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Spurny, Jaroslav

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2 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Respekt - Czech Republic | 18/08/2010

A new beginning in Czech research on totalitarian past

After prolonged bickering at the Prague-based Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR) the former spokesman for the Czech Bishops' Conference, Daniel Herman, has been appointed its new head. The liberal weekly Respekt sees this as a hopeful sign: "Perhaps the USTR council drew inspiration from Germany in the selection of its new boss. If Protestant priest Joachim Gauck was able to deal successfully with the crimes committed by former East Germany's secret police, why shouldn't the former Catholic priest Herman achieve the same in Prague. ... Herman must carry on with what the founding director Pavel Žáček began - namely the 'open past' project, which aims to give broad access to the files. For the public the information supplied by the USTR should provide the logical basis for people to see how the communist dictatorship broke people and brought them to denounce others and serve the regime."

Respekt - Czech Republic | 07/05/2007

Martin Simecka and Jaroslav Spurny on czech confrontation of the past

The Czech Parliament has decided to create an government office to administer the files of the former secret police. It also will investigate the character of the totalitarian regimes under National Socialism and Communism. Jaroslav Spurny and Martin M. Simecka approve: "This institution can remind us of things that we've nearly forgotten: What life was like in a system where one could get two years for writing 'free elections' on the lavatory door; where the refusal to join a 'brigade' meant the end of your career, where you would be expelled from school for going to a 'banned' concert and where you were punished for having long hair and wearing jeans. In the 1990s we hoped to see justice done for these 'banal evils' of communism. But this did not happen. Few protagonists of the regime were convicted... After 1989 it was easy to get the impression that everyone had been something of a resistance fighter, that no one had collaborated with the regime. The archives may well be a merciless mirror to remind us, and especially our children, of the way we were."

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