Viacheslav Chornovil’s three letters sent to Iryna Stasiv-Kalynets in 1978 were donated to the museum-memorial along with much of her correspondence from her time in exile in the Chytynsk region of Siberia, in a village not far from the Chinese border. These letters penned by her close friend, fellow dissident and journalist Chornovil, while he served out his own lengthy sentence in Yakutia, are particularly illuminating about the conditions in which they lived.
Curators of the collection note that this is a unique item, as its vibrant and accessible language brings to life Chornovil’s experiences in the camps, and later in exile, the changing circumstances of his day-to-day life, and ongoing discussions over the legality of the work regimen with correspondents. He and Stasiv-Kalynets also discussed Chornovil’s concerns over the agendas of likely well meaning, but unknown parties from the Ukrainian diaspora in North America. This was most probably tied to the fact that one such person, Yaroslav Dobosh, a member of a nationalist youth organization, came to Ukraine from Belgium to meet with dissidents, triggering one of the gravest campaigns of surveillance and arrests against Ukrainian dissidents—called Operation Bloc.
These three letters chart a year in the life of political prisoners in internal exile in the Soviet Union and once translated and published are expected to provide a unique and illuminating window into this world for researchers, students and the general public.
This letter, written on September 11 1961, from the Schriftstellerverband to Annelies Loest, pertains to the period of detention of 1957 to1964 of her husband, author Erich Loest. After events involving the suppression of the People’s Uprising on June 17 1953, the author was increasingly critical of the German Democratic Republic regime. When he expressed his view on the need for de-Stalinisation, Loest was arrested in 1957. Considered a problem to the regime due to supposedly “forming counter-revolutionary groups,” he was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, which he served at the Bautzen II prison. During the sentence, Loest was banned from writing. The Schriftstellerverband petitioned for repeal of the ban. In the letter, the association informed Annelies Loest that the head of the GDR Public Prosecution Office had denied the petition, deeming a lift of the ban to be “special treatment within the penal system,” which was considered un-justified.
In the second correspondence, the GDR Public Prosecution Office informed Annelies Loest of the termination of all investigative proceedings against Erich Loest in December 1958, described as the due course of concluding the operation. From then on, further correspondence would be transferred to the Public Prosecution Office in the Halle district.
A folder contains Soldatov’s original letters and notes written on rolls of paper. His letters and notes were smuggled one by one out of the prison camp by his wife Ludmilla when she visited him. These writings included several philosophical and religious contemplations, which were later published in Soldatov’s collected works.
Augustin Juretić published the book Tito perseguidor (Tito the Persecutor) under the pseudonym Georgius Liburnicus in 1952, in the early years of socialist Yugoslavia. The year of the publication is even more important as it was a time of change in Yugoslav foreign policy with its turning towards the Western countries. In an effort to normalise relations with the West, Yugoslavia began the partial democratisation of its society and endeavoured to present itself as a society embracing democratic values. Tito the Persecutor confutes this image of Yugoslavia in the Western media, and reveals the true nature of the communist regime, describing the persecution of the Catholic Church and its clergy.
The book can be regarded as providing cultural opposition as its entire content deals with criticism of socialist Yugoslavia. It is written in the Spanish language, one of the world languages, and is thus accessible to a greater number of readers as well as policy makers.
After the failure to register of the Croatian Review in France, Nikolić settled in Barcelona in 1968, where he received the Spanish government’s permission to publish the quarterly periodical. Permission was granted to him for a period of twenty years, and that concession was valid from 9 September of 1970 to 9 September 1990. This was precisely the year when Nikolić returned to Croatia, where review has once more been published since 1991. The Croatian Review was clandestinely read among the Croatian Marxist intelligentsia, and because of its influence it represented a great threat to the Yugoslav socialist regime.