Maik Reichenbach was bassist of the Leipzig punk band ‘L'Attentat’. After prolonged prison stays, he left the GDR in 1988. He assists the 'Substitut' archive in Berlin by digitizing images, text and sound.
- Leipzig , Deutschland
As the GDR was founded in 1949, Brigitte Reimann was 16 years old. After graduating from high-school in 1951, she began work as a teacher. Her authorial debut came in 1955, in works which expressed enthusiastic support for the development of socialism. With publication of her short story, "Ankunft in Alltag" in 1961 she was celebrated in the GDR as a pioneer of a new literary current, the so-called "arrival literature". However, it was not before long that she encountered difficulties arising from the narrow-mindedness and dogmatism of many party functionaries. She was alarmed by the growing militarization of society, and ultimately repulsed by the suppression of the Prague Spring in August 1968. She desired to coexist in true socialism oriented along human needs. From her birthplace of Burg (near Magdeburg) she moved in 1960 to Hoyerswerda before finally settling in Neubrandenburg in 1968. There, she devoted herself entirely to writing "Franziska Linkerhand ", one of her most notable works. In 1973 she succumbed to cancer.
- Neubrandenburg , Germany undefined
Martin Reiner (formerly Pluháček) is a Czech poet, writer and publisher. He attended military grammar school, and then studied at the military university. However he did not finish his studies. After he refused to participate in a military exercise, he spent eight months in prison. Reiner has dealt with the life and work of Czech poet Ivan Blatný over a long period of time. He got acquainted with Blatný’s poems in 1986, at a time when Blatný’s books could not be found in Czechoslovak libraries. As Reiner later stated, Blatný’s poetry “bewitched” him. Reiner was so fascinated by Ivan Blatný, that he eventually visited him in England in October 1989, shortly before the end of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. In 1990, he arranged the transfer of Blatný’s manuscripts written in exile to the Museum of Czech Literature. A quarter of a century later, Reiner finished a voluminous book dealing with Ivan Blatný entitled Básník: román o Ivanu Blatném (Poet: A Novel about Ivan Blatný) which received the Czech award “Magnesia Litera” for the best book of the year in 2015.
- Brno, Czech Republic
Kęstutis Remeika is the deputy director of the Lithuanian Special Archive. He has been working at the archive since 1995, when the archive was founded. Before that, in 1993 he joined the group of archivists established by the Lithuanian government that took charge of the files left in Lithuania by the KGB (the Working Group on Special Archive Files of the Lithuanian Archive Department). Remeika is a key figure in providing archive policy towards the structure of the collection.
As deputy director, Remeika is involved in taking decisions about the structure of the collection. He was not involved in any anti-Soviet activity or opposition to Soviet rule. According to Remeika, it is hard to define what ‘cultural opposition’ means. The notion could include a wide range of activities: from talking in the kitchen while listening to Western radio programmes to participation in anti-Soviet activities. There were only a few people in Lithuania who stood up openly against the regime. The Lithuanian Special Archive does not make any further efforts to find material about cultural opposition: writers and members of the intelligentsia are not subjects of the archive. The work of archives in Lithuania is divided according to the subjects (authors) of documents, and for this reason the Lithuanian Special Archive holds only files on KGB activity.
- Vilnius, 40 Gediminas avenue, 01110 Lithuania
Smiljana Rendić was a Catholic journalist, writer and poet, born in Split on 27 August 1926. From 1933 to 1940, she attended primary school and after that the gymnasium in Split, where she joined the Croatian Catholic Movement before the outbreak of World War II. In 1948, the communist authorities in Split expelled her and her widowed mother from their flat because of the family's opposition to the new regime. In the 1950s, she worked in the factory Jugoplastika in Split and in 1960 moved to Rijeka. There she was employed in the administration of the maritime affairs magazine Pomorstvo, where she worked until forced retirement in 1972.
In Rijeka she also worked for the magazine La voce del popolo. However, after being discovered as a practical believer, she was dismissed from the magazine, as it was under the control of the Communist Party. In 1963, she began collaborating with the bi-weekly newspaper Glas Koncila, the most prominent Catholic publication in socialist Yugoslavia. In the beginning, she published stories with an autobiographical character under the pseudonym Berith (Heb. covenant), in which she narrated her personal life and the lives of her contemporaries at a time of overall atheisation and the erasure of national identity. Also in 1963, she began working as a journalist for the periodical Glasnik sv. Antuna Padovanskog, writing under the pseudonym Vjera Marini.
Due to the article “Izlazak iz genitiva ili drugi hrvatski preporod“ (‘Departure from the genitive or the second Croatian national revival’) published in 1971 in the journal Kritika, she was prosecuted by the communist authorities under Article 118 of the Criminal Code. During her trial in 1972, she was prohibited from appearing in public and writing for a year, and was sentenced to one year in prison. The next year, after an appeal process, Rendić's verdict was commuted by the Supreme Court to a conditional sentence of one year in prison, but she was still punished by a one-year ban on writing and public activity, with mandatory retirement.
As of 1973 she lived as a retired person in Rijeka, but continued her journalistic and literary work primarily in Glas Koncila. Interestingly, at the time of the emergence of the Polish Solidarity Movement at the beginning of the 1980s she was the first journalist who reported on Poland in Croatia and Yugoslavia, where such processes did not suit either the regime or the media under its control.
In 1988 she was granted a special prize by Glas koncila, the ‘Golden Quill’. Although not formally educated, Rendić acquired deep theological knowledge through her intellectual work. It may be said that Rendić was among the most important Croatian Catholic journalists in the second half of the 20th century.
She died in Rijeka on 26 May 1994 at the age of 68.
- Rijeka , Croatia
- Split, Croatia 21000