The aim of the website Czechoslovaks in the Gulag is to introduce the public to the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes project of the same name, which is focused on documenting political repression against Czechoslovaks in the Soviet Union.
On the basis of published testimonies of survivors, specialist and popularising articles, databases, exhibitions and video recordings of debates, as well as links to related projects, the website is intended to provide basic orientation in the given subject, in the documents gathered within the project and in the results it has achieved.
Since the foundation of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in 2008 the project’s staff have been conducting interviews with survivors of Soviet repression and descendants of victims. In this way they have acquired dozens of interviews but also a large amount of documents, photographs and handwritten manuscripts from family archives.
The research is at the same time focused on domestic and international archives; since 2011 it has also been carried out in the archives of the Soviet security services in post-Soviet countries. In Ukraine in particular, hundreds of thousands of pages of documents relating to Czechoslovakia, in particular the personal files of the victims of repression, have been obtained. With a view to intensifying those efforts, the Institute set up a digital office in Lviv, where – thanks to cooperation with the State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine – they are committed to processing documents from all regions of Ukraine. Alongside thousands of files on persecuted refugees from Nazism from 1939–1941, this concerns, among other things, documentation relating to the cases of Czechoslovaks executed during the Great Terror in 1937–1938 and victims of the post-1945 Sovietisation of Carpathian Ruthenia. In the Russian Federation we are chiefly focused on archives in Moscow, the Republic of Komi and the Sverdlovsk Oblast, where the greatest number of Czechoslovaks were interned or executed.
In cooperation with international partners, places of memory of repression (prisons, labour camps, mass graves, prison cemeteries, etc.) are also localised and documented.
A number of expert and popularising outputs have been created on the basis of the interviews, documents and photographs obtained. For instance, in 2012 the first ever themed exhibition presenting acquired former NKVD and KGB photographs and documents was put together in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library. Since the launch of the project, victims of repression in the USSR have been remembered in dozens of popularising and academic articles, in books, documentary films, radio programmes and debates.
Alongside research into political repression in the Soviet Union and commemoration of the victims, the Institute’s above mentioned activities support the remembrance of victims in the public sphere. In addition to cooperation on the project Last Address (aimed at recounting the stories of victims of the Communist regime) for instance, representatives of the Institute and the embassy of the Czech Republic in Ukraine have honoured the memory of the largest mass execution of persons of Czech origin on the territory of the former USSR in Zhytomyr.
Research into the subject would not have been possible without the cooperation of numerous institutions, including the following: the Security Services Archive, the Archive of the Security Services of Ukraine, the Archival Administration of the Sverdlovsk Oblast, the Sakharov Centre in Moscow, the Czech Centres network, Czech Television, the Czech Consulate in Yekaterinburg, the Czech Consulate in Lviv, Gulag.cz, Yad Vashem, Memorial Moscow, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the Lviv Prison Museum, the Foundation for Holocaust Victims, Pokajanie Syktivkar, Post Bellum, the Silesian University in Opava, the Slavonic Library of the National Library, the State Archives of the Lviv Region, the State Archives of the Transcarpathian Region, the State Archival Administration of Ukraine, the United States Holocaust Museum, the USC Shoah Foundation, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Moscow, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Kiev, the Military History Institute and the Military History Archive.
|research, cooperation with partners in post-Soviet states, translations
|text edition, composition of biographical texts
|research, oral history, digitalisation
|research, oral history, digitalisation, project coordinator
|website and digital archive administration
|digital version of V. Bystrov’s Encyclopedia of the Gulag