Sr. Mira Rožanc was a secretary of Archbishop Alojzij Šuštar for 27 years.
- Ljubljana , Slovenia
Jiří Ruml was a Czechoslovak journalist, writer and politician. He was born in 1925 in Prague, and studied at a grammar school in Pilsen. After his studies, he worked as a journalist – at first in regional newspapers and after moving to Prague in 1948, he became an editor for Czechoslovak Radio, the newspaper Večerní Praha, Czechoslovak Television and the magazine Reportér. Jiří Ruml went through several phases regarding his relation to the communist regime. He tended towards radical Stalinism after the Second World War. Shortly afterwards, during the time of several political trials and de-Stalinization, he sympathised with the reform communists. The most significant turn in his views came in 1968, when Czechoslovakia was invaded by armies of the Warsaw Pact; Ruml condemned the invasion. He was expelled from the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1969 and worked as a blue-collar worker during the 1970. He signed Charter 77 and became its spokesperson in 1984. He was also a member of the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Prosecuted (VONS). He was prosecuted twice and held in pre-trial detention (1981–1982, 1989). Jiří Ruml was a direct representative of the illegal cultural opposition, especially when he was editor-in-chief of publishing (at that time as a samizdat periodical) the renewed Lidové noviny in 1987. After the fall of the Communist regime, he was still active in Lidové noviny – now a legally published daily newspaper – and in politics – he became a deputy for the Chamber of the People of the Federal Assembly for the party Civic Forum. He was the author of several books, reports and articles.
- Plzeň, Czech Republic
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Romulus Rusan (b. 13 March 1935, Alba Iulia – d. 8 December 2016, Bucharest) was a Romanian writer, who was most noted, and has remained in the collective memory, for his postcommunist activity of recovering the communist past. He was a founder of the non-governmental organisation Civic Academy and director of the International Centre for Studies into Communism within the Sighet Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance, which he initiated together with Ana Blandiana. A graduate of polytechnic studies, Romulus Rusan made his debut as a writer in 1954, with articles of literary criticism in the Cluj magazine Steaua (The star). He was the editor of several regional publications, and for almost two decades he had a cinema column in the magazine România literară. He was twice (1964 and 1982) awarded prizes for prose by the Romanian Writers’ Union. He was the author of more than ten volumes of short prose, travel writing, and film criticism.
A key figure in the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance, Romulus Rusan co-organised, together with Ana Blandiana, the series of Sighet Summer Schools (1998–2014) and of Doors Open Days, when the victims of communism are commemorated. Above all, the activity of Romulus Rusan is linked to the International Centre for Studies into Communism, whose academic director he was until his death in 2016. In this capacity, he wrote, edited, and coordinated numerous essential books of recent history, all published at the Civic Academy Foundation publishing house. Among these may be mentioned: Cronologia și geografia represiunii comuniste: Recensământul populației concentraționare (The chronology and geography of communist repression: The census of the prison camp population)(2007); România în timpul războiului rece (Romania during the Cold War)(2008); Sfârșiți odată cu trecutul negru (Finish once and for all with the dark past)(2010); Morți fără morminte în Bărăgan (Death without graves in the Bărăgan)(2011); and Cartea morților (The book of the dead)(2013). His most important contribution is probably the estimate of the total number of victims of Romanian communism at around two million. The “Census of the Prison Camp Population: 1945–1989” project, which he coordinated, was based on the statistical study of 86,000 penal registration files of political prisoners. The database, which has been added to and used throughout the history of the Memorial, also now includes around 10,000 certificates of death in prisons and labour camps and around 17,000 decrees of pardon. Romulus Rusan was also a member of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania (2006). He wrote two chapters of the Commission’s Report, “The Chronology and Geography of Communist Repression” and “The Census of the Prison Camp Population: 1945–1989,” which also appeared separately in 2007 in the volume of the same title mentioned above as part of the Civic Academy Foundation Publishing House collection “Ora de istorie” (History class).
