Museum of the Crimes and Victims of Communism was opened. It follows in important part of the "puzzle of remembrance", which several cities of the former East Bloc include.
The museum project can be approached as Slovakia deals with its recent past. The old Communist cadres and their late adepts are still active also after 23 years since the end of their power. The museum project was publicly proposed by Silent Heroes an organization of former political prisoners and in 2010 by a forum of Christian societies. The project was supported by the Slovakian Minister Iveta Radicova. The Christian Democrat stood for parliamentary elections in March of 2012. She wanted the museum to be built even by the government, in order to lend it a formal and visible status. In the election, the center-left parties won and the museum had to stand on its own feet without government funding.
Christians Keep Alive the Memory of the Real Crimes of Socialism
On 16 November, the symbolic date which is reminiscent for the Slovaks of the non-violent "revolution" of 1989, marked the "temporary" opening of the museum. The official opening is planned for March 2013. The premises for the museum were provided by the University of Health and Work, whose Rector Vladimir Krčméry, a nephew of Silvester Krčméry, was one of the leading figures of the underground church during the Communist dictatorship where work could only be done under the most difficult conditions in secret, in "silence".
Rector Krčméry presented the museum which supports the vast attic of the building is available, which formerly housed the nursing school where the Blessed Sister Zdenka Scheling had been trained. Schelingová was entered into the long line of those who fell victim to Communism.
"We will endeavor to get a bigger space, but until then we will make the best possible use of the space available to us," said museum director Frantisek Neupauer, who is also chairman of the Association Silent Heroes. Neupauer was already an employee of the Slovak Institute of National Remembrance. Neupauer is constantly on tour for his museum collection. At the end of an interview the journalist of Czech Radio even gets out his wallet and gives Neupauer a donation.
The Museum is Concerned with the Communist Coup of 1948 to the End of the East Bloc of 1989
In the museum the period is represented by the communist coup in 1948 until the collapse of the communist dictatorship in 1989. It focuses on the personal stories of many "Silent Heroes" who served the resistance to the dictatorship. It looks way through the city leading to the sites of oppression. In the archive of the Association Silent Heroes the cases of 70,000 "silent" victims are documented, whose names are hardly known today, "but which were characterized by their human greatness because of their sense of justice and the totalitarian regime they resisted. Each of them has helped that we have returned to democracy," said Neupauer. The medium-term goal of the museum is to document and totalitarian regimes outside Europe such as Cambodia.
In showcases, original pieces are seen, which were made by political prisoners in detention. For example, a puppet of the Good Soldier Svejk was made by prisoners in the uranium mines in northern Bohemia from wood chips and bread. The Federation of Former Political Prisoners, whose chairman Anton Srholec support the museum project with great commitment represents, more objects.
New Left-wing Government won't give a cent for Museums, because there are "already quite a lot" of Museums
There is quite a different sound coming from the new left-wing government. Culture Minister Marek Maďarič, a former Communist, which occurs today in the Communist successor SMER stated already that the new government will notgive the museum "a penny" because in Slovakia "already are a lot of museums."
The memory of the Communist dictatorship and its perpetrators is not wanted by the new government. The attempt to cover up the suffering of decades, oppose the club Silent Heroes and the federal government of former political prisoners. They have left the Catholic tradition, where memory is more important than an abstract desire to be "emancipated" constantly from something. Each according to the requirements of his own past, where emancipation will be mere forgetfulness and coverup.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
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