Art historian and educator István Bibó Jr. was born in Budapest in 1941. His father, István Bibó, at the time worked as an officer in the Ministry of Justice. His mother, Boriska Ravasz, daughter of a Calvinist Reformed Church bishop, was a teacher at the Baár-Madas grammar school in Budapest.
Bibó belonged to the generation that was born during World War II, witnessed the 1956 Hungarian revolution and the reprisals as teenagers, had reached adulthood by the time the Kádár regime launched its program of consolidation, and was most intellectually active and creative at a time when the system of state socialism was beginning to dissolve, demoralizing much of the society. These experiences (especially those of 1956–1957), had a profound influence on his later life too, all the more since his father, a member of Imre Nagy’s revolutionary government, was the last person to remain at his post after the Soviet military invasion, for which he later had to spend years in prison, separated from his family.
István Bibó Jr. completed his final grammar school exam in 1959 at a Budapest school named after prince Ferenc II Rákóczi. Although he had done very well in school, he was not allowed to enter an institution of higher education, since his father was still in prison, serving a life sentence. He worked as an unskilled laborer for two years in the Aquincum Ceramic Factory. He then reapplied for admission to university and was successful. In 1961, he began his studies at the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, and in 1966, he completed his MA in Art History and Hungarian Language and Literature. By the end of his studies, he had married Judit Lipcsey, a secondary school teacher of the French and German Languages and Literatures. They later had four sons.
With the support of art historian professor Anna Zádor, Bibó Jr. managed to get a job in the last year of his studies at the Monument Building Department of the Budapest I District Real Estate Maintenance Company. He was responsible for doing historical research and documenting monument buildings in the Buda castle district that needed special expertise before being restored or renovated. In 1980, he began to work at the Art Historical Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, where he continued pursuing research on and documenting monument buildings for another ten years. In 1985–1986, together with his wife Judit he initiated a citizens’ movement to reclaim from the state “Baár-Madas,” a once flourishing Reformed Church secondary school in Budapest which had been “nationalized” or, rather, confiscated in 1952 by the Communist state, together with dozens of other traditional church schools in the country, which had been built and maintained by different nominations and monastic orders. Reactions among Church leaders were quite ambivalent. Although they did not oppose the initiative, they seemed cautious and tried to slow down the movement in order to avoid provoking the authorities. By the turn of 1988–1989, encouraged by the winds of major political changes, they urged that the necessary preparations be made for the change in status. The building of Baár-Madas was given back to the church, and the voluntary teaching staff, led by István Bibó, was assigned to renew the educational program of the once famous Reformed Church school.
István Bibó Jr. remained active as the director of Baár-Madas for five years. However, in 1995 a group obsessed by extreme right-wing ideas managed to take over the key positions in the top hierarchy of the Church, and finally Bibó Jr. himself had to leave the school. Since most of the teachers also left when he did, they decided to establish a more independent new school with a similar Reform methodology elsewhere in Budapest. This school, the János Sylvester Protestant Grammar School, was founded in 1997. For the first ten years, Bibó Jr. served as the director. In the meantime, he himself taught art history, and he worked as an expert for the National Office for Monument Protection. In 1996, he completed his Ph.D. in Art History, and in 2011–12 he taught as a lecturer in the Doctoral School of the ELTE Art History Department.
By the end of 2001, he had retired. In 2002, his wife passed away. He has four sons and ten grandchildren. He is the Chairman of the European Protestant Hungarian Free University Association and the curator of Árpád Göncz Foundation. In addition to pursuing his own research and publications, he dedicated much of his time over the course of the past forty years to the preservation and publication of his father’s oeuvre and personal memories. (István Bibó, 1911–1979, politician, political theorist, and scholar on the philosophy of law)
His Prizes:The “For Budapest” prize (1993), the “Hungarian Republican Order of Merit. Officer Cross” (1995), the “György Várhegyi” prize (2001), the “Pannon Exemplary” prize (2008), the “István Bárczy” prize (2013), and the “Lorántffy Zsuzsanna” prize (2017).
- Budapest, Hungary
Gyula Juhász was an eminent Hungarian historian, who focused in his scholarship on the 1930s and 1940s. His works deal primarily with diplomatic and intellectual history. During the period of Stalinism in Hungary, he joined the armed forces and led the history department of the Stalin Military and Political Academy (which was renamed after Stalin's death). In 1956, he left the army in protest against the reprisals which were taken in the wake of the 1956 Revolution. In 1958, he completed a degree in history from Eötvös Loránd University, and he became an employee at the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Because of his involvement in the Revolution, he initially had limited access to archives, but he still decided to train himself as a professional historian. He practically relaunched his career. He became one of the historians who renewed the discipline beginning in the 1960s, and he was a target of criticism by officials for his “objectivism” (meaning that his research was based on the thorough study of primary sources). In 1985, he founded the Institute of Hungarian Studies, and he became its first director. From1986 until his death in 1993, he served as the director of the National Széchényi Library. He also co-presided over the World Association of Hungarians from 1989.
- Budapest, Hungary
Juozėnaitė was born in Vilnius in 1988. Juozėnaitė was invited by Birute Vagrienė, the director of the museum, in 2011. The director of the museum knew Juozėnaitė as a specialist in the poetry of Tomas Venclova. She had studied Venclova's family history, and was especially interested in Venclova's activities. Tomas Venclova was an anti-Soviet dissident, and a close associate of Viktoras Petkus. Juozėnaitė took part in the international project 'Landmarks of New Europe'.
According to Juozėnaitė, cultural opposition is a form of resistance to official Soviet ideology. It is how the intelligentsia reacted towards the policy of the Soviet government, how dissidents changed the attitudes of society to the Soviet reality.
