Witnesses of the Oppression Period
Nation's Memory Institute
One of the roles of the Nation´s Memory Institute (NMI) is to publish and make the information from the period of oppression accessible to the public. Since November 2004 an audio-visual workplace has been created in NMI´s complex. Its main goal is to make visible particular human fates from the totalitarian times. Until today we have recorded more than 170 witness talks and the total video-recording time exceeds 350 hours. Each year this number is being increased by 100 hours of the audiovisual record. The witness talks of persecuted citizens, mainly the political prisoners, portray the period of the Second World War, holocaust, Slovak National Uprising, deportations into the Russian labour camps, 1950´s, forced labour camps in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, year 1968, and period of normalization until the November 1989. Recording, selection of the witnesses, selection of the witness talks, and the topics of the interviews are done in accordance with the Oral History project that is being coordinated in our Institute by the Oral History Department. The witness talks remain stored in the NMI´s archive and they shall serve for the research and educational purposes as well as for the production of the future documents. We are considering the complex digitalization of the Oral History talks, to be able to provide the witness talks to the general public. We obtain the selection of the witness talks and the contact information of the Oral History witnesses based on the personal contacts or thanks to the cooperation with partner organizations as are KPVS (Confederation of the Slovak Political Prisoners) and ZPKO (Anti-Communist Resistant Union). Documentary production is preceded by the research activities of historians, personal meetings with the witnesses, listening to the witness talks, and the agreement of their publishing. Agreements on the Oral History witness talks are registered and stored in the files at the Oral History production centre. The NMI has an effort to use the audiovisual interviews in a non-limited space-time extent. The goal is to publish the OH witness talks in press and electronic media, on the internet at home as well as abroad. Our department cooperates with the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in the Czech Republic. We have also joined the creating of a common database within the international project of Community of European Memory – Memory of Nation – that focuses its activities on the European internet portal. The aim of this project is to make accessible to the general public all of the horrors brought by the totalitarian regimes. For this purpose we have attended the joint symposium in Prague and gained a certificate of working on the internet portal www.pametnaroda.cz. In January 2009, by signing the Declaration of the European Memory, the NMI has confirmed its interest in cooperation in publishing the witness talks about the crimes of the past totalitarian regimes. There are mainly researchers, historians, documentarians and students working of their seminar or diploma works, who express their interest for the audiovisual records from the oppression period. The greatest interest in using the audiovisual material, however, express television producers. We hope that our common portal will provide the potential interested people much greater opportunities.
There will be a link to the OH witness talks at the www.upn.gov.sk, from where the users will be directed to the portal www.pametnaroda.cz. According to the emotional content of the OH witness talks we have to respect the conditions of their publishing. The NMI assures its respondents not to provide the witness talks for publishing outside the context to the third party. The selection of the witness talks for the www.pametnaroda.cz portal will be done in compliance with the signed agreements on the witness talks publishing.