Jan Zahradníček was a Czech poet, writer, translator, critic, and journalist. He is known for his Catholic and anti-communist poetry. His first poems appeared in 1924 in Studentský časopis. Zahradníček subsequently contributed to many other journals and newspapers (e.g. Tvar, Listy pro umění a kritiku, Archa, Host, Literární noviny, Kvart, Lidové noviny). His first collection of poems, entitled Pokušení smrti (The Temptation of Death), was published in 1930. In 1929 and 1930 Zahradníček passed librarian exams. He edited the literary review Akord (1940–1948) and worked as an editor at Brněnské tiskárny publishing house (1945–1949). After the Communist coup of February 1948, Zahradníček was expelled from the Union of Czechoslovak Writers because of his Catholic and anti-communist attitudes. In June 1951, he was accused of espionage and subversions against the Communist regime and arrested. A year later, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison. During his imprisonment, he continued writing poetry. Poems from this period were published later, after Zahradníčekʼs death, in the collections Čtyři léta (Four years, 1969) and Dům Strach (House of Fear, 1981). These poems reflected not only his difficult life in prison, but also family tragedy – his two daughters died in 1956 from mushroom poisoning. Apart from these two collections, Zahradníčekʼs reflection of the Communist regime can be found in the poetry collections La Saletta (1947) and Znamení moci (Sign of Power, 1951). However, Znamení moci could not be published until 1990. Zahradníček was granted amnesty and released in 1960, although, due to his poor health, he died soon after his release. Before 1989, Communist authorities tried to remove Zahradníčekʼs name from the official history of Czech literature. Thus, before 1989, his work could only be published – with some exceptions during the late 1960s – as samizdat or in exile.
- Třebíč, Czech Republic
Pavel Zajíček is a Czech poet, musician, artist and was a leading figure of the Czech underground. He cooperated with the underground band Plastic People of the Universe and in 1973 he founded, together with Milan Hlavsa, the band DG 307. Zajíček wrote lyrics for these bands. In 1976, he was sentenced to a year in prison. After his release, he was a signatory to Charter 77. In 1980, he emigrated from Czechoslovakia to Sweden and later to the United States of America.
- Gothenburg, Sweden
- Mařenice, Czech Republic
- New York, United States
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
- Uppsala, Sweden
Opanas Zalyvakha was born in the village Husyntsi, located in the Kup’iansky district, near Kharkiv in 1925, fleeing from the famine unfolding in the Ukrainian countryside in 1932-33 to the Far East. He studied in Irkutsk, went to middle school in Leningrad, and evacuated with most of the city to Samarkand during Word War II. He returned to Leningrad in order to resume his studies in 1946 at the Soviet Academy of Arts. In his second year, he was reprimanded for “behaviour unbefitting a soviet student” and expelled, solidifying Zalyvakha’s general discomfort with the Soviet regime to which his childhood and peripatetic early years contributed. He held a variety of odd jobs before landing at an art fond in Kaliningrad. It was only in 1955 that he was allowed to return to his studies at the Soviet Art Academy, which he finished in 1960.
His art praxis in Kosiv, in Hutsul region of Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, in 1957 was restorative for his restless spirit and had a lasting impact on his work and evolving worldview. After completing his studies, he worked briefly at an art fond in Tyumen in 1961, before returning to Ukraine, joining the union of artists in Ivano-Frankivsk. In the fall of 1962, he became better acquainted with the cultural intelligentsia based in Kyiv, and began attending gatherings organized by the Kyiv Club of Creative Youth, which drew him into the national cultural renaissance underway. He became friends with Ivan Svitlychnyi, M. Kotsiubynska, M. and B Horyn’, Viacheslav Chornovil and O. Antoniv, who helped him understand “the essence of Moscow imperialism.” In 1964, together with Alla Horska, L. Semkin, H. Zubchenko and H. Sevruk he created a stained glass window called “Shevchenko. Mother” at Kyiv University in honour of the 150th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko’s birth. A defiant, fierce Shevchenko stands with his right fist raised, holding a woman in his other arm symbolizing Ukraine, beleaguered and abused by Soviet power.
The image in the foyer of the Sixtier Museum is a reproduction of the only known sketch of this work. The stained glass window was commissioned by the university and on March 9, 1964 the artists were supposed to have completed the process of painting the sketch onto on large glass windows found on the first floor. If the university liked the work, the next step would have been creating the window from shards of colored glass held in place by metalwork. However, the black metal created lines that made it looked like Shevchenko and the woman he was holding were behind bars. Upon seeing this, the party committee of the university ordered the window’s immediate destruction. As a result, Alla Horska and Liudmila Semykina were thrown out of the artists Union (though their membership was restored the following year). After this, the KGB also began actively surveilling Zalyvakha.
On August 27, 1965, Zalyvakha was arrested along with many other members of the creative intelligentsia for reading and distributing samvydav literature. In closed court proceedings in Ivano-Frankivsk, he was sentenced to 5 years of hard labour, for violating article 62 part 1 of Soviet Ukraine’s criminal code. He served out his sentence in Mordovian camp No. 11, though he was allowed to write letters to sixtiers who remained on the outside, including Alla Horska, V. Kushnir and N. and I. Svitlychnyi. He was not allowed to paint, but after many protests and demands by other inmates, and a collective letter of protest drafted by other sixtiers likening this punishment to the Tsarist authorities forbidding Taras Shevchenko from writing and painting, he was eventually allowed to make small graphics and postcards. During random searches the camp administration destroyed about 200 such works, but some ex librises and drawings survived.