- Pamėnkalnio g. 34, LT-01114 Vilnius, Lithuania
Jonas Jurašas is a Lithuanian artist and theatre director. He was born in 1934 in Panevėžys. After the deaths of both his parents in 1941, he was sent to Marijampolė, and left secondary school in 1954. He started to study at the Lithuanian Agriculture Academy the same year, but in 1956 he transferred to GITIS (the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts) in Moscow. After graduating from GITIS in 1963, he started his creative work. The first theatre productions he directed were Paskyrimas (Assignment) by Aleksander Volodin (in 1963, at the Russian Theatre in Vilnius), Varšuvos melodija (A Warsaw Melody) by Leonid Zorin (1967), and Tango by Slavomir Mrožek (1967, both at the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre). In 1968, he moved to Kaunas, becoming the leading director at the Kaunas State Drama Theatre. During his career up to 1972 in Soviet Lithuania, he directed 13 theatre productions. According to Jurašas, while many of these productions were very well received and welcomed in the auditorium, they were all received very critically by cultural administrators because of ideological issues. The last production he directed at the Kaunas State Drama Theatre (1972) in Soviet times was Barbora Radvilaitė by Juozas Grušas. After sharp discussions following an official preview of the performance, Jurašas wrote and sent several copies of an open letter to governmental and media organisations. This became the reason to dismiss him from his position as a theatre director. Jurašas and his family were some of the first people in Soviet Lithuania to request permission to emigrate to the West, and received it from the Soviet government.
In 1972, he was dismissed from his position as director of the Kaunas State Drama Theatre. Jurašas did not agree to accept creative work under the proposed conditions of ‘Soviet theatre director’. He expressed his own view of what kind of work conditions and rights creative workers, and specifically theatre directors, should have. His terms were rejected by Soviet cultural administrators. Jurašas became unemployed, and had to endure poor living conditions. He and his family were some of the first people in Soviet Lithuania to request permission to emigrate to the West, and received it from the Soviet government. According to Jurašas, by allowing him to go to the West, the Soviet government tried to show Lithuanian society that only the Soviet system was capable of providing good conditions for creative work. The second motive was the regime’s fear of making him and his family a convenient rallying point for opposition. After Jurašas lost his position, members of the cultural opposition, and even anti-Soviet dissidents, started to see him as an important person in the anti-Soviet movement. It is important to note that the international conditions of detente also played an important role in the regime’s decision to allow him to leave the Soviet Union.
- Vilnius Gedimino prospektas 11, Lithuania 01103
Msgr. Augustin Juretić was born in Martinovo Selo, today’s Municipality of Jelenje, in 1890. He earned a degree in theology and philosophy in Senj in 1914 and was ordained a priest in the Senj-Modruš Diocese in the same year. He received a Ph.D. in theological sciences from the Augustineum in Vienna and earned a degree in sociology in Leuven, Belgium. After returning to Zagreb, he served as secretary of the Croatian Catholic National Alliance, secretary of the Professional Workers Union, and secretary of the Croatian Catholic Seniority. He worked as a professor at the Catholic Faculty of Theology in Zagreb and as a vicar in the Slunj Deaconate. Pope Pius XI appointed him his secret chamberlain and granted him the title of monsignor in 1930.
In his younger days, he was close to the Croatian Popular Party (HPS), but he later became a sympathizer of the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS). He went to Belgrade in 1928, where he became chief of staff of the minister of social policy (who was a member of the HPS) and head of the Catholic Religious Schools Office at the Ministry of Education of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. He performed numerous functions in Belgrade and he was appointed an advisor to the Belgrade Diocese in 1930. In 1939, he returned to Zagreb, where he was appointed the honorary canon of the Senj Cathedral Chapter and the honorary assessor of the Chancery of the Zagreb Archdiocese. In the same year, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his service, Prince Paul (Pavle Karađorđević), awarded him a fifth degree medal – the White Eagle.
After the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), Juretić remained engaged in several fields, and among other things he participated in caring for numerous refugee children from the war-torn Kozara area in Bosnia- Herzegovina. At the advice of his friend, Zagreb Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, and Vladko Maček, he left Zagreb in 1942 to establish a liaison with the Yugoslav government and politicians from the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) in London. He first went to Rome and soon after to Switzerland. He continued doing charitable work and acted as the representative of the NDH Red Cross at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Switzerland.
Monsignor Augustin Juretić was a man of many interests (a priest, politician, journalist and charity worker) who, during his life, engaged in various fields and left his biggest mark in journalism and writing. After emigrating in 1942, he launched the magazine Hrvatski dom in Switzerland in 1947. The magazine adhered to the ideology of the Croatian Peasant Party and had a Catholic orientation. In the twelve years that he spent abroad, Juretić had contacted not only Croatian émigrés, but also foreign clergymen, journalists, diplomats and politicians. He brought news from Yugoslavia, thus underscoring the nature of the communist regime in Yugoslavia and, most importantly to him, the systematic terror against the Croatian people and the Catholic Church. Besides Hrvatski dom, he was also active in other expatriate magazines: Naša nada (Our Hope), Hrvatski katolički pučki kalendar Srca Isusova i Marijina (Croatian Catholic Folk Calendar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary), and Hrvatski glas (Croatian Voice). His writing reflected an enormous commitment to Croatian liberation from communist rule and the collapse of the communist system in Yugoslavia, and ultimately the establishment of an independent state of Croatia.
- Fribourg, Switzerland
- Metropolitan City of Rome, Rome, Italy
- Zagreb, Croatia