Romulus Rusan played a decisive role in conceiving and coordinating the publishing programme of the Civic Academy Foundation. He produced seven distinct collections, to which may be added books published outside the collections, amounting to over 120 titles totalling over 45,000 pages. The ten international symposia at the Sighet Memorial generated the “Analele Sighet” (Sighet Annals) series (ten volumes totalling over 7,300 pages), which constituted a source of great importance for the compilation and organisation of the Sighet Museum collection (http://www.memorialsighet.ro/prod-cat/ro/libraria/analele-sighet/). A second important and long-lasting collection was born a few years later under the title of “Biblioteca Sighet” (Sighet library). This series, numbering over twenty titles, includes both thematic anthologies and books by one or two authors. “It was born,” Romulus Rusan related, “out of the suggestions and collaborations of our guests both well-known and, more often, unknown, who sought us out, gave us ideas, manuscripts, biographies.” Indeed the collection includes books by scholars of international prestige such as Dennis Deletant and Thierry Wolton (http://www.memorialsighet.ro/prod-cat/ro/libraria/biblioteca-sighet/). A third series produced by the publishing department of the International Centre for Studies into Communism is entitled “Documente” (Documents), and comprises over ten volumes whose role is to supplement the studies, political reports, memoirs, and monographs printed in the “Sighet Library” collection. According to Romulus Rusan, the books in the “Documents” series are focused on documents “that managed to escape the unacknowledged but real censoring of the archives” (http://www.memorialsighet.ro/prod-cat/ro/libraria/documente/). “Ora de Istorie” (History class) is another collection initiated by the International Centre for Studies into Communism under the direction of Romulus Rusan. It is targeted in the first place at young people. On the one hand, Romulus Rusan remarked, the initiation of such a collection was based on the observation that “historical knowledge has declined year by year, as the curriculum has decayed, imposing useless and sterile textbooks.” On the other hand, he said, “Through chronologies and succinct, but information-packed texts, these books offer the pupils of today a basic knowledge of recent history (which is sometimes welcome to their parents too)” (http://www.memorialsighet.ro/prod-cat/ro/libraria/ora-de-istorie/). In addition to this collection with its numerous titles, there are others, also produced under the direction of Romulus Rusan, but on a smaller scale: “Interval,” “Viaţa cotidiană” (Everyday life), “Comemorări” (Commemorations), and “Multimedia.” The International Centre for Studies into Communism also has a small library made up of books “outside the collections,” including books by Dennis Deletant, Corneliu Coposu, and Vladimir Bukovsky. “The masterpiece of this section is the monumental 880-page tome Cartea Morţilor (The book of the dead), the first list of tens of thousands of human sacrifices in the postwar period, supported by a detailed introductory study,” remarks Romulus Rusan.
Having started out as a department of oral history, the International Centre for Studies into Communism has also made its contribution to this direction of research in a collection of distinct books entitled “Istorie orală” (Oral history). It is, remarks Romulus Rusan, “the most productive collection, which succeeds in bringing together in an epic and thematic way the fruit of thousands of hours of recordings from the first years, together with conferences and debates, charming in their innocence, between teachers and pupils, at the Summer Schools that started in 1998. Inasmuch as the written and audio documentary base in the possession of the Civic Academy Foundation is immense, it is to be expected that we will have many titles in this collection from now onwards” (http://www.memorialsighet.ro/prod-cat/ro/libraria/istorie-orala/). In fact the remarkable archive of oral history created by the International Centre for Studies into Communism numbers to date approximately 3,600 entries/ recordings, totalling over 6,400 hours. Romulus Rusan was the editor of the first compendium of oral history of the period 1944–1989, with over 600 authors. In addition, the International Centre for Studies into Communism, which he coordinated, has accumulated an archive of over 10,000 photographs, both black and white and colour, in classic format and, partially, in digital format. The Centre’s archive of documents numbers 1,540 files (with over 20,000 pages in total), together with 11,700 pages with extracts from the register of births, marriages, and deaths (for those who have died). It also holds approximately 93,000 penal registration files.
In short, Romulus Rusan was one of the Romanian personalities who campaigned most consistently for the maintenance of a living memory of communism and, above all, of its numerous victims. “Such a sense of sacrifice might be considered utopian, if history were to end in our days that are muddied and disfigured by optimism. Fortunately, history never stops in the marshes, but aims for the heights. And all that may seem useless – sacrifice, honour, upright character – remains in the heritage of hope,” said Romulus Rusan, stating a profession of faith. Comparing the roles they each played, Ana Blandiana recalls her late husband as follows: “I was a sort of spokesperson, the image of the institution; I had to obtain money, to make the image of the Memorial grow perhaps even faster than the Memorial itself, so as to become a point of support. And in this connection, I really want to say that I was extraordinarily impressed to discover something very special, after the death of my husband. I always felt a sort of remorse because it seemed to me that, because of me, my husband was not sufficiently seen. And to a certain extent, that was indeed true. And it was only when he died that I discovered that he was seen, that what he did was visible in the public space. The way almost everyone wrote after he died was proof that they had realised that he had been the one who had created everything at Sighet. About me, yes, they spoke, because I spoke. But the content was created by him, fundamentally. In ever room there was the fruit of research that hadn’t existed before. And he had a decisive role in connection with all that.”
