International Conference “Resistance and Opposition against the Communist Regime in Czechoslovakia and Central Europe”

PRAGUE, April 9, 2009

– Within the scope of the Czech presidency of the European Union, the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic are holding the international conference “Resistance and Opposition against the Communist Regime in Czechoslovakia and Central Europe.” The conference takes place April 15-16 in Prague’s Lichtenstein Palace, and will be inaugurated with an introductory speech by Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek. The program will proceed simultaneously in two halls and will be interpreted into English and, in one of the halls, also into German. More than thirty experts from Poland, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Finland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic will present their contributions at the conference, which focuses on the theme of armed resistance against Communist regimes. The contributions of international participants will emphasize resistance groups in individual European countries. Rafal Wnuk from the Catholic University in Lublin, for example, will speak about Polish partisan groups in hiding in the woods, Florian Banu will introduce armed groups functioning in Romania through the end of the 1950s, and Rasa Balockaite from Lithuania’s Vytautas Magnus University will address the strategy of the Lithuanian struggle against the Soviets. A complete list of papers and their authors can be found in the conference program on the Web site of the Institute. Actual stories of the Czechoslovak resistance and its consequences, in the form of trials and long imprisonment, will be presented by a panel of four survivors: Hana Truncová (convicted to 13 years for treason and espionage), Miloslav Nerad (convicted to 20 years for treason and espionage), Tomáš Sedláček (convicted to life imprisonment at a show trial) and Vojtěch Klečka (convicted to life imprisonment for treason and espionage). Martin Vadas’ film “Land Without Heroes, Land Without Criminals,” about the case of the Mašín brothers, will be screened at the conference. One of the conference panels will also be dedicated to their resistance group. “The study and analysis of extant documents naturally offers a confrontation with materials from the original 1951 investigation and the ensuing ‘retaliation against relatives’ following the escape of the Mašín brothers to the West,” comments Jan Kalous from the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes with regard to his conference paper. Marketa Chalupová from the History Institute of Masaryk University’s Faculty of Arts will further present the media picture of the Mašíns as depicted in period articles from the Czechoslovak publications Rudé právo, Lidová demokracie, Svobodné slovo and Mladá fronta. Conference participants will have the opportunity to visit the exhibition “On the Cold War Front” organized by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and the Security Services Archive and currently on display at the Museum of the City of Prague. The exhibition traces the fates of agents who attempted to illegally cross the “Iron Curtain” between 1948-1956. Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you are interested in an interview with one of the conference presenters. Jiří Reichl Spokesperson Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes Siwiecova 2 Praha 3 130 00 gsm: +420 – 725 787 524 email: