Ivan Dejmal was a Czech politician and ecologist. He graduated from a horticulture high school and studied at the Agrarian Faculty of the University of Agriculture in Prague; in 1970 he was expelled from his studies for having been arrested. Dejmal belonged to the leading student activists during the Prague Spring and was an important representative of the Movement of Revolutionary Youth (HRM). As recalled later by a former dissident Petruška Šustrová, Dejmal was not a revolutionary, but rather a conservative Catholic for whom freedom was more important than ideology and that is why, after the occupation of Czechoslovakia, he decided to come together with people “who were willing to protest somehow in the time when the majority of others has already resigned”. He did not want to be silent when other people were being persecuted against.
In the beginning of the “Normalization” in the 1970s, Ivan Dejmal was imprisoned twice. Firstly, he was arrested in January 1970 and sentenced for the so-called subversion of the republic. He was released after two years in January 1972. In April 1973 he was called up for military service where he was sentenced to another two years of imprisonment for political reasons. He was released in 1976 and he made his living as a manual worker and was engaged in ecology. In the second half of the 1970s and in the 1980s, he was an important representative of the anti-communist opposition and of the environmentalist movement in Czechoslovakia. He took part in the foundation of Charter 77 and he was among its first signatories. The illegal, so-called flat seminaries took place in his flat. From 1987 he edited and published the samizdat magazine Ekologický bulletin (The Ecological Bulletin) and in 1988 he co-founded The Movement for Civic Freedom and he also participated in the foundation of the Environmental Society.
In December 1989 he took part in the foundation of the Confederation of Political Prisoners and was an active member of the Civic Forum where he managed the environmentalist section. Ivan Dejmal was rehabilitated after 1989 and he could finish his studies at the University of Agriculture. From 1991 to 1992 he was the Minister of the Environment of the Czech Republic (within the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic) and from 1994 to 1995 he was the director of the Czech Environmental Institute. Afterwards, he worked as a freelancer, and was also the chairman of the civic association Society for Landscape and a member of the board of the Society for a Sustainable Life. In December 2007 he became the vice-president of the newly founded Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (ÚSTR); he died shortly thereafter in February 2008. Ivan Dejmal supported the founding of this institute because, as he said shortly before his death on Czech Radio, there was a need to investigate the causes of totalitarian power and to show the heroes who opposed it.
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
- Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic
Radek Diestler is a Czech music journalist. He studied history and archival science at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague. He has published articles in the music magazine Report since the beginning of the 1990s and worked as a journalist and editor of the magazine Rock&Pop between 1995 and 2002. He was an editor of a department of culture of news website iDNES.cz until 2008. He is also the author of several columns related to the Pilsen region and texts about its music history. He collaborated on the filming of the documentary TV series Bigbít (1998, Czech Television). He initiated the founding of the museum and archive of pop music (the Popmuseum), where the archive materials were originally stored after they were collected for the filming of the TV series.
- Plzeň, Czech Republic
Braco Dimitrijević is a Bosnian-Herzegovinian conceptual artist who lives and works in Paris. He was born in Sarajevo in 1948 and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1971. He finished graduate studies at the University of the Arts London at Saint Martin's Art School in London and, as a British Council scholar with a scholarship in London and Paris in 1967 and 1968, he became acquainted with contemporary art trends which he introduced into his work - first through "The Group Pensioner Tihomir Simčić", then through the "Casual Passer-by" cycle, "Transmonuments" and the "Tryptychos Post Historicus".
He had his first exhibition in 1958, at the age of 10, and the next one was held at the Student Centre Gallery in Zagreb in 1969. Dimitrijević is also an internationally established artist, his first solo exhibition abroad was held in Munich in November 1970, and he participated in the 7th Paris Biennale in 1971. Since the early 1970s, his career experiencing an ascent on an international scale, which is reflected in the fact that he participates in group exhibitions abroad almost every year, and also presents his work through solo exhibitions. In his theoretical work Tractatus Post Hystoricus, published in 1976, he presented his views on the relativity of history and art history, at the same time criticizing the evolutionary aspects of art history, proposing to approach it as a living body rather than a static mass.
