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Secret police paparazzi

Historians have discovered a golden mine: A collection of several thousand secret photographs taken by the communist secret police StB.

  • Autor: Respekt
• Autor: Respekt
Fotografie: Milan Kundera - Autor: Archiv Ústavu pro studium totalitních režimů • Autor: Respekt
Fotografie: Milan Kundera - Autor: Archiv Ústavu pro studium totalitních režimů • Autor: Respekt

Historians have discovered a golden mine: A collection of several thousand secret photographs taken by the communist secret police StB. They were taken while the police were spying on dissidents, non-conformist youth, or „problematic“ artists. It is a fantastic testimony of our past.

They looked inconspicuous: Men with briefcases under their arms standing on the street and making a show of checking their watch, ladies with handbags over their shoulders adjusting their stockings for long minutes. As if they were waiting for someone. Milan Kundera,Miloš Forman,Jan Placák or Věra Chytilová did not know the people stood nearby for so long only to covertly take photographs. Dozens of professional photographs spent hundreds of hours in the streets, cafés or restaurants to secretly capture even the least important detail from the ordinary days of unordinary people in thousands of shots.

Today, their shots are under investigation by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. The preserved strips of negatives are in a small format to fit miniature spy cameras of the Robot and Krasnogorsk types. StB agents carried them in their briefcases, handbags and coat pockets. Some negative images are punched, which means the police blew them up. Being one of the people in the negative slide could have fatal consequences: Such…

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