of a Belgrade boxer addressed the topic of violence and for the first time publicly broke the silence about the Goli Otok camp and the political and police torture of dissidents in Yugoslavia at that time. Mihailović, who himself had been an inmate of Goli Otok in the beginning of the 1950s, confirmed that ‘I did not mention Goli Otok in the novel. I only mentioned Bakar, which was the last stop for Goli Otok. Later I mentioned it in the play, maybe because when we were developing the performance, it was openly talked about’ (Matović 2016).
The mentioned documents disclose that the intelligence service of the Central Committee of the Serbian League of Communists reacted straight after the first few performances. The record reveals that criticism was directed at the ideological and ethical messages sent by the play; then objection was made to the inacceptable political attitudes professed by the protagonist, ‘that led to doubt in the policies of the SKJ and our country during the period of resistance to Cominform’. Criticism was expressed about ‘the pessimistic conclusions regarding the fate of the human personality in whatever system, and naturally also in this, our own’, while the insertion of sentences that were not in the novel drew special attention, such as: ‘They are worse than the Germans’ (implying the communist authorities), uttered by the protagonist’s father on leaving the prison. The documents show that all this disturbed the City Committee of the League of Communists which called on the organization of the League of Communists of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre to discuss ‘the ideological content of this drama and the political implications that challenge, in the socio-political and cultural life of the city, putting this work on stage’.
Directly following this criticism, the Belgrade press began to attack the play and leading newspapers consequently wrote about it being, ‘a political pamphlet according to the taste of the likes of the Cominform’. Several documents that in fact represent an analysis of the press by the intelligence service of the Central Committee of the Serbian League of Communists, allow us to follow the development of the situation chronologically from day to day, culminating in Tito’s remarks regarding the play. At the congress in Zrenjanin at the end of October 1969, he said, ‘It seems there is something shadowy in the head of the author who in every way attempts to prove that our society is no good. And who says so. That’s written by someone who was at Goli Otok. The number of those who think and talk like that is very small. (...) There are individuals who spit on the accomplishments of our revolution and on the victims who fell in that struggle, but not once have shown that they do not love this country. They do not love this society; they do not love socialism and don’t belong to it with their being. But, once again the same ones are popping up who at the time of the Informbiro [the break from Cominform] revealed who and what they are. We will not undertake administrative measures. I don’t think that arrests are necessary now, but it is the responsibility of the communists to disenable those who deal with such affairs. The voice of our public must be strong and decisive in relation to such incidents’.
Soon after this speech by Tito, the play was removed from the programme of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre. In their analysis about how institutions like the Yugoslav Drama Theatre remember the dark sides of their history, Dragićević Šešić and Stefanović proposed the term “institutional trauma” when referring to “censorship and self-censorship, rejection of creative dissident personalities, etc.” (Dragićević Šešić and Stefanović 2014, 13). They also maintained that “the trauma in Serbian theatrical censorship was linked to the fact that there was no official censorship. That message would be transmitted mostly by telephone to theater managers, and then through a complex procedure the collective "decided" to remove the performance from the stage. Therefore, it was more traumatic than as it would have been in the situation of real state censorship.” (Dragićević Šešić and Stefanović 2014, 19).
The file of Robertas Grigas is in seven volumes. They include many documents on his surveillance, his letters and manuscripts, as well as his diary from 1978 and 1979.From 1976, Robertas Grigas (b. 1960) participated in the activities of the underground organisation Friends of the Eucharist. From 1978 to 1982, he studied the German language and literature at Vilnius Pedagogical Institute. He was one of the dissidents who took part in publishing and disseminating the underground journal Vytis, and he collaborated with The Chronicle of Lithuanian Catholic Church. During his military service in the Soviet army, he publicly refused to swear the oath of allegiance to the Soviet state. From 1985 to 1988, he studied in an underground seminary for priests, and in 1987 he was secretly ordained a Catholic priest. He published his collection of poetry Benamės svajos (Homeless Dreams, 1985) secretly, and has also published the book of memoirs Rekrūto atsiminimai (Memoirs of a Recruit, 1993).
Trokut’s sculpture Red Corps from 1968 is a work that connects the symbolic universalism of the crucifixion and material suffering (playing with the word corpus). The symbolism of the colour red represents the revolutionary spirit, both in art and politics. The conceptual performances in which Trokut was involved reflected criticism of the communist regime from the standpoint of the left avant-garde (Red Peristyle intervention, the Red Sea action).
