Roger Loewig was an autodidact painter, illustrator, and writer based in Berlin, East and West. Born in Silesia, he spent his youth in occupied Poland until 1945, when he fled to Eastern Germany (first in the Soviet-occupied territory, later GDR). Here he took on vocational training as a teacher for Russian, a profession which he exercised starting 1953. In addition to his teaching position in Russian, German and history, until the beginning of the 1960s, he actively engaged in his creative activities in East Berlin, where he was based. The application to officially join the Union of Artists in 1962, which would grant him the status as a freelance artist in the GDR, was initially denied.
Following the first private exhibition organised in 1963, inspired by the recent political events such as the construction of the Berlin Wall, the artist came under Stasi surveillance. This eventually led to his imprisonment potentially for ten years being accused of 'treacherous propaganda’. The accusation brought against him was motivated by the themes addressed by his artworks, namely to have taken a stand against the Berlin Wall and state organised violence. Loewig was ransomed with the support of the Protestant Church from West Germany after one year, yet remained in the GDR first.
After his release in 1964, the artist fully emerged in his creative activities, however, left Berlin East often for the countryside. He was also prohibited to exercise his teaching activities. It was only in 1965 that Loewig was officially granted the artist status by joining the Union of Artists. Despite that, his first exhibition after the release was organised at the 'Ateliergemeinschaft Erfurt’. This was an exhibition space since 1963 which actively facilitated the collaboration between painters and graphic artists who denied socialist realism as an artistic form of expression. The exhibitions of the atelier have been extensively organised underground in private apartments, banned from the public eye.
Starting the mid-1960s his activity was strongly supported by the close group of friends established in Bonn (1966), who throughout the regime facilitated contacts, private purchases of his artworks and exhibitions in Western Germany and internationally.
Beginning of the 1970s, Loewig's 'exile’ to Berlin West was eventually granted. Based in Berlin West starting 1972, he carried on with his artistic activity, joining the 'Malerpoeten' [Painter Poets] group of artists. The artist, also a poet, published his first prose and literature volumes in Western Germany during the 1980s. Furthermore, the artist explored international opportunities to exhibit the artworks in Europe, both East and West, and in the United States.
Following the fall of the Berlin wall and the German reunification in 1990, Loewig remained skeptical towards political developments. Consequently, he took on numerous travels in Central and Eastern European countries. In 1992 the artist exhibited his lithographs under the name 'Epitafia’ in the State Museum in Auschwitz-Birkenau, being the first German artist to exhibit his artworks in the former concentration camp.
The artist was awarded in October 1997 for his lifetime achievements the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, first category. Roger Loewig died shortly afterward on November fourth in Berlin.
- Berlin, Germany
Mladen Lompar was a Montenegrin poet, essayist, and art critic. He graduated from Art History at the University of Belgrade. From 1984 to 1995 he was the director of the Art Museum of Montenegro in Cetinje. He was removed from his position after refusing to allow the museum to carry paintings stolen from the Croatian battlefield.
Lompar was commissioner of the Second and Third Cetinje Biennale and Vice President of the Doclean Academy of Sciences and Arts, a parable scholars’ academy created in 1998 by academics who found the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts to be dominated by Serbian nationalism. Lompar was one of the founders of the Montenegrin Society of Independent Writers and the president of the Montenegrin PEN Centre.
The poetry of Mladen Lompar has been translated into many languages and has been presented in several anthologies of contemporary Montenegrin and regional poetry.
Lompar was one of the founders of the Literary Municipality of Cetinje publishing house and creator and editor-in-chief of ARS – Review of Culture, Art and Science during both the original and later series.As his liberal political views, advocacy for national and civil rights, and promotion of avantgarde aesthetics were provocative to both the local communist regime and mentality of the small town of Cetinje, he was labelled by authorities, alongside his colleagues Milorad Popović and Slavko Perovic, as “politically inappropriate” during the 1980s and 1990s. Lompar contributed greatly to the creation of a core of resistance movements that later went on to form the political party Liberal Alliance of Montenegro (LSCG), as well as anti-war media and alternative cultural organizations.
