Stories of 20th Century

Post Bellum / Hlavní město Praha

Up until now the Czech Republic has had no readily and easily accessible public internet archive of the stories, opinions and memories of Czech public figures from the 20th and 21st centuries. Contrary to the examples of the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria or Slovakia, no one in the Czech Republic has hitherto taken the initiative to systematically assemble such an archive. And yet precisely such a project is one of the most important sources of journalistic or academic research. We have therefore decided to form an institution that would create such an archive. The archive would be publicly accessible over the internet in a way that made it easy for all users to search not only for biographical portraits of selected public figures but also to research the topics of which these people bear witness. Apart from its electronic format, the archive would also serve as a regular archive accessible in existing public or other institutions, such as libraries, museums, the media and so on. The archive of the memoirs of Czech public figures is being assembled by a group of reporters and anchors of the former Czech service of the BBC, editors of Czech Radio and graduates of Charles University’s various humanities programs. The method employed is the now widely used „oral history“ method, meaning the recollective biographical documentaries are recorded with individual witnesses in audio and MP3 format. As part of the project, the oral history form is then supplemented with textual and photographic documents. In special cases the audio form is to be accompanied by television footage. The target witnesses and surviving contemporaries are divided into individual thematic groups and subgroups: Czechoslovak WWII army veterans, Czech and German „anti-fascists“ from WWII, former Nazi concentration camp inmates, participants of Czechoslovak army missions under the Communist regime, participants of Czechoslovak and Czech army missions after 1989, political prisoners in Communist Czechoslovakia from 1948-1969, executive government officials from 1948-1969, political prisoners in Communist Czechoslovakia from 1969-1989, executive government officials from 1969-1989, dissidents from 1969-1989, and signatories of the Charter 77 human rights manifesto and outstanding political, cultural and scientific figures from 1948 to the present. THE METHODOLOGY OF THE PROJECT: The basic methodology of the project can be divided into three phases: The first phase, which focuses primarily on the collection of oral accounts, can be described as heuristic. Its most important aspect is the acquiring of an audio recording. The interview with the respondent is held according to a given set of standardized questions that are drafted with respect to each group and subgroup of witnesses in a way that should maximize the informative value of each recording as a source of oral history. The length of individual recordings is not predetermined; it depends on the condition and readiness of the respondent. During this phase a protocol is produced which consists of an annotation of the recording and a contractual declaration regarding the legal basis of the testimony’s further use. A historical questionnaire, specific for each group and subgroup and compiled by the expert guarantor of each thematic subgroup, is formulated in a way that makes it possible to record other historically relevant data (educational background, military or other service), personal standpoints (opinions about important contemporary events, etc.), and a psychological portrait of the respondent (conscience, apology, valued characteristics, highlights of a respondent’s spiritual life, etc.). Photographic documentation will supplement the audio and textual material. The respondent can either lend select documentary photographs from his or her personal archive to be electronically processed and thereupon returned or, alternately, the interviewer will take photos during the recording. In the second phase, which may be described as archivist, an archival unit is compiled from the audio recording (on CD), the protocol, the questionnaire and the contract concerning the testimony’s usage. The unit is then catalogued in a way that will make its future use as simple as possible. The third phase of the project foresees the utilization of archival units that will permanently contribute to the cultivation of the country’s historical consciousness and its commemorative culture. The units are expected to complement the work of journalists and to serve as sources for historical research into the given fields and for the public presentation of the results of such research. The photographic and textual versions of the archival units and excerpts from individual recordings will be published on the project’s website in a way that will enable users to simply and quickly find the sources relevant to their research topics in this unique archive of the personal historical memoirs of outstanding Czech public figures of the 20th and 21st centuries. The archive of “the nation’s memory” will be a lively information source primarily because of its utility. As of May 2006 Czech Radio’s Rádio Česko service and the Radiožurnál station had been broadcasting a new documentary series, Stories of the 20th Century, produced on the basis of the existing archive till february 2013. Since that time, Stories of the 20th Century have been broadcasting on Czech Radio's Plus station and the Radiožurnál station. Adress: o.s. Post Bellum, se sídlem Na Hřebenkách 82/2909, Praha 5, 15000 Smíchov. Bank in Czech rep.: Komerční banka a.s. pobočka Praha Smíchov Štefánikova 22 150 00 Praha 5 bank acount: 51-1707230277/0100 CZK IBAN: CZ8001000000511707230277 Banka SWIFT (BIC): KOMBCZPPXXX

Copyright description

All stories, testimonies, text documents, photographs and other materials from the collection of Post Bellum are available to anyone who respects citation rules. We want to use the collection in the widest possible use to educational, research, publication, and other purposes. Please refer "to the Post Bellum collection". For the license use please contact:

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