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
Josef Hlaváček was a Czech aesthetician and art critic. In 1959 he graduated in aesthetics and art history from Charles University in Prague. He focused on Czech fine art from the mid-20th century. He was a co-founder of the Benedikt Rejt Gallery in Louny. From 1968 to 1970 he worked at the Department of Philosophy at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in Prague. However, he was prevented from working in his field during Normalization and he worked in various manual professions until the end of the 1980s. He was a signatory of Charter 77 and was involved in producing samizdat volumes focusing on modern art. In the 1990s he worked for a short time at the Ministry of Culture and then as a lecturer and chancellor at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague (1994–2000).
- Louny, Czech Republic
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Ludvík Hlaváček studied art history at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. In the 1960s and 1970s, his studies focused on the phenomenological philosophy he had learned from Jan Patočka. When he signed Charter 77 in 1977, he had to leave the Institute of Theory and History of Art of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and worked as a manual labourer until 1989. Between 1984 and 1989 he co-authored, with a group of art historians, "Někdo něco", which was devoted to contemporary art criticism. In the early 1980s he was influenced by postmodernism and Zdeněk Bonaventura Bouše. After the revolution, he was editor of the Fine Arts magazine and again joined the Institute for Theory and History of Art. In 1992, he was commissioned to set up and run the Soros Center for Contemporary Art. Today, he is the director of the Foundation for Contemporary Art and teaches at the Faculty of Art and Design of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem.
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Alija Hodžić was born in 1944 in the town of Stolac in central Bosnia. He studied Sociology at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. Hodžić was chief editor responsible for the “Student” magazine from the end of 1968 until the beginning of 1970, until a final confrontation with the editorial staff and editing policy at that time. Due to his role at “Student”, he was afterwards unable to find work in Belgrade, and so after graduating in 1972 he was temporarily employed in a young offender institution in his home town. In the following years, he moved to Zagreb where he began work at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Zagreb. He was employed at the institute until his retirement. Hodžić published several books, of which the most important are, “The Village as Choice?” (2006) and “Traces Along the Way – Sociological Fragments of the Modernization Process“ (2008).
In the 1990s, Alija Hodžić took an active role in the anti-war movement. He lives in Zagreb.
About the former system and scope for action, Alija Hodžić says in the interview with COURAGE: “There was a hole in the system – an area in which you could operate outside the ideologically imposed framework. There were different people in the framework of the system, they were not united. Though there was one party, interests were diverse. But in the public eye it looked like unity“. He considers the 1968 movement as having been significant in affirming the aspirations of youth.
Commenting on self-management and the possibilities to reform the socialist system in general, Hodžić explained in conversation with COURAGE: “It seemed to me that self-management had a rational and self-evident premise... that people are naturally interested in improving the conditions of their lives and because of that must, in cooperation with others, autonomously work to advance them, in addition by creating the corresponding institutions. But ’democratic centralism’ with an autocratic ’general secretary’, I was convinced, inevitably challenged this option. I thought that support for such an option could perhaps be found in some kind of socialist political pluralism, in other words that the fundamental aims in the programme of the League of Communists could become the general value system of society, while the political differences in concrete political activity could be expressed through already existing organizations... thus they could constitute themselves alongside and as a counterweight to the League of Communists as autonomous organizations with political activity, and not as transmission ones, and so reform the Socialist Federation, the Trade Union Federation, as well as the Youth Federation and the Student Federation.“
Commenting on the pressure exerted on the staff at ’Student’, Hodžić said: "The dispute resulted from the [magazine’s] above mentioned position on the system, that it was possible and imperative to act autonomously, that different standpoints on the same social issue could be assumed publicly, within the framework of the general value system, and practice founded upon on that, which would be part of the general system of self-management. All this, to a large extent, was refracted through the notion of the ’free press’. We were under the surveillance and control of the party and the security service. Those were unpleasant interviews with party officials on various levels and interviews with the security service person who was responsible for disobedient students. The security service guy, who was from my home region and positively inclined towards me, on several occasions sought me out in Stolac where after the changes at ’Student’ and having completed military service, I was to be employed... ’We both know you were up to something there in Belgrade, but that has nothing to do with us’.“
After moving to Zagreb, the situation changed to a degree. The pressure decreased, but he remained under surveillance of a kind. Hodžić explained this in the following way: “In Zagreb I had only one meeting with the security service man. He was interested in the activities of the student group, ’Man and the System’, which was led by professors Rudi Supek and Eugen Pusić. The group was almost exclusively made up of economists, philosophers, jurists, sociologists and political scientists from Zagreb, Belgrade and Ljubljana. As a rule, they met once a month to discuss various social issues. I was the group’s secretary. The man signalled that he knew about my activities in Belgrade and my talks with his colleague. I had the impression that on the basis of the information he had at his disposal he expected, from his point of view, a successful interview. I told him that all I could do was to inform professors Supek and Pusić about it, which I did. He took it quite calmly and without any efforts to start any kind of discussion. With that, the interview was over. Recently, some Zagreb newspapers published the records of people who were under surveillance by the security service. Among the names, along with those of several people who had been close to me from my institute and the Faculty of Philosophy, was mine. Who knows on the basis of what criteria the group, according to the classification of the security service, had been branded ’the civil [political] right’?”
