Andrej Rajský

A singular case of University parallelism: «underground universities» during the era of totalitarianism in Czechoslovakia

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In the socialist states of the Soviet bloc, alongside the official structures of university training, strongly indoctrinated and under the ideological and administrative control of the Communist Party, underground structures – clandestine yet constitutive of free thought – of university training have been created. These structures, their training processes, the curriculum of studies, the safety measures adopted are described. The paper will therefore briefly examine the phenomenon of the «underground university», which had a specific mission and special organizational forms, and was flanked by a conspiratorial system of messages and security measures designed to protect against persecution by the secret police and other authorities. The system of secret seminars in private apartments showed its validity during the normalization period (after the Prague Spring, 1968) especially in Prague and later in Brno, but in some simplified forms it was also implemented in Slovakia, in particular in Bratislava


  • Czechoslovakia
  • Totalitarianism
  • Communism
  • Dissent
  • Underground university


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