10. 4. 2009 14:33

International conference 15 - 16 April 2009

Rebellion and Resistance Against the Communist Regimes in Czechoslovakia and Central Europe.

The conference was organized by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, in cooperation with the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic on the occasion of the Czech Republic's presidency of the Council of the EU. The conference in the Lichtenštejnský Palace will be introduced with an opening address by Czech Republic Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek.

The program was taken place on both days in parallel in two halls of the Lichtenštejnský Palace and was simultaneously interpreted. More than 30 experts from Poland, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Finland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic appeared at the conference with their contributions on the topic of the armed resistance against communist regimes.

Contributions from foreign guests included more on the resistance groups in individual European countries. For example, Rafal Wnuk of the Catholic University in Lublin speaked about the guerrilla groups hiding in the Polish forests, Florian Banu introduced the resistance groups operating in Romania until the end of the 1950s, and the strategy of the Lithuanian struggle against the Soviets was presented by Rasa Balockaite of Lithuania's Vytautas Magnus University.

A complete list of the contributions and their authors can be found in the conference programme on the Institute's website.

As part of the conference, there was a screening of Martin Vadas' documentary, "Land Without Heroes, Land Without Criminals," on the case of the Mašín brothers.

The conference programme was divided into three panels:

1) The Czech and Slovak resistance against the communist regime

The panel is focussed on emphasising the resistance tradition in the Czech lands after 1948 and on highlighting its participants. A topic of contributions may include the active preparation for carrying out an armed anti-communist revolt with the goal of toppling the communist regime, the gathering of weapons with the goal of preparing armed action, the preparation of political programs after the possible fall of the communist regime, the activity of foreign services on the Czech territory, and the activity of so-called agent-walkers, the active behaviour against the functionaries of the Czechoslovak Communist Party and supporters of its policies, the printing and distribution of illegal printed materials, and others.

2) Czech and Slovak resistance against the Communist regime

The goal of the panel is to discuss and elucidate a large amount of the activities whose goals were to undermine the authority of the communist regime, to weaken the position of the communist party in Czechoslovakia – flier actions, samizdat, church activities, public protests against the politics of the communist regime, etc.

3) Czechoslovak foreign resistance and resistance in individual countries

The panel will look at the activities of Czechoslovak exiles outside the borders of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (The Council of Free Czechoslovakia, Radio Free Europe, the Voice of America, etc.), the activities of western secret services outside Czechoslovak borders, activities of Czechoslovak citizens in foreign armies for the purpose of overthrowing the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, further resistance activities against the communist and so-called People's Democratic regimes in individual countries of the Eastern Bloc.

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