Since 1998, he has been a member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was awarded with the Order of Danica Hrvatska with the portrait of Marko Marulić in 2007. He is the recipient of many Croatian and international awards.
Apart from his artistic work, which can be characterized as a subversive activity against the socialist regime, Dimitrijević did not actively participate in cultural-opposition activities. He describes his artistic activity as a kind of youthful rebellion against the cult of personality.
- Île-de-France, Paris, Paris, France
Vildane Dinç (Alieva) was born in 1978 in Ardino town, Kardzhali province, Bulgaria. In July 1989, at the age of 11 she moved with her family from Bulgaria to Turkey. Vildane obtained her secondary education in Turkey. Vildane narrates: “In socialist Bulgaria, my family lived like ordinary people, they were not politically active, but at the same time my family did not accept voluntarily the forced Bulgarization process during the 1980s. I remember how our Turkish names were changed to Bulgarian. The implementation of namecide (commonly known as “forcibly name change”) happened in December 1984. After the implementation of namecide my family members did not use Bulgarian names when communicating within family circles. However, they used Bulgarian names when dealing with officials.
My family was not politically active. We do not have any official documents stating the reason for our expulsion from Bulgaria. My family thought that we were expelled from Bulgaria especially because of my grandfather’s behavior. In socialist Bulgaria, my grandfather was speaking in public how ‘he doesn’t want to live in Bulgaria because of repressions and how he wants to go to Turkey.' I think this behavior of my grandfather was not deeply political but more motivated by everyday concerns. Of course, on the other hand, all daily endavours at this particular time have had political connotations and contexts.
My family was expelled from the country during ethnic cleansing of the summer of 1989, which the discourse of the Communist Party called “Revival Process” and “Big Excursion.” However, on 11 January 2012, the Bulgarian Parliament referred to this process as ethnic cleansing. I remember my grandfather said 'I want my grandchildren to speak freely in Turkish in streets and schools'.
I was personally motivated to start the collection. My basic motives for a collection of this kind are the following. First of all, collections regarding Eastern European socialist regimes generally do not include experiences of minorities, especially the Turkish experience of socialism. This, in my belief, is a shortage in understanding our socialist past. To understand the recent socialist past more comprehensively, one needs to include further and different experiences. Secondly, such collections can perhaps contribute to an abolition of discriminative acts committed in the socialist era, which are still continuing, for example, some effects and the process of the namecide implementation.
I am not a member of any organization, I only hold a position of a lecturer at the Uludağ University, Faculty of Arts & Science, Department of Sociology.”
Dinç, Vildane (Alieva, Vildane) explains her attitudes toward "cultural opposition" in the following way: “Cultural opposition means opposition which depends on values conflicting with the dominant cultural values of the relevant social system. The cultural opposition can be conscious and unconscious. One could say that the main subject of cultural opposition is a person, a man or a woman, of the everyday life. Cultural dissidents deliberately or unintentionally oppose with their beings and behavior. For example: speaking in their mother language, in some cases just knowing and respecting their mother language without speaking has a symbolic meaning, or wearing particular clothes, using particular phrases, or just thinking and having emotions against the dominant social-political system etc.
The Bulgarian communist regime, like other East European socialist regimes, was implemented from the top. Socialist power was, at first, inclusive. However, the restrictive and repressive implementations of the regime were gradually increasing after the first period. In socialist Bulgaria, the opposition and dissidents came from different ideological backgrounds (for example liberalism, different understandings of socialism, etc.) and different ethnic and religious groups (for example Turks, Gypsies, Pomaks, Jews, etc.) My family was not directly and effectively part of the cultural opposition. However, they have not voluntarily accepted the repressions during the 1980s. I can say that my family was rather a victim of the repression of namecide and ethnic cleansing, than a part of the direct opposition.”
- Bursa , Turkey