Faith and Might / Medical History of Society / Purgation / Who Does the Past Belong To? / Dangerous Children

Suicide Directed by State Security



In the fifth part of the original series of the RTVS (Radio and Television Slovakia), which is a co-production created in cooperation with Mandala Pictures, DogDocs and the Divadelná Nitra International Theatre Festival, we will take a journey back in time to 1980s Czechoslovakia. In 1968 Soviet tanks crushed the hopes of any reforms and what followed was a period of normalization. The State Security (Štátna Bezpečnosť, ŠtB) expanded its network of collaborators, worked systematically to disrupt the activities of opposition groups and to publicly discredit them, and tried to prevent the spread of influence of foreign movements, such as the Polish Solidarity. Their job was not that hard – unlike in Poland or Romania where people regularly took to the streets and where bloody clashes with armed security forces were frequent, in Czechoslovakia, due to the relative well-being and social calm enjoyed by the majority society, the State Security was able to rely on general voluntary self-control. Under these circumstances, the ŠtB was even more eagerly engaged in combating manifestations of opposing views. One of the movements which was considered especially dangerous, was the movement of the underground church, which was able to mobilise hundreds of thousands of worshippers, as shown during the organization of the Candlelight Demonstration in Bratislava in March 1988. The ŠtB used sophisticated methods to intimidate the members or liquidate the priests of the secret church. The so-called suicides and murders of priests which the ŠtB organised using front men or by other sophisticated methods, remain unresolved even today. One of such cases is the alleged suicide of secretly ordained priest Přemysl Coufal of 1981. What were the methods used by the ŠtB in the 1970s and 1980s? What actions did they take against the underground church and other opposition movements? How do we deal with the heritage of our totalitarian past today? The answers to these questions is what creators of the TV documentary together with the authors of the stage production The Inside of the Inside Ľubomír Burgr and Dušan Vicen, priest Anton Srholec, dissident Miroslav Lehký and historiographer Ľubomír Morbacher look for. The stage piece produced by the SkRAT Theatre in Bratislava is one of the outcomes of the project Parallel Lives – 20th Century Through the Eyes of Secret Police, whose initiator, main organiser and producer is the Divadelná Nitra Association.

To be broadcasted on Saturday 08.11.2014 at 21.00 on channel Dvojka

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