She graduated from the Faculty of Music in Belgrade (1971) and received her Master's degree (1974) from the Department of Musicology under Nikola Hercigonja. She received her doctorate from the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade in 1981 [dissertation title: The creative presence of the European avant-garde in us]) under Professor Radoslav Josimović.
Since 1973 Veselinović-Hofman has taught contemporary modern music history at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, and she has been a professor at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad. During her stay in South Africa she also taught at the University of Pretoria.Veselinović-Hofman is the editor of the international music magazine Novi Zvuk [New Sound] and a member of the editorial department of Zbornika Matice srpske za scenske umetnosti i muziku [Matica Srpska Annual for Performing Arts and Music]. Furthermore, she is a member of the musical section of the Srpske enciklopedije [Serbian Encyclopedia]. She has produced musical critiques for broadcasts of Radio Belgrade and Politika.
- Belgrade, Serbia
Hofman claims that he does not remember himself as part of the “cultural opposition” in the 1970s and 1980s, since, in his opinion, “in Belgrade, there was no dominant ‘socialist-realism narrative’, nor an ‘all valid thesis’ which would prescribe artistic poetics, deeds, content… that would affect creativity in music”. He makes a distinction between different branches of art, such as literature, film, theatre, and visual art, which had “certain boundaries that defined undesirable (and even prohibited) themes; music as a non-semantic art was not among them".
On the other hand, the situation of classical music should be looked upon through the perspective of the modest space this branch of art has in society and, thus, the confined market it operates in. There were strong (and among themselves antagonistic) groups of ‘traditionalists’ conservative composers and the avantgarde. Both groups were striving for greater attention in the society and, thus, material support. The communist regime, however, showed a certain indifference towards classical music. This was reflected in the fact that both conservative/traditional and avantgarde composers did not particular support of the government.
Hofman described the influence of politics on the artistic scene as an emerging system of values where it was prescribed what was “preferred, what will certainly be accepted”, while, on the other hand, another thing gets marginalized. He states that the main criterion is always quality; however, he later questions this: “can quality be recognized with certainty”, thus noting that quality was in this context defined by its closeness to specific cultural politics.
The Academy for Music was one of the locations of the struggle between the conservative and the avantgarde. The Academy was, in Hofman’s words, conservative when it came to study of composition, and that he as a student was against conservativism or academicism in the curriculum and work methods of the Academy. Regarding academicism, he primarily considers the study and imitation of previous musical epochs, and the suffocation of new elements and approaches to contemporary music. However, today Hofman thinks that academism was already withering when he started studying. Therefore, this kind of strictness, with which previous generations were faced with, was already “loosened up”. He describes his position as student who rebelled against the outdated teaching of classical music composition. “Therefore, I have had, as a student, rebelled against these aspects or elements, when I say conservatism - I mean academism - in the curriculum and the methods of work in the study of composition.”
From today’s perspective, however, Hofman sees the importance of the classical approach to compositional study and says: “Today when I look at that time it seems that it was useful. On the other hand, it was useful that I rebelled against it, that I did not accept that that was all I was supposed to know. I even have, sometime near the end of my studies, de facto accepted to go back in my work in order to fill what was perhaps a void in my education, caused by my resistance towards academism. Even then I accepted to go back only temperately, as part of the educational system I should accept and it is good to accept. However, I did not think that it was something I wanted to do, which I think I have proven afterwards through my work. I would not say I was pronouncedly avantgarde or rebellious. On the other hand, when I look back, it seems to me that I was more different than others. I tried to do what I was interested in, what was contemporary at that moment in music.”
At the beginning of 1980s, Srđan Hofman mastered the analogue technique of electronic music in the studio of the Third Program of Radio Belgrade, opened in 1972 by Vladan Radovanović and Paul Mignion. At his initiative and thanks to his advocacy, the Studio for Electronic Music was opened at the Academy of Music in 1982.
In this regard, Hofman thinks he had support, as he said, “of smaller groups of people who did a lot for contemporary music”, where he also names the Third Program of Radio Belgrade. “Of course, their audience was small, they were a small station and from that perspective I could say, I did not have any support. For me it is important and I claim that I had support.”
Srđan Hofman’s body of work contains many orchestral, vocal-instrumental, chamber, solo, and choral works for which he has received many awards. His compositions have been performed at leading domestic and international festivals, such as the Musical Biennale in Zagreb or the World Days of Music in Germany and Sweden. His works are considered to be products of postmodernism in music, and Hofman is considered to be one of the first composers in the former Yugoslavia to use electronic music within classical music.Today Srđan Hofman works as a composer, professor of composition at the Faculty of Music and Multimedia Art at the University of Art in Belgrade. He also examines theoretical issues in contemporary music and published, beside journal articles, the book “Characteristics of Electronic Music”. Between 1989 and 1998 he was the dean of Faculty of Music. Hofman also served as the Ambassador of Serbia to South Africa between 2002 and 2006.
- Belgrade, Serbia