She donated some items to the European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk, eg. a rosary made of bread by a prisoner in Potulice penitentiary.
- Gdańsk, Poland
Jaroslav Šabata was born on November 2, 1927 in Dolenice, near Znojmo. At the time of the war, Šabata studied at grammar school in Brno. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at Masaryk University in Brno, where he obtained a doctorate in 1952. From 1951 he worked as an assistant in the Department of Psychology, which was gradually transformed into the Marxist-Leninist Institute. In 1968 he became the head of the Marxist-Leninist Institute. He attempted to form an oppositional anti-Stalinist orientation in the Communist Party from the outset of his political activities.
In July 1968 he became the secretary of the Regional Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party in Brno. At the Vysočany Congress of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, on August 31, 1968, he expressed his positive opinion on the capitulating attitude of Czechoslovak political representation. In 1969, after his suspension from the Communist Party, he began to work in a manual labour position on the railway. In November 1971, he was arrested and accused of subverting the Republic and sentenced to six and a half years in prison. When the Chairman of the British Communist Party arrived in Czechoslovakia, Jaroslav Šabata wrote open letters to both him and Gustav Husák. The letters were smuggled from prison and published in foreign journals. Even for this Šabata was prosecuted, but the prosecution was halted after half a year. The purpose of these letters was to show that the opposition was not silenced nor stopped by being sent to prison. He was released in December 1976. Šabata and others were released without having apologized for their actions. Šabata demanded that the court put on record that he did not apply for mercy because he was unlawfully sentenced and that he would continue to fight for his inalienable right to express himself freely. The judge replied that he would do that better while at liberty. Šabata claimed that his half-amnesty was a political gesture made by the regime to improve its reputation.
Shortly after the release, he signed Charter 77, which had just begun to spread, and in 1978 he became its spokesman after Jiří Hájek. After signing Charter 77, he started collecting signatures from his prison friends and other contacts in Brno. He was arrested again on October 1, 1978, when he tried to meet Polish dissidents at the Czech-Polish border. He was imprisoned until December 1980. He actively entered politics after 1989. He was among the first members of the Civic Forum, then joined the ODS (Civic Democratic Party) and later he joined Social Democracy. He was active in politics until the end of the 20th century. In 2002 and 2003, he taught at the Faculty of Social Studies - the Department of Psychology of Masaryk University in Brno and then worked for two years as an external teacher.
Jaroslav Šabata remains a controversial figure even today; his opponents claim that he was always a Communist, and his activity under Charter 77 was simply to save himself in a collapsing regime. However, the fact remains that Šabata did a great deal of work for Charter 77 and its dissemination.
- Brno, Czech Republic
In the 1960s, Šalamun participated in various student movements. In 1964 he was imprisoned because of an article in the journal Perspektive [Perspectives] in which he criticized the cultural politics of the Yugoslav communist regime. He was released after one week due to the protest of important Slovenian intellectuals, close to the regime. During this time, he met with the political poet and dissident Edvard Kocbek who influenced him on the search for autonomous poetic expression.
In 1966, Šalamun published his first volume of poetry, entitled Poker, in which he broke with the Slovenian poetic tradition (the first poem of the volume begins with the verse that would later become famous: “Utrudil sem se podobe svojega plemena in se izselil” [“I am tired of the image of my tribe and I went into exile.”]. The volume was immediately successful among younger generations, in Slovenia as well as throughout Yugoslavia. However, Šalamun was severely criticized and accused of “nihilism”, “decadence”, and “destructive individualism”.
In the early 1970s, he began to collaborate with the Slovenian avantgarde art group OHO (which also included the well-known philosopher Slavoj Žižek). As part of this group, he visited the United States at the invitation of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Šalamun’s experience in the United States, as well as two years in Mexico (between 1979 and 1981), where he familiarized himself with contemporary Latin American literature, had a strong impact on him.
Starting in the late 1970s, he often took part in the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Between 1996 and 1997 he was a cultural attaché at the Consulate of the Republic of Slovenia in New York. Later he settled in Ljubljana, with his wife, academic painter and graphic artist, Metka Krašovec.
- Ljubljana , Slovenia
Tatjana Šaric has been employed at the Croatian State Archives in Zagreb since 2000. She graduated with degrees in history and Czech language and literature, and then while working as a research assistant at the CSA she earned her master's degree (2008) and Ph.D. (2011) on topics related to twentieth-century Croatian history. She is employed as an archivist and researcher at the Political Parties and Associations Division of the CSA’s Department for Preservation and Arrangement of Archival Records. Besides professional archival work, she has also worked on scholarly projects. She is the author of several professional and scholarly papers covering topics in modern and contemporary Croatian history. She also deals with cultural history (her master’s thesis was on "Cultural Policies of the Authorities, 1945-1953: The Example of Matica hrvatska") and with the history of different social groups (PhD thesis: "The Status and Role of Youth and Youth Organizations in Federal Croatia/People’s Republic of Croatia, 1945-1953") through which she became familiar with cultural opposition to the communist system. She did not take part in any opposition activities during the socialist period. In 2003, she organized the Krunoslav Draganović Collection at the Croatian State Archives (CSA) and devised a search aid.
- Zagreb, Croatia
Jaromír Šavrda was a Czech journalist, writer, political prisoner and significant representative of dissent in Ostrava. He graduated with a degree in Czech studies from the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1957 and later worked as a librarian in Ostrava. After the end of 1950s, he taught at a high school; from 1963 he worked as a full-time writer and journalist. He was expelled from the distance studies of law shortly before graduation in 1972. He worked as a warehouse keeper in a geological research between 1972 and 1975 when he was forced to retire due to ill health. Šavrda, who was not allowed to officially publish after 1968, published his texts as samizdat in the 1970s and 1980s, mostly in his own edition Libri prohibiti founded in 1972, as well as exile magazines (e.g. Svědectví or Listy). He also collaborated with a branch of a samizdat edition Petlice in Brno. He was sentenced to two and half years of imprisonment because of the production of Libri prohibiti and for possession of forbidden printed materials in 1978. After his release from prison, he signed Charter 77 in 1981. In September 1982, he was taken into custody again for alleged sedition and possession of forbidden printed materials and sentenced to twenty-five months. Even after his second release, Šavrda continued in his samizdat activities, for example, he printed his translations of Anna Achmatova poems (Requiem, 1987). The flat of Šavrda and his wife was a place of regular meetings of dissidents from Ostrava and the surrounding area, even during the time when Šavrda was in prison. His prison experiences were depicted in his book Přechodné adresy (The Temporary Addresses), first published as samizdat in 1987 and officially published in 1991. Jaromír Šavrda died in May 1988 as a consequence of his imprisonment. In 1993, he became a honorary citizen of Ostrava, and he was in memoriam awarded the Class IV Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk by the president Václav Havel in 1998. “Cena Jaromíra Šavrdy za svědectví o totalitě” (the Prize of Jaromír Šavrda for Witnessing of Totalitarism), awarded by the association PANT since 2008 on the Human Rights Day, now bears his name. The name of the library Libri prohibiti, founded by Jiří Gruntorád in 1990, refers to the name of Šavrda’s samizdat edition.
- Ostrava, Czech Republic