In August 1970, he returned to Ivano-Frankivsk, where due to his protests on behalf of the historian Valentyn Moroz, imprisoned in the Beria Reserve, and at funeral of his friend Alla Horska he lived for six months under stringent administrative surveillance. The art fond refused to give him work upon his return, and he thus ended up doing factory work. His apartment was searched twice. From 1971 until the early 1980s, he worked as a bookmaker for the publishers “Veselka” and “Kameniar.” In July 1980, the KGB confiscated many of his works during yet another search of his apartment. He continued working and experimenting in the monumental arts, interior design, books and album covers, including several volumes of collected works written by other sixtiers. After being banned for many years, Zalyvakha was finally able to publicly show his work at an art exhibition in 1988 in both Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv. In 1989, he also held an exhibition in Kyiv and several in Toronto, London and New York.
- Irkutsk, Russia
- Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
- Kosiv, Ukraine
- Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Dinu Zamfirescu (b. 26 June 1929 in Bucharest) became a victim of the communist regime after the takeover of power. He was detained on political grounds several times and expelled from the Faculties of both Law and History, where he was a student at the end of the 1940s. He was permitted to re-enroll and complete his law studies only in 1973. In Romania, he was unable to work in the field of his studies, being considered an "enemy of the people." For this reason he worked for many years until the 1970s on construction sites in Romania. Later, he joined the Pasteur Institute in Bucharest. In 1975 he settled in France after being bought by a sister who had settled there. In Paris he was actively involved in the organisation and activity of the Romanian exile community and worked as a BBC journalist. After the collapse of the communist regime in Romania, he returned to the country. He was one of the founders of one of the historical Romanian democratic parties, forbidden by the Communists, the National Liberal Party. He was among the founders of the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile, which he headed, and he is currently a member of its Scientific Council. Since 2012 he has been a member of the Collegium of the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives.
- Bucharest, Romania
Gheorghe Zgherea (born in 1932, Văleni, Vulcănești district) was a person of peasant background who hailed from a moderately prosperous family with a strong tradition of religious dissent. Zgherea acquired the basic elements of primary education, attending the village school till the age of twelve (i.e., until 1944), which means his instruction took place in a Romanian educational institution. After the war, he worked in his parents’ household and then apparently joined the collective farm, together with his parents, in 1948. However, in December 1949, he became a member of the Inochentist community in his native village of Văleni. This decision probably resulted from a combination of his parents’ influence and example (their house was used as a gathering place for the group members) and the efforts of some of his relatives and acquaintances (notably the preacher Elena Ciobanu). In any case, it is obvious that family connections and local networks played a crucial role in Zgherea’s conversion. Upon his entering the community, he received a metal cross (a symbol of belonging to his new community) and some Inochentist texts. However, oral sermons held at the periodic assemblies of the faithful were the preferred mode of communication within the group. Within a year, by December 1950, Zgherea had advanced within the local Inochentist hierarchy to become a preacher himself. It appears that, after being consecrated as a preacher, he had to leave his village in order to propagate the Inochentist message in the neighbouring areas. Starting from early 1951, Zgherea became effectively an outcast within Soviet society, entering the underground network of Inochentist village preachers. He travelled (“roamed,” in Soviet parlance) through a number of villages in the southern and central regions of the MSSR, attempting to recruit new members and to spread his community’s radical religious views among the local peasants. He initially worked under the supervision of a senior “brother,” but in the summer of 1951 he became an independent preacher. Besides spreading the millenarian and eschatological message of his community, Zgherea also encouraged the peasants to ignore or reject the policies of the regime, to boycott the Party and the Communist Youth League, and to strictly abide by customary religious practices, including fasting periods. He especially emphasised the refusal to work on Sundays as a prerequisite for eternal salvation. His proselytising and recruitment efforts were not particularly impressive (he only managed to recruit three or four of his fellow villagers into the group). However, the Soviet authorities linked Zgherea’s case to a previous trial of six influential members of the movement, including several of his relatives and his recruiter, Elena Ciobanu. The existence of this clandestine network increased the alarm of the regime, which feared that Inochentism’s appeal in rural areas might undermine the hold of Soviet power on the peasantry. Zgherea was first arrested in December 1952, but managed to escape from police custody during his transportation to the police headquarters in Cahul. He was apprehended again on 2 May 1953 and, after a one-month-long inquiry, was sentenced to twenty-five years of hard labour and to five years of suspension of civil rights, according to articles 54-10, part 2, and 54-11 of the Penal Code of the Ukrainian SSR (“anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda and membership in an anti-Soviet organisation aimed at overthrowing, undermining or weakening Soviet power”). His sentence was revised downwards (to five years in a forced labour camp and three years of suspension of civil rights) in June 1955. He was subsequently amnestied according to the special decree of 27 March 1953 concerning the release of political prisoners. Zgherea was finally rehabilitated by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic of Moldova in December 2005. No further data about his fate after 1955 are available in his case file.
- Chișinău, Moldova