Sep 26, 2022
Libri Prohibiti is a nonprofit, independent,
archival research library located in Prague, Czech Republic that
collects samizdat and exile literature. Founded by Jiri Gruntorad
after the fall of the communist regime its holdings include some
40,000 monographs, periodicals, reference resources, and
audiovisual materials. In addition to dissident articles, many
popular books were banned, and subsequently distributed as
samizdats including George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and J.R.R.
Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, both of which are held in the
In 2013, the Libri
Prohibiti Collection of Czech and Slovak Samizdat periodicals from
the years 1948–1989 was listed by UNESCO in its Memory of the World
(MOW) Register. It is the largest collection of its kind in the
world. According to the MOW Registry, "the completeness and
uniqueness of this large number of documents attest to the fight
against the communist totalitarian regime and its importance for
the study of the history of the twentieth century."
I met with Jiri
Nenicka, a librarian at Libri Prohibiti, in Prague to talk
about the collection.
The novel/diary we refer
to about 2/3 of the way in which beautifully describes the samizdat
publishing experience is