- Kotor, Montenegro
Marko Lopušina (born 1951) is a Serbian journalist and current affairs writer. As a journalist and editor, he has worked for several newspapers and magazines (Sekundarne sirovine, Zdravo, Intervju, Profil, Nedeljni telegraf, Večernje novosti, Ilustrovana politika). He is known as the author of a number of books on the Serbian diaspora and secret services, and their role in contemporary Serbian politics. He has also systematically researched censorship practices in the former Yugoslavia and published two books on that subject: Crna knjiga - cenzura u Jugoslaviji 1945-91. [Black Book – censorship in Yugoslavia 1945-91] published in 1991, and Crna knjiga – cenzura u Srbiji 1945-2015. [Black book – censorship in Serbia 1945-2015], published in 2015.
- Belgrade, Serbia
Emil Loteanu (b. 6 November 1936, Clocușna, Ocnița – d. 18 April 2003, Moscow) was a Moldavian director, script writer, and composer. Loteanu, who lost his father and mother in World War II, studied with famed actor Vasilii Toporkov (1889–1970) at the studio school of the Moscow Art Theater (MKhAT) from 1953 to 1956 while also acting on stage at the Moscow Pushkin Theater. He subsequently enrolled in Grigorii Roshal’s directing workshop at the Soviet State Film School VGIK, graduating in 1962, and began to work as a director at Moldova-Film Studio. Loteanu joined the Communist Party in 1968. In 1969, he was named Artist Emeritus of the Moldavian SSR, and in 1980, People’s Artist of the Russian Federation. He served as chairman of the Moldavian Union of Cinematographers in 1987–1992. Loteanu once called himself “a Moldovan Muscovite or a Muscovite Moldovan”; his relations with his motherland were often strained. Loteanu began his career with poetic documentaries, a genre in which he worked simultaneously with feature films well into the 1980s (Freska na belom / Fresco on White, 1967; Moi belyi gorod / My White City, 1973, and others). In 1963, he produced his first full-length feature, which also became his diploma film, Zhdite nas na rassvete / Așteptați-ne în zori (Wait for Us at Dawn), set in 1919 in Bessarabia where pro-Bolshevik troops defeated Romanian forces. Krasnye poliany / Poienile roșii (Red Meadows, 1966), a simple triangle story set among shepherds in contemporary Moldavia, impressed critics with its romantic worldview and expressive use of colour. Loteanu became the leading director of Soviet Moldavian cinema with three pictures that all combine nineteenth-century scenery, sophisticated cinematography, and love stories overflowing with uninhibited passion and grand gestures. Lautary/ Lăutarii (Fiddlers, 1972) is a broad canvas about Gypsy life, displaying all of the director’s strengths—panoramic landscape compositions, sensual music, and a slow narrative rhythm erupting in sudden acts of violence—but also characteristic weaknesses, most frustratingly a plot structure that falls apart due to Loteanu’s overindulgence in beautiful imagery and sound. With Tabor ukhodit v nebo (Gypsies are Found Near Heaven/ Queen of the Gypsies, 1975), based on early stories by Maksim Gor’kii, Loteanu landed one of the greatest box-office hits of Soviet cinema and made stars of its leads, Svetlana Toma and Grigore Grigoriu, who portray a beautiful girl and a horse thief in love. The Gypsy milieu and its melodious culture—longtime favourites of Russian audiences—denote both unabashed emotions suppressed in the modern age, and a fatalistic acceptance of the tragic outcome. This holds true, too, for Moi laskovyi i nezhnyi zver’ (My Loving and Tender Beast / The Shooting Party / A Hunting Accident, 1978), a picturesque Anton Chekhov adaptation that earned harsh criticism for the liberties taken with the original source. The 1980s proved a decade of slow decline for Loteanu. His international mega-production Anna Pavlova (The Divine Anna / Pavlova: A Woman for All Times, 1983) turned into a commercial disappointment, despite sensational subject matter and a fashionably nostalgic air. (Noteworthy, too, is the appearance of two famous filmmakers in episodic roles, Martin Scorsese and Michael Powell.) The director had obviously lost his feel for viewers’ predilections and he seemed forlorn in post-Soviet cinema. His last film, Skorlupa (The Shell, 1993), is a three-hour requiem mourning the loss of beauty and free bohemian life in a contemporary urban setting. At the time of his death, Loteanu was preparing an international coproduction about legendary singer Maria Cebotari.
