Austria and Czechoslovak Dissent

The Prague Spring has sparked an unprecedented wave of sympathy with the Czech nation among the Austrian public. This positive attitude persisted even during the so-called normalization and was reflected in a number of activities to help the Czechoslovak opposition. Georg Breuer, expelled from the Communist Party of Austria during the „normalization process“, founded the „Solidarity Committee with the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic“ at the turn of 1972/73; Vienna’s Burgtheater director Achim Benning has included Václav Havel and Pavel Kohout in the repertoire; the Social Democratic Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky organized an action to support approximately four hundred emigrants from among the Charter 77 signatories under the leadership of Přemysl Janýr senior. The Catholic Church was also active: for example, they sent papers and medication to Prague Cardinal František Tomášek or organized a petition to support persecuted Catholics. In the Austrian People’s Party, Erhard Busek together with Emil Brix supported Catholic and civil-democratic dissidents. People’s Party Chairman Alois Mock, Foreign Minister since 1986, met with opposition leaders every time he visited the Eastern Bloc countries.

Discussion participants:

Přemysl Janýr jr. – signatory of Charter 77, later resident in Austria, publicist (A/CZ)

Karel Schwarzenberg – politician, former minister of Foreign Affairs of the CR, resident in Austria until 1989, supporter of Czechoslovak dissidents (CZ)

Emil Brix – diplomat, historian and publicist, director of  the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, an active supporter of Czechoslovak dissidents before 1989 (A)

Niklas Perzi – historian, Centre for Migration Research in St. Pölten, co-publisher of a book titled „Neighbours. Czech – Austrian History“ (A)

Moderator: Mojmír Jeřábek – director of the Czech Centre in Vienna (CZ)

The programme takes place in cooperation with the  Centre for Migration Research (ZMF) in St. Pölten (A).

The programme will take place in German, interpreting will be available.


Křenová 10, Schrott gallery