Muriel Blaive: Der Fall der Familie Ouřada. Kommunistische Bürokratie und Geheimpolizei in der Tschechoslowakei der 1970er-Jahre, in: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2023. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 153–166.

This article analyzes the case file of the Ouřada family, who emigrated in 1969 from Czechoslovakia to Australia. An otherwise banal case led to a substantial paper trail in the police archives: 71 pages of painstakingly documented police investigations and interviews, as well as executive and judicial decisions, accumulated over twenty years, with multiple instances of closing and reopening of the file. Was such a bureaucratic deployment economical from the standpoint of the regime? The article will first place this case into the wider context of the Czechoslovak policy of dealing with diaspora populations. What appeared as a disproportionate management of one secret police file among millions will then gradually emerge as the opening of a channel of negotiation with the citizens who chose to defect from the country after 1968. Far from exhausting key resources in meaningless bureaucracy, the Czechoslovak political police strove, within the constraints of the communist dictatorship, to keep the population under control also via a form of social negotiation.

Über die Autorin

Dr. Muriel Blaive, Historikerin. Studium am Institut d’études politiques in Paris, Promotion in Geschichte an der EHESS in Paris. Dozentin am Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in Prag, derzeit als Stipendiatin eines Elise-Richter-Stipendiums an der Universität Graz (2022–2026). Forschungsfelder: Sozial- und Politikgeschichte der Nachkriegszeit, des kommunistischen und postkommunistischen Mitteleuropas, insbesondere der Tschechoslowakei und der Tschechischen Republik. Veröffentlichungen u. a.: Hg.: Sonderteil in der Zeitschrift East European Politics and Society zum Thema »Writing on Communist History in Central Europe«, einschließlich des Artikels »The Reform Communist Interpretation of the Stalinist Period in Czech Historiography and its Legacy«, in: EEPS 36 (2022), H. 3, S. 957–969 (online erstmals November 2021); Hg.: Perceptions of Society in Communist Europe. Regime Archives and Popular Opinion, London 2018.


Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung