Dagmar Havlová is a Czech actor. She studied at the Conservatory and at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno, graduating in 1975. She was given her first important film role while she was still a student. Her filmography includes more than 50 feature-length films and more than 300 television productions. Dagmar Havlová is also involved in the theatre and from 1979-1997 was a member of the drama group at the Vinohrady Theatre. In 1997 she married the then president, Václav Havel, and temporarily suspended her acting career. In the same year she set up the Vize 97 foundation, which a year later was merged with the Václav and Olga Havel Foundation under the title of the Dagmar and Václav Havel VIZE 1997 Foundation. Dagmar Havlová was then the chair of its board of directors. In 2006 she went back to acting at the Vinohrady Theatre and later also returned to film and television screens. She was behind the establishment of the Václav Havel Library in 2004.
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Olga Havlová (née Šplíchalová), was the first wife of the Czechoslovak and later Czech president Václav Havel. She apprenticed in the Bata shoe factory, where she worked afterwards. In the 1950s, she had a number of different jobs, such as shop assistant or accountant; she also was in an amateur theater performance. In the mid-1950s she met Václav Havel, and they married in 1964. In the 1960s she was employed as an usher in the Theater on the Balustrade, where Václav Havel also was working. After the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, she supported the dissident activities of her husband. After Václav Havel’s imprisonment in 1979, Olga was active in the samizdat publisher Expedice, together with her brother-in-law Ivan Havel, and participated in the Charter 77 activities (she signed Charter 77 in 1982). The collection of letters written by Václav Havel from prison to his wife Olga between 1979 and 1983 later became one of Havel’s most important philosophical works. Olga Havlová was active in the underground video-magazine “Originální videojournal” (“Original Video-Journal”), which reported on dissident activities and the then political and cultural situation in Czechoslovakia. She also helped with the distribution of samizdat newspaper Lidové noviny (The People’s Newspaper). After 1989, as the First Lady of Czechoslovakia (and later the Czech Republic), Olga Havlová mainly focused on charitable activities. In 1990 she co-founded, together with her friends from Charter 77, the Committee of Good Will, and in 1992, she established the Olga Havlová Foundation, which helps people with disabilities. In 1997 Olga Havlová was, in memoriam, awarded the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk for outstanding contribution to democracy and human rights.
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Dušan Havlíček is a media journalist and theorist.
Havlíček graduated from the Prague Teaching Institute and from 1942 he studied conducting at the Prague Conservatory at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. But in 1944, he was arrested by the Gestapo, and in the same year in Nuremberg he was sentenced to six years in prison. He was imprisoned for an illegal activity when he was in the student cell of the, at that time illegitimate, Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, having spread leaflets. After returning from prison in August 1945, he continued his studies, which ended in the summer of 1948. He then worked in several different artistic and concert organizations, such as the People's Art Concert Agency, and then for a while moved to the Artistic and Music Centre. He had engaged in different aspects of the cultural sphere from the circus, to café concerts, to television broadcasting.
At the end of the 1950s, he devoted himself to journalism, and for a short time he also worked in the cultural column of Rudé právo (a communist newspaper). He then went to the magazine "Hudební rozhledy". In 1963, he became editor of Cultural Works, where he dealt mainly with television and music. He also worked as a journalist focusing on culture, mostly about Switzerland. In the autumn of 1967, along with other editors, he left Cultural Arts in protest of the appointment of a new editor-in-chief, known for his ultra-conservative views. He joined the Institute of History and Mass Media Theory at Charles University in Prague.
In May 1968 Havlíček was approached by Čestmír Císař – then the secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party – and offered the position of head of the press section. Havlíček finally accepted this position and in June 1968 he was appointed head of the press, radio and television section of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. However, because he spoke about the meeting of the Bureau of the Central Communist Party of the Czechoslovak Communist Party of August 20, 1968, before occupation, in the Radio Free Europe, Havlíček became a target of frequent attacks by the members of the Communist Party of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. He remained in his post until March 1969, where he was sent as a correspondent of the Czech Press Agency to Geneva. It was all arranged at the last minute, since Alexandr Dubcek had to approve this position and he did so just before the departure. Havlíček refused to obey calls to return to Prague and in January 1970 requested political asylum, which he was granted. The fact that he did not obey the calls led to him being sentenced in absence to prison in Prague for twelve years. The indictment spoke of the damage of property, illegally leaving the republic and damaging its interests abroad.
Dušan Havlíček has lived in Geneva since then. By the mid-1980s, he was a researcher at the Swiss Broadcasting and Television Directorate in Bern. He was then responsible for audience surveys in Geneva's Swiss television in the mid-90s.
At the same time, Dušan Havlíček has worked for many years as a publicist and contributed political articles on Czechoslovakia to a number of Swiss daily newspapers and other foreign journals, and also worked consistently with the exile “Listy” magazine.
- Geneva, Switzerland
Vice-president and co-founder of the Association of Documentalists "The Road"; present in the Association since 2008.
