Emil Hidoș, a member of the group called Organizația Tinerilor Liberi (The Organisation of Free Youth – OTL), is the author of the musical samizdat publication Wald old popp (sic!) and of several letters to Radio Free Europe (RFE). He was born on 16 October 1950 in Bistrița, Bistrița-Năsăud county, and he worked as a waiter at a local restaurant in his native city. Hidoș came to the attention of the Romanian secret police because of the letters he wrote (alone or with his close friend, Carol Pall) and sent in October 1969 to Cornel Chiriac, the producer of the show Metronom, one of the most popular musical programmes broadcast by the RFE. It was not until June 1970 that the local Securitate managed to identify Hidoș as “Braim Iones,” the author of the letters with “hateful content” sent to the Romanian department of RFE. While he was carrying out compulsory military service away from home, the Securitate organised a search at his home and confiscated other letters addressed to Cornel Chiriac and some copies of Hidoș’s samizdat publication Wald old popp (sic!). The common element of these writings that formed the core of his cultural dissidence was his revolt against the lack of liberty for young people who craved to listen to foreign music and expressed their attachment to Western musical subcultures. Emil Hidoș protested against the lack of entertainment possibilities and the attempts of the regime to control the spare time of young people through its mass organisations. He also denounced the brutal interventions of the communist Militia against young people with long hair and Western clothing, who came to personify for the regime the “social parasitism” that Decree 153/1970 legally incriminated (ACNSAS, P 14400 vol. 1–3).
The Securitate opened a penal investigation, during which Emil Hidoș and his friend Carol Pall were severely beaten until they admitted the imaginary guilt of “propaganda against the socialist order.” In September 1970, the two defendants were put on trial and judged by The Military Tribunal in Cluj-Napoca. As a result, Emil Hidoș received the more severe punishment of six years imprisonment in comparison to his co-accused who received two years and six months. His case was popularised by an article published in Scânteia tineretului, the official newspaper of the Union of Communist Youth, the party-sponsored youth organisation. In fact, the article was a harsh indictment of those young people, like Emil Hidoș and his friends, who expressed their attachment to the hippy movement and preferred to remain on the margins of socialist society. After his early release from prison in 1973, Hidoș continued to be harassed by the Securitate, which prevented him from living a decent life. In 1987, his request for an exit visa was finally approved and he was allowed to leave for The Federal Republic of Germany to join his wife who had refused to return to Romania after a visit to her parents. In 2007, Emil Hidoș returned to Romania and in February 2018, he agreed for the first time to speak publicly about his experience with the communist Securitate (Șchiopu 2018).
- Bistrita, Bistrița, Romania
Helgi Hirv was an Estonian graphic artist and book illustrator. She studied at the Pallas Higher Art School from 1943, and after the end of the Second World War and the liquidation of Pallas by the Soviet authorities, she completed her studies at the Tartu State Art Institute in 1951. Her teacher there was Ado Vabbe, a former Pallas student.
Helgi Hirv is the mother of the poet Indrek Hirv, and was the partner of the artist Louis Pavel.
Indrek Hirv is an Estonian poet. He completed his studies in ceramics at the State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR (today the Estonian Academy of Art) in 1981. He was most active in porcelain painting. He published his first poetry collection in 1987. In 1989-1991, he worked for Radio Free Europe in the Netherlands. Today he is a freelance poet.
Hirv’s parents were the artists Helgi Hirv and Louis Pavel. The family’s neighbours and friends were also artists. After the deaths of his parents, Hirv inherited their collection of paintings and books.
In 1978, he worked as an assistant in the Art Department of the University of Tartu. There he came into contact with people who compiled the samizdat almanac Salong (The Salon), and he was invited to illustrate it. After a year in Tartu, he moved back to Tallinn, and lived in the home of the artist Valdur Ohakas, who, like many artists in his parents’ circle, had been in a Soviet prison camp. Although Ohakas was later recognised as an artist, strictly forbidden subjects were discussed openly and freely in his home.
Hirv grew up in a milieu of extreme criticism towards the Soviet regime, which also meant that he was never a member of the Young Pioneers or the Komsomol. He chose to study ceramics because he also did not want to make Soviet art. Ceramics enabled him to explore abstraction. He also often painted plates in blue, black and white, the colours of the then forbidden Estonian flag; he could use these colours without restriction when painting plates. In the 1980s, he also often worked in Leningrad, where he was in contact with underground artists.
In 1984, Hirv and some of his colleagues openly expressed their misgivings to a KGB informant. After this incident, Hirv was interrogated by the KGB, his work was not accepted any more for exhibitions, his poems were not published, and his name could not be mentioned in newspapers. This situation lasted for over a year. Even before 1984, he was in contact with the underground writer Johnny B. Isotamm, who supplied him with forbidden literature, and also gave him advice on how to act under interrogation.
In 1989, Hirv flew to the Netherlands, and with the help of Toomas Hendrik Ilves, he found a job with Radio Free Europe. He has been back in Estonia since 1991. He lives and works in Tartu.
For Hirv, cultural opposition during Soviet times meant resisting the rules imposed by Moscow. Researching cultural opposition is important to him, as it is important to research history in general. He says that it was an important part of Estonian culture, and being familiar with it helps us to understand and preserve Estonian culture.
- Tartu , Estonia undefined
Milan Hlavsa, also known as “Mejla”, was a Czech musician, guitarist and founder of the underground music groups “The Plastic People of the Universe” (PPU) and “DG307”. He played in diverse rock and rock’n’roll bands from a young age. PPU, founded in 1968, was inspired by the New York band “The Velvet Underground” and the Prague psychedelic band “The Primitives Group”. From the beginning of the 1970s – with its new manager, Ivan Martin “Magor” Jirous, a theorist of the Czech underground – the group tended towards experimental and underground music. The members of PPU and DG307 were imprisoned after trials in 1976. Hlavsa was held in custody for several weeks, though in the end he did not receive a sentence. Based on international obligations on human rights, agreed by the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic at the Helsinki conference (CSCE) in 1975, the trials of members of the underground scene (in Pilsen and in Prague) led to the foundation of the opposition initiative Charter 77. He was under the repressive supervision of the State Security (StB) until 1989. Hlavsa also maintained contact with dissidents due to his marriage with Jana Němcová-Hlavsová (1957, daughter of Dana and Jiří Němec, initiators of Charter 77 and the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Prosecuted – VONS). During the 1980s, Hlavsa performed with several bands, for example, the Prague new-wave band “Garáž”. He was a member of the reformed PPU from 1997 until his death.
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic