Jiří Lederer was born on July 15, 1922 in Kvasiny near Rychnov nad Kněžnou. In Rychnov he later studied at grammar school. During the war, he was completely engaged to work in Wroclaw, to where he had fled and was hiding in his home region by the end of the war. After the war he studied philosophy and politics at the Political and Social College and at the Faculty of Arts of the Charles University in Prague. From 1948 to 1949 he studied Polish Literature and Sociology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.
After the war he published in the Social Democratic Letters, was an activist in the radical left-wing of the socially democratic youth, and in 1948 participated in the merger of the CSSD (Czechoslovak Socialist Democratic Party) with the Communist Party, which he later left. In 1948 he became the editor of the World in Paintings. For his disagreement with the practice of the 1950s, expressed at the conference of the Czechoslovak Union of Journalists, he was expelled from the union and could not publish or perform any work on culture. From 1951 to1954 he had to work in Ostrava's mines of ČKD.
Later, he was given amnesty and became the editor of the World of Soviets, and in 1956, Evening Prague, from where he was fired in 1958 for a positive review of the “Coward's” novel of Josef Škvorecký, which caused a great disturbance at the time. For a year he was unemployed before he was taken to the Technical News as an editor in 1959. Between 1962 and 1967, he was head of the Research Department of the Czechoslovak Radio, then the editor of the Weekly Literary Sheets (or Sheets) and the Reporter. Lederer was one of the most prominent publicists of the Prague Spring of 1968. In the 1970s, Lederer was deeply involved with the Czechoslovak dissent and was one of the first signatories of Charter 77. During the “Normalization Period” he was imprisoned several times (1970, 1972-1973 and 1977-1980), the first time for writing as a pretext for his attitude about the events of 1968 in Poland, the second time for the publication of interviews in Reporter with the writers who were not allowed to publish and for sending their works abroad. In 1980, he emigrated to the Federal Republic of Germany because of political pressure from the StB Asanace campaign. He continued his journalistic work in West Germany until he died at the age of 61 on 12 October 12 1983 in Birnbach, Bavaria.
He published several journalistic essays and books of essays (České Rozhovory, Cologne 1979; Když se řekne Voskovec – Když se řekne Werich, 1982, Mé Polsko, 1982) by samizdat and abroad while in exile; posthumously his book Jan Palach: A Report on the Life, Action and Death of the Czech Student (Prague 1990) was published.
- Birnbach, Germany
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Elzbieta Ledererová se narodila 15. července 1922 v polském historickém městečku Dolním Kazimierzi. Vystudovala filologii. Počátkem šedesátých let se v Polsku seznámila s výraznou osobností české žurnalistiky Jiřím Ledererem. V roce 1967 si ho vzala a žila v Praze. Psala do několika prestižních polských novin a překládala. Také spolupracovala s polským kulturním a informačním centrem. Po boku svého manžela se i ona aktivně účastnila společenského života a dění, které vyvrcholilo „pražským jarem”. Po invazi spojeneckých vojsk do Československa byla stejně jako její manžel vystavena perzekuci. V sedmdesátých letech se Jiří Lederer výrazně angažoval v československé opozici. Za tuto svou činnost byl několikrát vězněn, tak se i jeho žena stala součástí českého disentu. Elzbieta Ledererová podepsala, tak jako její manžel, Chartu 77. V roce 1978 patřila Ledererová mezi sedmnáct zakládajících členů Výboru na obranu nespravedlivě stíhaných (VONS). Byla jedinou členkou, která neměla československé státní občanství. Po propuštění Jiřího Lederera z vězení byla rodina zařazena Státní bezpečností do akce s krycím názvem Asanace. Pod nátlakem a hrozbou, že Elzbiete Ledererové jako polské občance nebude prodloužen pobyt v Československu, rodina emigrovala do Německa. Jiří Lederer se aktivně zapojil do činnosti exilu, ale již v roce 1983 zemřel. Po roce 1989 se paní Ledererová nevrátila do Polska, ale do Československa. Elzbieta Ledererová dostala v roce 2014 Cenu Václava Bendy, kterou uděluje Ústav pro studium totalitních režimů. Zemřela 27. května 2017 a je pochována jako její manžel v bavorském Bad Birnbachu.
- Birnbach, Germany
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Gabriella Lengyel (1948-) an activist of the Hungarian democratic opposition, sociologist, educator.
She was born in Budapest, his father was a radio mechanic had been running his own little shop, until it was ’nationalized’ by the Communist state. As a child she was a devoted member of the her school’s choir, and an extra for the National Theatre. In 1967 she started her studies at the Hungarian Actors Academy, but two years later she changed for studying history at Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest.
Through some friends she got in connection with the empirical research team of sociologist István Kemény and took part actively in the nationwide Roma survey from 1971, by visiting Gipsy families in the Trans-Danubian region. Inspirated by Kemény a year later she also started to study sociology at the university, as it was reintroduced legally in the curriculum of social sciences, and in the meantime she kept on being busy with her field researches. She received her MA degree in History in 1978 and in Sociology in 1981.
Gabriella remained a freelance sociologist up untill 1990, at the beginning to preserve her personal independence, and later because she failed to apply for state jobs, as a reknown activist of the opposition. During the 1980s she could not travel abroad either, as her claim for a passport was repeatedly refused by the police. In late 1979 she was one of the eight founding-members of SZETA, and the regular monthly meetings of activists for several years were held at her home in Miksa Déri street, in a workers’ district of Budapest. Apart from her sociological surveys and voluntary job done for SZETA she also took part in several activities of the dissident movement. She gave birth to her first child in 1984, and went on ’leave’ as an activist for a few years, but as the system was challenged by more and more radical changes, she herself reactivated. In 1987 she became a founding member, among others, of ’Asylum Committe’ a civilian organisation supported refugees fled from Ceausescu’s Romania, and was also an active organiser of the first independent Hungarian trade union, that of TDDSZ, ’Scientific Workers Democratic Union’ well before the political system changed.
Following 1990 she assisted her fiends became the member of Parieament Ottília Solt, and Gábor Havas to designe a new democratic social policy in Hungary. From 1993 she became one of the first educators of the newly established Social Worker Training School of John Wesley Theological College. After 1999 she returned to her field works as a freelance sociologist again, and conducted training courses of research methodology.
- Budapest, Hungary
Eszter Leveleki was born in 1917. Her father was a factory director, and her mother worked as a teacher. She studied at the Szent Orsolya College, and in 1936 she started to work at the private kindergarten of Ms Márta Müller Nemes, who in the 1920s worked together with the Swiss psychiatrist Jean Piaget and gradually became one of the representatives of the reform pedagogy movement in Hungary. Leveleki also followed the pedagogical norms of Ferenc Mérei, who was an important figure in Hungarian social psychology. At the time, Waldorf and Montessori were the best-known alternative pedagogical methods.The first summer festival in Bánk was held in 1938 under the name “Joyful Vacation” with Vera Mérei (the wife of Ferenc Mérei). After the communist takeover of the country, Eszter Leveleki was forbidden to work as a pedagogue (“She is inappropriate for the education of the socialist man” according to an assessment made by a representative of the regime). As a result, until 1961 she was unable to work as a pedagogue. Instead, she worked as a manual labourer. The authorities, however, were not able to deprive her of the opportunity to organize the festivals and create and maintain a strong community. Beginning in 1962, she worked at the Pest Megyei Csecsemőotthonok Központja (Centre of Infant Homes of Pest County) with foster children. She did not consider herself a person drawn to theory or abstraction (though she did write some articles), but rather more as an instinctive pedagogue. She retired in 1974 and died in 1991.
Mirel Leventer (b. 25 December 1950, Bucharest) is a respected architect. He graduated from Ion-Luca Caragiale High School in 1969 and from the Ion Mincu Institute of Architecture in Bucharest (today the Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism) in 1975. He has a rich professional experience, and has taken many professional development courses both in Romania and abroad. Between 1985 and 1993, he lived in Israel. At present he has dual Romanian and Israeli citizenship. His architectural work includes a number of major buildings, both in Romania and abroad, including a considerable number in Israel. He is a member of Club A in Bucharest and was the coordinator of its cine-club between 1970 and 1975, when he was a student at the Faculty of Architecture.
His interests include advertising, video production, mountaineering, travel, and film history. He continues to take pleasure in taking photographs. It is a passion of his that goes back almost half a century: “I’ve been taking photographs since high school, in fact since the eighth grade. So, in a way, I’ve almost always liked taking photographs. Indeed, when I was at high school I took part in many photographic exhibitions for pupils. There was also a photography club at high school. In those days, photography clubs were little amateur institutions, where we learned what to do with a camera. We had a coordinator, who in our case was our physics teacher, but the clubs had no special connection with school. A club like that encouraged us to develop a particular passion; I could say that this was where the ‘first seeds’ of a passion were sown” – the passion that would later give rise to the unique collection of photographs and films connected to Club A.
- Bucharest, Romania