Row blows up as ex-dissident publishes secret cop files

Naďa Straková
8. 7. 2009 17:45
Czech public should learn about communist secret police activities, says former anti-communist fighter

Prague - Coming to grips with the communist past is poised to create rows over and over. A new dispute over the former communist secret police files emerged between a former anti-communist dissident and state archive.

Stanislav Penc decided Wednesday to publish two databases containing the names of about 100,000 people who are believed to have been informers of the secret police in the pre-Velvet Revolution times.

Penc says that he was forced to do so, since the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes managing the archives refused to help him out and make them public.

"Not making the archives public is against the logic of the Institute," writes Penc in his Aktuálně.cz blog.

The institute started to operate in February 2008 and serves as a unified source for police and military intelligence data. Penc was one of the initiators of the Institute. 

In Penc's view the public should learn about the content of the secret police files to avoid further speculation about collaboration and blackmailing. The latter badly influences the Czech political scene, says Penc.

The institute argues that the archives contain numerous errors and could be misleading to general public.

The computerized databases are on display on a web site It collapsed several times yesterday under heavy traffic.

Errors and wrong-doing

Further, Penc accuses the instute of making only big names cases public and that is wrong, he says.

Milan Kundera denied the allegations of being an informer
Milan Kundera denied the allegations of being an informer | Foto: Aktuálně.cz

In a recent case a weekly magazine Respekt reported that Czech-born writer Milan Kundera in 1950, while being a student at Prague's Academy of Performing Arts, tipped the police about Miroslav Dvořáček, a secret agent sent from Germany.

Kundera denied the allegation, saying the details, published by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (ÚSTR), were false. Another Czech-born writer and émigré Josef Škvorecký said in an interview for Czech public radio that the secret police often kept false information on people on purpose. His wife Zdeňka Salivarová-Škvorecká was a victim of such a file.


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