Our Mission

Political Prisoners is a Prague-based, unsubsidized research initiative whose primary purpose is to collect and disseminate the oral histories of the political prisoners who survived Czechoslovakian prisons under Stalinism. In addition to this website’s focus on the late 1940’s through 1950’s, we hold regular historical conferences, youth camps, and compile the Czechoslovak Political Prisoners anthology to enable these stories to cross the globe.

However, as you can see upon glancing over our website, the Czech-English language barrier still proves a challenge. We will overcome this, given time. But for now, we are taking small steps and kindly ask you to tolerate any less-than-comprehensive terms or phrases listed in our texts.

This site was maintained in the fall 2008 with the following objectives:

  • attract the attention of youth and wide public by publishing life stories of former prisoners of Stalinism
  • offer the stories in written as well as video and audio formats (short sequences)

This communication tool became part of a trans-disciplinary, non-governmental and non-profit oral history project which aimed at commemoration of former political prisoners who survived jailing in Stalinist prisons and working camps in the former Czechoslovakia and other European countries. Later on in 2009 and 2010 we developed new initiatives, events and networks targeted at a more profound research interest in the field of oral histories of politically oppressed around the globe. We are aware this is a long-term process and therefore invite fellow researchers from other parts of the world to strenghten mutual cooperation and share their views and perspectives on this or similar topic with us.

Commemoration of victims of Stalinism, in our opinion, was of an utmost importance not only when the whole world celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of Iron Curtain. Former political prisoners were and still are the living witnesses of  our totalitarian past. They certainly should not be heard only in times of  anniversaries. Though we have probably last chances listening, researching and learning from their stories as we are the witnesses of the future and thus potential carriers of their disappearing thinking.  We wish to  contribute to the exchange and popularisation of their memories no matter how politicised here and then they are. This is why you can find transcriptions of oral history interviews and narratives and short multimedia on this website. We are working on delivering new stories in English too.

We would like to invite everyone interested in supporting this mission to contact us via email with further comments, proposals or  donations at info@politicalprisoners.eu.