- Bucharest, Romania
Marcin Rutkiewicz (born 1966) is a curator and animator of street art in Poland, an animator of the club music scene, an author of publications on graffiti, street art, and art in the public space, as well as a social activist involved in the reduction of the visual pollution caused by outdoor advertising.
In 2007, Rutkiewicz was one of the co-founders of the association Miasto Moje A w Nim, in which for the next few years as a vice-president he fought for the regulation of outdoor advertising in Poland, the adoption of statutory rules for outdoor use and law enforcement. In 2009, together with Elżbieta Dymna, he published the album Polski outdoor, documenting the scale of littering public spaces by advertising.
At the same time, Rutkiewicz dealt with street art. As a founder and president of the Outdoor Art Foundation, he conducted many street art projects, one of the most important of which was the outer graffiti gallery Forty / Forty at the Bema Forts in Warsaw. Together with Elżbieta Dymna, he published two albums about street art in Poland: in 2010, Polish street art, and two years later its continuation Between Anarchy and Gallery. Also with Dymna, in 2015, he published the Forty / Forty Gallery, dedicated to the gallery he was the curator of.
In 2011, Rutkiewicz together with Tomasz Sikorski issued the book Graffiti in Poland 1940-2010, and in 2017 – with Sikorski and Michał Warda – he co-curated the exhibition Wild Graphics. Half a Century of Visual Diversion in Poland 1967-2017 at the Warsaw Poster Museum. In the same year and under the same title, a publication accompanying the exhibition was published, in which Rutkiewicz figures as the author of one of the critical essays. From 2012 to 2016 he was a member of the Program Board of the International Poster Biennial in Warsaw.
In 2015, president Bronisław Komorowski awarded Rutkiewicz with the Bronze Cross of Merit for the service for the protection of Polish cultural landscape.
- Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland
Hedwig Ulrike Ruşdea (née Weindel) was a specialist in pre-industrial mill technology, who established herself at the Museum of Folk Technics (later ASTRA Museum) by identifying, researching, and rescuing many windmills from the region of Dobrogea, which she reassembled in the permanent open-air exhibition of the museum in the 1960s and 1970s. She was born in Sibiu on 20 June 1924 into a family of Transylvanian Saxon intellectuals. Her parents were doctors and researchers in the field of natural sciences. After leaving the Girls’ High-School in Sibiu in 1943, she enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Cluj. In 1947, she abandoned her medical studies in favour of German studies at the same university. In 1951, she completed her undergraduate degree in German studies at the University of Bucharest because the department in Cluj had been closed. From 1955 to 1957, she worked at the official German-language newspaper in communist Romania, Neuer Weg. In 1953, she married the Romanian doctor Dan Ruşdea. From 1958 to 1961, she worked with researchers at the Sibiu branch of the Romanian Academy on the project entitled Dictionary of Transylvanian Saxon Dialects (Siebenbürgisch-Sächsischen Wörterbuch).
In May 1962, she was hired at the Brukenthal Museum where, under the coordination of Cornel Irimie, she contributed to the foundation of the Museum of Folk Technics. After 1964, she was in charge of the part of the permanent open-air exhibition dealing with pre-industrial means of transportation. She was also part of the museum’s teams that conducted field research. She specialised in pre-industrial mills, and coordinated the rescue of five windmills from Dobrogea. Her comparative research on Romanian windmills earned her international recognition. Together with Cornel Irimie, the director of the Museum of Folk Technics, she attended the Second International Symposium of Molinology in Copenhagen in 1969. Subsequently, she was invited to deliver presentations at many international conferences on this topic. She later used her experience as a researcher at the Museum to found the Heimatmuseum (Transylvanian Saxons’ Homeland Museum) at Cisnădioara (Michelsberg in German) in 1971. In 1987, due to the severe travel limitations on foreign travel and everyday shortages of basic products in the Romania of the 1980s, Ruşdea emigrated to Germany, where she continued her researches in molinology. She died on 18 February 2009 in Heidelberg.
Due to her remarkable achievements, Ruşdea established herself as a leading ethnographer at the Museum of Folk Technics in Sibiu. She contributed decisively to the rescue of a cultural heritage that would otherwise have been destroyed by the communist regime’s agricultural modernisation drive. She also conducted ethnographic research in the villages from which artefacts of peasant technics were rescued. This field research produced valuable historical and social data about rural society in Dobrogea and the effects of communist modernisation policies on its cultural heritage.
- Sibiu, Romania