Ludvík Vaculík was a writer and columnist. During the Second World War he worked at the Baťa factory in Zlín, studied at a shoemaking school and a business school for foreign trade. After the war he graduated from the Political and Social College. Upon returning from military service, he became editor of Rudé právo (Red Law), and later also worked in Czechoslovak radio. During the 1960s, he attracted attention in the editorial office of the Literární noviny (Literary Newspapers), later renamed Literární listy (Literary Letters) and then Listy (Letters), the most important periodical of the reformed intelligence. He remained at Listy until its ban in 1969.
Ludvik Vaculík was a member of the Communist Party; he joined in 1945. At the first meeting he knew he had made a bad decision. He did not like kind of people he met there, but he did not want to quit because he hoped he would have an influence from within. He did not like the Communist regime abusing the idealism of its supporters. At IV. writers’ congress in 1967 he spoke about the post-war development of Czechoslovakia and he was particularly critical. He declared that "no human question has been resolved in our country in twenty years." After this performance, he was expelled from the party.
In 1968, he wrote he proclamation, "Two Thousand Words". He also became a signatory of Charter 77. After the Prague Spring was suppressed, he was banned from publishing for 20 years. Conservative communists called him a platform for counter-revolution.
Vaculík did not emigrate from Czechoslovakia, but took over the samizdat edition of forbidden literature, Edice Petlice (founded in 1972). For the next two decades, Vaculík was one of the leading dissidents and writers who were officially banned, but their works and ideas spread through samizdat or in foreign editions. After 1989 he continued his creative work. His best-known works include, for example, Český snář (Czech Dream Book) (1981), which is a narrative about life in dissent, or a novel for young people, Morčata (The Guinea-Pigs) (1973), which explores human marginalization. This work has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Český snář deals with everyday experiences of the late '70s, but also increasing pressure from the State Security following the formation of Charter 77, of which Vaculík was a founding member. At the same time, Vaculík wrote highly-valued feuilleurs, one every month. Their readers were predominantly people from dissident circles. Separate editions were published only after 1989 in two collections, Spring is Here and August Year. Vaculík was one of the most persecuted writers in Czechoslovakia. He lost his job and was forbidden from publishing. However, he did not emigrate even after the occupation in 1968.
In 1996 he was awarded the Order of T. G. Masaryk III. class. In 2008, he was awarded the State Prize for Literature, “for his literary and publicist work so far, taking into account the prose piece ‘Hodiny klavíru’ (‘Piano Lessons’)”
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Éva Vadas was a Salesian nun and Bokor member. She entered the Social Mission Society/ Szociális Missziótársulat in 1935. She visited and helped people in hospitals and jails, and she also helped other families and did administrative work. She learned about the aims and principles of Bokor in 1948, and after the dissolution of the convents in 1950, she found the ideas of social responsibility and charity which Bokor represented very close to her own vision. She had to work in a factory. During these years, she organized the communities and helped spread the samizdats of György Bulányi. She was imprisoned from 1952 to 1956. After her release, she remained a member of Bokor up to her death. The collection of the Bokor base community is based on Éva Vadas’ documents. She contributed to the work of the community as a typist. She typed the Bokor samizdats, for example, the issues of Christmas Present /Karácsonyi ajándék (KARAJ).
Birutė Vagrienė is director of the Venclova House-Museum. She is a leader and decision maker, considering the collections and all the material that is held in the collections of the museum.
- Vilnius Pamėnkalnio gatvė 34, Lithuania 01114
Lauri Vahtre (b. 1960) is an Estonian historian, writer and politician. He is active in popularising history.
As a student at the Tartu State University, he was an activist and one of the main members of the Noor-Tartu (Young-Tartu) student movement. In 1983, he was expelled from the university shortly before he would have defended his thesis. His exmatriculation was not directly connected with his activities in Noor-Tartu, as he had distanced himself from the movement for a long time before, with the aim of not causing it trouble. However, his intentions and exmatriculation did not spare the movement, and it was closed by its members in 1984.
Vahtre managed to complete his studies in 1984, however. Later, in 1988, he also gained a candidate degree from the Institute of History of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. From 1989 to 1992, he taught as a senior lecturer at the University of Tartu. He was a member of the Congress of Estonia, and from 1991 to 1992 was a member of the Constitutional Assembly.
- Tallinn , Estonia undefined
Szabolcs Vajay (1921–2010) was a Hungarian historian, genealogist, heraldist, and diplomat. Vajay created an important scientific oeuvre. He dealt primarily with the medieval history of Hungarians, genealogy, and heraldry. Since 1943, his professional writings were published in 6 languages in 22 countries. He served as vice-president of the International Academy of Heraldry (1964–1976), and in 1980 he was made a professional heraldist of the Order of Malta. He was the president of the National Fellowship of Genealogist and Heraldist Associations, and he was then made an honorary president.
He was born to a Hungarian noble family in Budapest. He studied at the Szent Imre High School and then went on to study law at the university of Budapest (1939–1943). In 1942, he was made a member of the Knights Hospitallers. As a scholar, he continued his studies in Switzerland. After the putsch of the far-right Arrow Cross Party in Hungary (1944), he chose to live in exile. From 1943 until 1946, he studied at the International Affairs Department of the University of Geneva. He then became private secretary to ambassador György Barcza. In 1946, he took part in the peace negotiations as a junior diplomat. He worked for the International Red Cross and then moved to Argentina in 1948. Between 1949 and 1953, he was the managing main secretary at the Buenos Aires office of the Institute of Modern Art Foundation. He worked as a journalist in France from 1954 to 1958, and he became a cultural co-worker at Radio Free Europe in 1955. Vajay was a UNESCO official (1959–1983) responsible for the Latin American Department of the Class of Social Sciences. He took part in the organization of many higher educational institutions and contributed to the publication of Spanish and Portuguese encyclopedias and the development of scholarship networks. In 1986, he was made permanent commissioner of the International Council of Social Sciences, which operated next to the UN Center in Geneva. He led the Office of the Knights Hospitallers in Geneva. He taught at the Károli Gáspár Calvinist University and the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Hungary.Vajay, who believed in civil values, rejected the totalitarian regimes. As a co-worker at Radio Free Europe and a scholar of genealogy and heraldry (disciplines which were not permitted by the communist cultural authorities) he tried to preserve and pass on traditional civic values. Later, he actively took part in the Hungarian “rehabilitation” of genealogy and heraldry. He first returned to his homeland in 1971, and he regularly donated books to the National Széchényi Library. In 1978, when the U.S. government gave back the Hungarian Holy Crown at the request of the Hungarian government, Vajay became the primary expert on the committee for the study of the Crown. He was made honorary president of the recreated Society of Hungarian Genealogy and Heraldry in 1989.