- Chișinău, Moldova
Monica Lovinescu (1923–2008) was one of the most important figures of the Romanian exile community, who dedicated her entire life and activity to supporting dissidence against the communist regime. Her work as an exiled literary critic, writer, translator, radio broadcaster at RFE, and journalist not only revealed the existence of Romanian dissidents but also presented them as models of unquestionable moral and human dignity who could be emulated by those who would eventually decide to “live in truth.” She was born on 19 November 1923 in Bucharest, the daughter of Eugen Lovinescu, a well-known literary and cultural critic of interwar Romania, and Ecaterina Bălăcioiu, whose old landowner family had connections to the royal court. From an early age, Monica Lovinescu not only became familiar with the intellectual environment of the time but also enjoyed the company and friendship of many Romanian intellectuals who usually gathered in her father’s house for meetings, public readings, or literary debates (Crăciun 2009, 279).
Her anti-communist convictions became visible immediately after the end of the World War II and the establishment of a communist-dominated Romanian government under the leadership of the "fellow traveller" Petru Groza. She joined other young people who gathered in Bucharest to celebrate King Michael I’s name day (8 November 1945) and manifest their support for the Romanian monarchy, an institution which resolutely stood against the menacing communist takeover. In May 1947 Monica Lovinescu represented her faculty at the Students’ Congress, a congress which the communists hoped to use to purge professors who were hostile to the new political regime. She successfully counteracted this plan and put an end to the discussions by singing the Royal Hymn (Burlacu 2014, 35).
In the same year of 1947, Lovinescu left Romania at age of twenty-three after receiving a French Government scholarship. The forced abdication of the King Michael I and the subsequent proclamation of the Romanian People’s Republic were soon followed by the breaking up of cultural relations between France and Romania. Thus, Monica Lovinescu and other Romanian students (including her future husband, Virgil Ierunca) lost their scholarships and although the communist authorities ordered them to return home, they applied for political asylum and some of them, including Lovinescu, started a long life in exile (Stan 2010, 684–686).
This first wave of exiles considered communist rule in Romania to be temporary and hoped that a military intervention by the Western powers would soon free the region. Thus, their efforts were directed towards raising the awareness of public opinion about the real situation in Romania. Monica Lovinescu joined this effort by translating into French Adriana Georgescu’s memoires from her time in prison, La început a fost sfârșitul (At the end was the beginning), in an attempt to inform the Western world about the terror and repressive measures employed by the Romanian communist regime against any form of protest and resistance. The French translation of the volume was published in 1951 at the Hachette publishing house. Also, in 1951, she began her collaboration with Radio Paris, but her contributions were limited to reading announcements or literary reviews under a pseudonym in order to protect her mother, who had remained in Romania. The following year she married Virgil Ierunca, who also became a critic of the communist regime in Romania (Vladimirov 2012, 16; Vladimirov 2011, 312).
The death of her mother in June 1960 in the Văcărești prison after an imprisonment of two years under the false accusation of “hostile action against the social order” allowed Monica Lovinescu to engage herself in an open criticism of the Romanian communist regime (Vladimirov 2012, 18). In fact, the decease of Ecaterina Bălăcioiu sharpened her criticism against communism as she interpreted her mother’s death as being “an indubitable crime of the communist regime and a human sacrifice for her intellectual and political independence” (Crăciun 2009, 281). All the more so as the last message that Ecaterina Bălăcioiu sent to her daughter through one of the prison inmates mentioned that she was very proud of her daughter and of her work in exile. More importantly, the same message reassured Lovinescu that there were no reasons for her to be ashamed of her mother’s behaviour in prison, of her possible betrayal of friends under torture, as she mentioned that: “J’ai tenu bon, mon petit” (Vladimirov 2012, 75).
Monica Lovinescu started working at Radio Free Europe (RFE) in 1962, and in 1967 she launched two weekly programmes that focused on developments in European and Romanian cultural life (Crăciun 2009, 285). Her work at RFE also reflected a significant change in the general strategy of the Romanian exile community. After understanding during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 that the Western powers would never engage in a war against the Soviet Union, the Romanian exile community concluded that only Romanians inside the country could overthrow the communist regime and thus, assumed the mission of supporting any domestic acts of resistance and opposition (Stan Snejana 2013, 138).
