The Securitate-files of Géza Domokos, general director of the Kriterion publishing house, 1970-1990. Archival documents
Géza Domokos (1928-2007) graduated in Moscow from the Maxim Gorky Literary Institute. After returning to Romania, he served as editor at several journals and newspapers, and in 1961 he became editor-in-chief of the minority department of the Literary Publishing House (Editura pentru Literatură). In 1968–1969 he was deputy editor-in-chief of Előre (Forward), a nationwide Hungarian-language Party newspaper. From 1970 until August 1990 he was the director of the minority publishing house Kriterion. For a time, he was the vice-president of the Writer's Union of Romania, and between 1969 and 1984 he was an alternate member of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party. Géza Domokos was probably the most active Hungarian intellectual in a senior position in those times. After the 1989 revolution, he was among the founders of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, the minority party of which he served as first president until 1993.
The Kriterion publishing house was founded in 1969 in Bucharest with the aim of publishing books in the languages of the minorities in Romania (including translations from world literature) and translations from the literature of minorities into other minority languages and into Romanian. The works were both classic and contemporary. Topics included literature, history, philosophy, and graphic art. For Hungarians in Romania, this publishing house was the most important intellectual workshop outside of the university sphere.
The voluminous Securitate files of Domokos Géza contain a total of ca. 18,000 pages included in 33 volumes of about 500-600 pages each. Four of these volumes contain notes, reports, analyses and other types of documents issued by the Securitate, while the other 29 volumes consist of the minutes of discussions intercepted at his home and workplace, the Kriterion publishing house. These Hungarian-language discussions were translated into Romanian, and they are sometimes presented in a condensed manner and sometimes transcribed verbatim.Information concerning everyday cultural life, formal and informal networks, practices of sustaining cultural life, official control mechanisms, techniques of fending off official attacks etc. abound in these materials. The documents provide insights into the activity of Domokos and his role in organizing cultural life as well as the functioning of the Kriterion publishing house, and also into other issues and domains, such as: what participation in public life in Romania could mean for a Hungarian intellectual in socialist Romania (formal and informal conditions of participation; inner, socially relevant motivations behind certain decisions, statements, acts etc.; as well as external evaluations of these decisions coming from the Hungarian intelligentsia; etc.), networks of intellectuals, the perspective of the controlling and surveillance organs on issues such as “nationalism,” and others issues).
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- Kiss, Ágnes