A Secret in the Words Tales of Literature and Dissent in Communist Czechoslovakia

Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2019

Department 1

Center for Global Education


In order to better understand the parallel culture of the 1970s and 1980s Czechoslovakia, this paper aims to tell the stories of six members of the Czechoslovak samizdat community: Marie Klimešová, Ivan Lamper, Ladislav Šenkyřík, Tomáš Tichák, Jáchym Topol, and Jarka Vrbová. Through personal interviews with these individuals, we understand how editors, typists, artists, writers, translators, and readers played significant parts in this parallel culture as well as how these people continue to play important roles in society today. While the tales told here are only parts of the lives of six individuals, they help reflect the impact of an entire culture that led to the Velvet Revolution in 1989.


Written for SIT Czech Republic: Arts and Social Change program.