Memory and the History of Totalitarian Regimes
The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes
The main purpose of the project “Memory and the History of Totalitarian Regimes” is to collect, process and archive the testimonies and recollections of those who have in their lifetime eye witnessed groundbreaking events of Czechoslovak history related to the mission of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. The collected testimonies of contemporary witnesses are used for publishing and educational activities of the Institute and serve as a source of valuable information for the general public. Target groups of the project include Czechoslovak citizens held in Soviet internment and labor camps, adherents of religions persecuted in the years 1948–1989, members of the third resistance movement, foreigners involved in the protests against the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and others. The interviewing of witnesses is subject to current needs of the Institute (i.e. a research project, a publication, an exhibition, a conference, an anniversary, etc.) as well as randomly arising opportunities (a visit of an important witness in the Czech Republic, a lecture given by a witness or a witness’ deteriorating health). The structured interview with the witness is ideally conducted over several sessions. The length of the interview is dependent on the experience of the interviewer and the narrating skills, health condition and life destinies of the interviewee. The video recording of the interview is stored in the archive of the Institute. Excerpts from the interview and other collected material like documents or photos are continuously being published on the website of the Institute together with a concise biography of the interviewee. The information used in the biographies is gathered from the interviewees as well as from external sources. The recorded interviews are transcribed (word-by-word transcription) and further processed according to current needs and running projects of the Institute.