Yesterday we spent some time at the Open Society Institute Archives, studying their Samizdat collection.

Samizdat, which means “self-published” in Russian, was the underground literature that was illegally printed and distributed in Soviet Russia and other Soviet controlled countries, including Hungary.

As you can imagine it was incredibly dangerous, so the printers continued to come up with imaginative and ingenious ways of distribution. Here are a few photos from the collection:

Below is a tiny, full length book. This literature was illegal to have, so they printed it small enough to fit into you pocket, should the authorities come around.

Tiny Samizdat BookThe inside

We also looked through an extensive collection of letters and correspondence between samizdat authors and publisher and Radio Free Europe.

Handwritten letter to Radio Free Europe

Ever looking for ways to evade the authorities, some samizdat artists created postal stamps! These were used to mail letters, which was quite a smack in the face since it was the government (postal service) that actually delivered the letters, and inadvertently the rebel material!

Samizdat stampsTiny samizdat book


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