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Slovakia, dissidence in the 1970s

Stanislav J. Kirschbaum

Subject Economic Systems » Socialist Systems
History » Political History

Place Eastern Europe » Slovakia

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics church and state, communism, resistance, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01368.x


The Helsinki Final Act, signed in 1975 by the United States, Canada, the Soviet Union, and most European states, including those from Central and Eastern Europe, guaranteed the borders and accepted the geopolitical situation created at the end of World War II. It also contained a series of provisions concerning respect for human rights, and some Central and Eastern European dissidents were able to use these provisions to challenge the communist regimes. Slovakians, however, expressed opposition primarily through personal religiosity and the activities of the secret church. Religious dissidence in Slovakia had its origin in the 1943 creation of a spiritual group called Rodina (Family), founded by the Croatian priest Tomislav Poglajen-Kolakovic. The organiza tion became a major force in Slovak society after the communist repression of the Catholic Church in the 1950s. Beginning in 1949, numerous clergy were arrested and imprisoned for alleged criminal activity. The state began to regulate church life and took over administration of seminaries. Clergy were required to declare an oath of allegiance to the government and could be dismissed from their posts for being overly charismatic or insufficiently cooperative with the state. An underground church was formed in response. It ordained priests in secret and maintained an important network of samizdat publications, especially after ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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