The doll was donated to the Sighet Memorial by Doina Cornea, together with other original objects, among them some samizdat materials, probably the only ones produced by Romanian dissidents. These are texts that Doina Cornea translated from French, multiplied with her typewriter using thin paper in order to be able to produce as many copies as possible at a time, and circulated among her students at Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj. The doll has a special story, connected to the transmission of Doina Cornea’s dissident texts across the border. “The doll was donated in 2002; at the time, we were working to gather documentary material for the exhibition dedicated to dissidents and opponents of communism in this country. She gave us her letters, and she also gave us the doll in which some of the letters had been hidden. It was a doll from the 1980s and belonged to her granddaughter. Mrs Cornea put the letters in the doll, and when her daughter and her children crossed the border, nobody bothered to check the doll. It is a doll that was filled with texts,” explains Ioana Boca, the executive director of the Civic Academy Foundation.
The story of this remarkable doll is representative of a significant episode in the story of dissidence in Romania. According to Ariadna Juhas-Combes, Doina Cornea’s daughter, this doll carried the letter that Doina Cornea, together with other signatories, addressed to Pope John Paul II to attract his attention to the persecution directed at members of the Greek Catholic Church in Romania, which had been suppressed in 1948 by union with the Orthodox Church. “We listened to the letter broadcast by Radio Free Europe on 23 August  here together, and we stayed as long as we could, until the start of school. I realised that nothing would happen as long as we were here, my husband, the children, and myself. And then we left, taking the letter for the Pope. We took it in a doll [laughs]. My little girl, who you’ve seen [laughs], was ten months old and she travelled with the doll containing the letter, in a car bed [laughs]” (Cornea 2009, 202).
The idea of using dolls to send these texts had been tested for the first time on the occasion of the sending to Radio Free Europe of the text of the so-called 23 August letter, which constituted the most extensive reform programme proposed by Doina Cornea. This open letter addressed to Nicolae Ceaușescu had been written in small letters on cigarette paper and sewn into the head of a homemade doll, together with a letter addressed to the conference organised by the Polish Solidarity movement in Cracow, to which Doina Cornea had been invited, though she was prevented by the communist authorities from taking part. The two letters arrived at the Radio Free Europe offices in Munich with the help of the Belgian journalist Josy Dubié; Doina Cornea had seen him by chance in the centre of Cluj in a car with a foreign number plate, and had quickly stopped him and asked him to take the doll with him, succeeding in being faster than those who were following her. It is interesting to add that, after finding out who Doina Cornea was from the Belgian Embassy in Bucharest, Dubié returned to Cluj, succeeded in his turn in tricking the Securitate agents who were following him too, and managed to enter the dissident’s house, which was guarded night and day, and to interview her. The result was the inclusion of this interview in the documentary, extremely critical of the Ceaușescu regime, which Dubié made as a result of his visit to Romania in 1988. Entitled The Red Disaster, this documentary was broadcast starting in December 1988 by almost all the national TV stations in Western Europe and even on Hungarian TV. As a result, the communist regime in Bucharest became the target of criticism on the part of all the Western governments and of the European institutions. At the same time, the Opération Villages Roumaines initiative came into being at the level of civil society in several Western countries; it was an extensive network developed with the aim of facilitating the creation of twinnings between localities in Romania and on the other side of the Iron Curtain to prevent the destruction of the architectural heritage due to the demolitions planned as part of the urban and rural systematisation plan of the Ceaușescu regime (C. Petrescu 2013, 311–317).
The doll that is preserved in the Museum is approximately 10 cm in height, and is currently exhibited in Room 77 of the Sighet Memorial, the room dedicated to “Opponents and Dissidents of the 1970s and 1980s.” The same room houses manuscripts and objects of value as museum pieces that illustrate the ephemeral collective protests of the Goma Movement in 1977 and the Free Trade Union of Romanian Workers in 1979, together with the cases of solitary dissidents and critical intellectuals in the 1980s, such as Radu Filipescu, Vasile Paraschiv, and Gheorghe Ursu, and of the journalists and printers of the daily newspaper România Liberă (Free Romania), Mihai Băcanu, Mihai Creangă, Anton Uncu, and Alexandru Chivoiu, who managed to publish several clandestine editions before being arrested in 1989. In short, according to the Museum guide, “The panels in this room present exceptional cases in a country that had been reduced to silence and submission.”
- Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania 435500
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