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The Prague embassy refugees of 1989

Research field:Dictatorship Research
Research focus: Historical Conditions (Project completed)
Coordination: Dr. Karel Vodička


Karel Vodička has requested funding from the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship and from the German-Czech Future Fund for the project and for completion of a book on Die Prager Botschaftsflüchtlinge 1989.Geschichte, Bilder und Dokumente für die politischeBildungsarbeit [The Prague Embassy Refugees of 1989.History, Photos and Documents for Political Education]. The drama of the Prague embassy refugees was an important factor in the Peaceful Revolutions of 1989, both in the GDR and in Czechoslovakia. To date, neither a scholarly monograph nor an academically researched non-fiction book has been devoted to this subject. In fact, despite their thoroughness, previous histories of the Peaceful Revolution in East Germany have accorded only minor importance to the story of the Prague embassy refugees. An important factor behind the historic decision of the SED Politburo to allow the departure of the embassy refugees via GDR territory was also the strong pressure applied by the Prague KSČ politburo, as is evident from Czech archival sources. This relationship provides another good reason to take up this issue in German-Czech co-operation. The project is to be conducted in co-operation with the Philosophical Faculty of Jan-Evangelista-Purkyně University ÚstínL. Over 800 relevant documents from German archives have already become available, supplemented by Czech archival sources.