Audiovisual testimonies of the Daughters of political prisoners of 1950s in former Czechoslovakia

10 2008 Ostatní English
obálka čísla

Our project uncovers STILL UNTOLD stories of women whose parents were the political prisoners in former communist Czechoslovakia during the 1950s. Our aim is to show stories of these children (and partially as well as of their parents) that have not been published yet so far. There are shown more hidden ways of the persecution of the totalitarian communist regime in our audiovisual project that the Daughters experienced as little girls or very young women. They bear the consequences until today...

Our project is also a MORE UNIVERSAL STORY of children of political prisoners in totalitarian regimes focused on sensitive family values.

Three years after the 2nd WW, communists took over the power in former Czechoslovakia under the leadership of Stalin and Gottwald. Between 1948 and 1952, around 250.000 people were imprisoned on average for ten years, some of them never returned back home from the prison. There were farmers, entrepreneurs, priest, journalists, lawyers, other intellectuals, but also workers with anticommunist opinions etc. Private property of people was confiscated by the New State.

Children of political prisoners had been ostracized and humiliated from childhood to adulthood by the Czechoslovak communists. This oppression occurred after the imprisonment of one or both parents. Fathers were usually taken to labor camps where they became slaves in the uraniummines. Mothers were kept in notorious women’s prisons. These girls grew up without one or both parents, some also in orphans´ homes. They experienced fear, injustice, loneliness and discrimination by their teachers. They were labeled by their pedagogues, friends and schoolmates as “Descendant of criminals”, “Kid of Enemy of the State”.

In their childhood or early youth, the Daughters experienced separation from their parents, fear of their own life and the lives of their loved ones, the feeling of humbleness, separation, injustice, general discrimination in many areas of their lives until their adulthood... These women grew up often only with one of their parents or totally without parents by someone from their family (the relatives or friends of the political prisoners, however, often turned away from these children and the children had to stay in orphan homes). The families of the daughters were suddenly without any resources at the bottom of the social scale... One of the form of their discimination was that these women could not gain higher education than the basic one (they could graduate later in form of a study paralel to their work at some of the industrial schools of technical specialization, they sometimes managed university education with great efforts in the paralel with their work and usually when they were older).

Only some of the Daughters solved their situation by the emigration where they completed their education and partially improved their social position, but their life still did not stay without a mark... The consequences of such political persecution of the 1950s are felt by the Daughters until today. You can learn more about the self-supporting group (and shortly established civic association) of the Daughters and some of their life stories at www.enemysdaughters.com (or www.dcery.cz).

A group of the Daughters of Political Prisoners of the 1950s in the former Czechoslovakia has been formed by Ms. Jana Svehlova, PhD. She was one of these girls who subsequently emigrated to the United States in 1974 and eventually wrote her Doctorate of Philosophy at The George Washington University in Washington D.C., in the area of political psychology.

The audiovisual testimonies of the Daughters of the political prisoners in the former Czechoslovakia in the period of 1948 – 1960 has been recorded since January 28th 2008 until now with thirty seven daughters of political prisoners by ten students of famous Prague film school FAMU under the supervision of the well-known director of documentaries, Ms. Helena Trestikova.

The recorded testimony of one daughter or siblings is about 3 to 5 hours long (it means we have totally more than 150 hours). The edited material of one daughter´s or siblings´ testimony will be 45 min. – 1,5 hours long. The final output of the edited materials will be around 50 hours long. Shooting of the testimonies was finished in April 2008 and they should be finished in the post-production until July 2008. Recording of these testimonies is framed very simply and the highest quality gives the testimony itself in a static picture.

-BS-

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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