Ján Čarnogurský was an advocate in many well-known cases involving religious activits in Slovakia. He recalls one of these from 1978: " During a house search the ŠtB found many samizdats with a Catholic orientation. I remember very clearly that they took all of them first to pre-trial custody. At the time I was lawyer in Bratislava, but I was already known in the secret church as an defence lawyer or legal adviser for dissidents or religious activists.
... I couldnʼt defend others in the trial, because there would be conflicts of interest. During the house search police found most of the samizdats in Adámekʼs house. After all, he was also a printer; and if I remember it correctly, the name of the case file was Josef Adámek and co. During the interrogation all of the accused behaved very bravely. They never blamed each other. They couldnʼt deny the possession and production of samizdats, for many were discovered in their houses. They argued that according to the Pacts on Human Rights, published in the Czechoslovak Collection of Laws, it was their right to produce such samizdats. "
- Bratislava, Slovakia
Jan Čep was a Czech prose writer, essayist and translator. He was born on December 31st, 1902 in Myšlichovice (now Haňovice - Myslechovice near Litovel), to a family of peasants as the oldest of ten siblings. Jan Čep attended a general school in Cholina, then studied high school in Litovel where he graduated in 1922. At that time he published his first work in the Moravskoslezské Noviny. He studied Czech, English and French at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague. He did not finish his studies, after the first state examination he left for the publishing house, the Old Empire (Stará říše), influenced by Josef Florina, where he helped him for less than a year in publishing. He then lived as a translator and professional writer and worked for the Melantrich and Symposion publishers. Since 1923, he often took study trips to England, Spain, Yugoslavia, but mainly in France. During the war he lived in his birthplace, wrote short stories and maintained close contact with the Dominican spiritual centre in Olomouc. After the war he worked for a publishing house in Vyšehrad. After February 1948 he left Czechoslovakia and lived in Paris. From 1951 to 1955 he worked as a cultural editor of the Czechoslovak editorial office of Radio Free Europe in Munich, later acting as the Parisian cultural correspondent. Through his radio reflections, he tried to confront communist power and spiritually empower people "at home". Outside of his homeland he did not feel happy because he had a very strong relationship with Czechoslovakia. Several times, he seriously thought about becoming a priest, but in 1954 he married Charles Du Bose's daughter, a French literary critic. In 1962 Pope John XXIII gave him the papal Order of Saint Silvester for his lifetime work. He died after suffering a stroke on January 25th, 1974 in Paris.
- München, Munich, Germany
- Paris, France
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Nikola Čolak was born in Janjevo, now the Republic of Kosovo, on 14 April 1914. He was a Croatian historian, classical philologist, philosopher, archivist and publicist. He attended elementary school in his birthplace and the classics gymnasiums in Prizren and Travnik. In 1938, he graduated with a degree in philosophy at Gallarate, near Milan, in Italy. He also earned degrees in the Italian and French languages and literatures in Zagreb in 1943, together with degrees in history and classical philology. A communist court sentenced him to three years of forced labour in Zagreb in 1945 under charges of "plotting an uprising." After being released from the labour camp, he worked in factories on the outskirts of Zagreb and in schools in Ivanić-Grad, Glina and Novi Marof.
From 1954 to 1960, Čolak worked as archivist in the State Archives in Zadar and then moved to the Social Science Institute of the Yugoslav Academy of Arts and Science as a research associate in Zadar (1960-1965). In the summer of 1966, he initiated the review Slobodni glas (Free Voice) together with Mihajlo Mihajlov and a group of intellectuals, the first review that would not be controlled by the one-party state. Because of this initiative, he lost his job at the Institute and had to go into exile to Padua. He taught history and philosophy at Padua University and collaborated with the economic institutes in Verona and Padua. Čolak also joined the ranks of Croatian political émigrés, with particularly intense contacts with the circle around Branimir Jelić and his Croatian National Committee. In 1973, he unsuccessfully tried to renew the activity of the Croatian Party of the Right in exile. Since 1987, he was the assistant to Srećko Pšeničnik, the president of the Croatian Liberation Movement. In exile, he edited two political journals, Hrvatsko pravo (The Croatian Right) and Hrvatska domovina (Croatian Homeland). Čolak also wrote for other émigré journals such as the Hrvatska država (Croatian State), Hrvatska revija (Croatian Review) and Nezavisna država Hrvatska (Independent State of Croatia). He additionally contributed essays and articles about Croatian and Yugoslav matters to Italian newspapers and periodicals such as Il resto del Carlino, Cultura e politica, Il Messaggero, Reggio oggi, and Energie nuove. He established the Centre for Croatian Historical Studies in Padua as a research institution for Croatian history.
As early as 1977, he published his book “Behind Barbed Wire: the Fate of Croatia in Serb-Communist Yugoslavia,” and after that he wrote a new book in Italian in 1979 under the title “Communist Yugoslavia: Between the Intellectual Dissent and Croatia’s Right to Statehood.” In 1988, his book “Croatia Above All: Reflections on the Past and Future Perspectives” appeared, which included Čolak’s essays and articles written during the émigré period of his life. A year later, “The April Tenth Action in Light of the Key Testimony of Ivan Prusac and the Accompanying Documentation” was released. He died at the age of 82 on in Padua on 23 August 1996 and was buried in Zagreb.
- Padova, Italy
- Zadar, Croatia
- Zagreb, Croatia
- Lund, Sweden
Velid Đekić was born in 1960. Since 1970 he has lived in Rijeka, where he completed primary and secondary school. He graduated with a degree in Croatian language and literature at the Faculty of Pedagogy in Rijeka. He earned his master’s degree in philology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science in Zagreb. He worked as a journalist for the Radio Rijeka youth program Bura, and then became a member of the editorial board of the newsletter Val published by the League of Socialist Youth of Croatia. He also collaborated with the Zagreb-based youth magazine Polet. From 1986 to 2016, he was employed in the national oil corporation, INA, specifically its information centre at the Rijeka oil refinery.
He was the co-author and the editor-in-chief of Rijeka's European Capital of Culture 2020 application, which secured Rijeka’s selection as European Capital of Culture. He is a member of the Board of Directors the Pro Torpedo Rijeka Association for the Study and Promotion of Industrial Heritage and participates in the work of international conferences in Rijeka dedicated to the industrial heritage.
He was a long-serving selector of the Croatian Biennale of Young Artists of Europe and the Mediterranean, a member of the jury and supervisory board of Rijeka’s Drago Gervais Literary Award, and president of the Rijeka City Council of Culture and Publishing.
Although he took part in the youth counter-culture he did not consider himself a part of the cultural opposition during the period of socialism.
- Rijeka , Croatia