Documentary series "Children of Stalinism" made in coproduction of Czech Television and Sunfilms, in cooperation with FAMU tells political prisoners daughters of 50s life stories, from the times of communism up until today. Seven 26 minutes documentaries originated from political prisoners 'daughters' audiovisual testimonies shot by students of FAMU with 37 political prisoners daughters. The project was co-funded by European Commission grant "Europe for Citizens" and won European Commission "Golden Star 2008" award.
"Children of Stalinism" is a still untold story of the daughters whose parents were political prisoners during the Stalinism times in former Czechoslovakia. It is about an impact of a more hidden type of political persecution on the girls and young women whose parents were arrested. It is also a more universal story of children of political prisoners in totalitarian regimes focused on sensitive family values.
Three years after the 2nd WW, communists took over the power in former Czechoslovakia under the leadership of Stalin and Gottwald. Between 1948 and 1952, around 250.000 people were imprisoned on average for ten years. They were farmers, workers with anticommunist opinions, entrepreneurs, priest, journalists, lawyers, other intellectuals, etc. Private property of people was confiscated by the New State.
Children of political prisoners had been ostracized and humiliated from childhood to adulthood by the Czechoslovak society. This oppression occurred after the imprisonment of one or both parents. Fathers were usually taken to a labor camp where they became slaves in the uranium mines. Mothers were kept in a notorious women’s prison. These girls grew up without one or both parents, some also in orphans´ homes. They experienced fear, injustice, loneliness and discrimination by their teachers. They were labeled by their friends and schoolmates as: “Descendant of criminals”, “Kid of Enemy of the State”.
Czechoslovak society was during the Stalinism very patriarchal. Communists wanted the Daughters of political prisoners not to study and to have children with male workers whom they met in factories; they should give a birth to a new communist working class. So the daughters were even more humiliated by the communists than the sons.
Our main protagonist is 60 years old ANNA. She lost her parents when she was 3 years old. Anna´s father was a member of anticommunist group. Anna grew up with her grandparents and could not get any higher education. Sentence of Anna´s both parents stated: 16 years in prison, 5 years of loss of personal rights after the prison and confiscation of all their property. When Anna´s parents returned from the prison, it was too late and the family was totally disintegrated. Anna met her parents rarely.
Anna now visits a self-support Group of Czech Daughters of Political Prisoners. They regularly meet three times a year in Prague. Here they share with the help of Jana Svehlova, a psychologist, their stories. They are telling here their personal dramas maybe for the first time ever. Such group was originated 8 years ago by first 12 Daughters on the basis of Jana Svehlova´s written doctorate work. We will go with Anna to this group where we meet the other Daughters. Through Anna, we will get to know closer this Daughters´ group that has now around 50 members.
Produced by Zuzana Drazilova
November 13, 2008 - Golden Star Award 2008
"Children of Stalinism" has been awarded the Golden Star 2008 by the European Commission. The award was given "for the project's involvement and debate on EU issues at the grass-root level and also because the project is an example of cooperation, effective working methods and tangible results".
- New York International Independent Film and Video Festival (NYIIFVF) - July 2010