Monica Lovinescu’s broadcasts at RFE, Teze și antiteze la Paris (Theses and antitheses in Paris) and Puncte de vedere (Points of view), which was part of the general news programme Actualitatea românească (Romanian cultural events), tackled primarily cultural topics. However, their anti-communist message underlined that resistance or dissidence in any communist regime was possible and desirable. At the same time, opposition was a necessary act of courage that should unite all for the greater common good, i.e., bringing down the criminal communist regimes. In particular, Lovinescu criticised Romanian intellectuals for failing to assume the role of community leaders in the struggle against communist party domination. Thus, considering the fight against the communist regime to be a personal and a moral duty, Lovinescu used the microphone of RFE to denounce political compromise, the collaboration of Romanian writers with the regime, their eager participation in promoting Nicolae Ceausescu’s personality cult, and their fight for power, for a better social status and higher official positions. She also condemned the “moral resignation” of some of the well-known writers, such as Tudor Arghezi, a poet who was first marginalised than recuperated by the communist regime, whom she criticised not for their literary works but precisely for their opportunism, for their compromise out of the temptation of benefits and fame (Burlacu 2014, 41–43, 52–56). Monica Lovinescu believed that it was difficult but not impossible for Romanian writers to refuse political compromise with the regime. Thus, in her broadcasts, she aimed at constructing an alternative cultural canon combining moral and aesthetic values and took every available opportunity to praise those writers such as Paul Goma and Marin Sorescu whose conscience and morality prevailed over material advantages (Crăciun 2009, 281, 288–289).
Monica Lovinescu also drew public attention to the cases of the Romanian dissidents and critical intellectuals who were persecuted by the communist regime, such as Paul Goma, Dorin Tudoran, Doina Cornea, and Dan Petrescu. She would regularly read texts by some of them during her broadcasts, hoping that these public stands would diminish the harassment which these individuals had to endure because of their critical attitudes. Lovinescu’s stance on this issue reflected the general strategy of the Romanian desk of RFE towards dissidence. Not only did RFE manage to break the official monopoly of information by broadcasting dissident writings for its listeners. It also ensured the safety of the dissidents by simply mentioning their names and cases to both a Romanian and a foreign audience (Petrescu 2013, 24–25, 33, 42).
Moreover, Lovinescu’s political activism also involved her in organising demonstrations or protests in front of the Romanian embassy in Paris, press campaigns, collecting signatures, and spreading memoranda in support of persecuted Romanian dissidents. These actions were coordinated through the RFE network. In the context of the worsening of the economic and political situation in Romania at the end of the 1970s and especially during the 1980s, Monica Lovinescu used her RFE broadcasts to denounce the politics of the Romanian regime and to praise those who had the courage to protest against him. Thus, in 1985 and 1986 she criticised Ceausescu’s so-called programme of systematisation which resulted in the destruction of many villages, as well as many historical areas and buildings in Bucharest for the sake of the new House of the People and the Victory of Socialism Boulevard. Lovinescu’s listeners also found out about the first major protests against the communist regime such as the miners’ strikes in the Jiu Valley in 1977 and the workers’ protest in Brasov in 1987, or about the Militia or Securitate’s repression of protests and acts of opposition in a flagrant violation of human rights (Crăciun 2008: 288–289; Vladimirov 2012, 136).
Monica Lovinescu was a person of strong character who rejected any compromise and any person who made compromises, just she refused to collaborate with the Securitate even though the price was saving her mother’s life. She replied to every intimidating message or offer to reach a compromise with the Romanian communist regime with a firm answer: “I won’t sell my conscience” (Vladimirov 2012, 67). The firmness of her criticism, the popularity she enjoyed among the Romanian audience, and her influence upon international public opinion motivated the Romanian authorities to organise press campaigns to undermine her credibility and reputation. The Securitate even ordered a physical attack against her in December 1977, which instead of silencing her triggered an international protest against the Romanian communist regime and its secret police (Crăciun 2009, 291, Vladimirov 2012, 130–133).
Monica Lovinescu’s contribution to the fight against communism was officially recognised in 2006 when the Romanian authorities acknowledged the role that she and her RFE broadcasts had had in keeping alive “the moral consciousness of the Romanians” (Mănescu 2012, 16). She died in April 2008 in Paris and her funeral urn was returned to Romania and buried in Fălticeni. She was decorated post-mortem with the highest national order, the Star of Romania, with the rank of Grand Officer (Vladimirov 2012: 31).
- Paris, France