Born in 1948 in Katowice (big town in Polish Silesia region, rich in coal mines) where he spent his childhood. In 1967 he moved to Warsaw where he studied Sociology at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw. During his studies he started to take photographs and founded Students' Photographic Agency. In 1971 he dropped out of studies and started to work in "Almatur" Travel Office (one of the biggest state travel agencies in socialist Poland, specialising in youth's getaways). Later he was given a position of photo journalist in "Gospodyni" magazine (magazine for lower class women readers) printed by National Agriculture and Forest Edition House. In 1973 he started his career in "itd" magazine - a youth journal - at first as a photo reporter, then as the director of photographic section. From 1982 he worked in sports magazine "Sportowiec". After its closing in 1992 he lost almost all of his archive, what prompted him to work on preserving what was left from his legacy. Together with Krzysztof Barański he established "Beauty Agency", one of first Polish private photos agencies, and from 1993 he worked mainly in advertisement photography.
He is awarded with many photographic distinctions: e.g. First National Competition of News Photography (1974) and Interpress Photo Golden Medallion (1975) for his series "Excursion to Auschwitz". In 2000 he became a member of Polish Association of Photographers. He taught photography in ZPAF School of Photography and at the Higher School of Art and Design in Łódź. Currently retired from professional activities.
- Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland
In 1956, András Hegedűs B. (1930–2001) was one of the secretaries of the Petőfi Circle, which organized a series of free public debates before the revolution, and in 1988 he was a founding member of the Committee for Historical Justice (TIB). In 1981, together with Gyula Kozák (1941–), he began to do oral history interviews with people who had participated in the 1956 revolution, which at the time was considered the number one political taboo in public discourse in Hungary.
Hegedűs studied economics at the Karl Marx University of Economics, and in 1953 he began to work as an assistant instructor at Eötvös Lorand University Budapest, a position he held for four years. As a secondary school pupil sixteen years of age, he became a member of the Hungarian Communist Party, which was later renamed the Hungarian Workers’ Party, and he took an active part in organizing the communist youth movement in Hungary.
His attitude towards 1956 was basically defined by the fact that he was an ambitious young man when it broke out, and he later became a researcher of the revolutionary events he himself took part in and also someone who worked to preserve documents of these events. In 1953, Hegedűs supported the reform line policy of Imre Nagy’s first government. In the spring of 1956, he began organizing public debates of Petőfi Circle, and in late October, he became an activist of the Revolutionary Committee of Hungarian Intellectuals. In an interview, he offered the following definition of his political “education”:
“I deliberately avoid using the term ‘reform communist,’ because this was created only later. In 1956, we did not call ourselves reform communists, as at the time this designation simply had not yet been invented. I myself was a member of the Communist Party from at the age of fifteen, i.e. since 1946. I was for Imre Nagy in 1956, but he himself, of course, was a communist leader, who wanted to deconstruct the Stalinist dictatorship in Hungary. And by November 4, he had clearly become a devoted supported of the multi-party system and the independence of Hungary, which means he was no longer a communist. This is why I feel reluctant to use the term ‘reform communist,’ because many thousands of us went through this painful ‘political education,’ and we paid a heavy price for it later, as we were either imprisoned or forced to emigrate. This was really a cathartic process both mentally and politically. And we did not decide to become ‘reform communists’ deliberately, rather we suffered this as a later stigma.”
In 1957, he was dismissed from his job at the university as a disciplinary measure. In 1959, he was arrested, tried, and sentenced to two years imprisonment. When he was released in 1960, he was unable to find a job for years because of his record. Later, he worked as an economist and sociologist for industrial research institutes, the Higher Education Research Center, and the Center for East Central European Academic Researches, until 1979, when he was dismissed again for having signed a declaration of solidarity with activists of the Czechoslovak Charta 77 movement who had been imprisoned.
In 1981 and 1982, he hosted a good dozen of meetings known as “Roundtable talks on 1956” in his home. Working together with Gyula Kozák and Miklós Szabó, he also did a series of collective and individual interviews with twelve prominent participants in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. In 1985, in cooperation with Gyula Kozák, he established the Oral History Archives. He offers the following recollection of this: “We took the initiative to establish an independent archives in the early 1980s, as we realized, simply, that more and more friends among the one-time participants in and witnesses to the events of 1956 were passing away and taking their precious memories with them.” In 1986, on the 30 anniversary of the Revolution, he was one of the organizers of another illegal conference held in the home of poet and stubborn ’56-er István Eörsi. In 1988, Hegedűs hosted the illegal founding meeting of the Committee for Historical Justice (TIB), of which he was elected to serve as secretary and, later, as managing deputy director. In these capacities, he actively organized the public reburial of executed revolutionary prime Imre Nagy and his fellow-martyrs.Following the fall of the regime, Hegedűs was rehabilitated, and he regained his post as an instructor at Eötvös Lorand University Budapest. In 1990, he was made the director of the 1956 Research Institute, a position he held for nine years. He passed away in 2001.
- Budapest, Hungary