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Czech security forces archive founded ten years ago

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Prague, Jan 29 (CTK) – The Czech Security Forces Archive (ABS), administering some 20 kilometres of archival records and founded ten years ago, has a tremendous quantity of written documents and photographs, ABS director Svetlana Ptacnikova has told CTK.

There are also films documenting, e.g., police actions against the youths drinking alcohol or the teaching of new agents of the StB secret service on what they should keep their eyes, Ptacnikova said.

People are most interested in the files relating to StB agents and the shadowed persons, Ptacnikova said.

The archive stores the materials of the Communist regime security forces, which means the military counter-intelligence, the VB police and the border guard.

After the ABS was established, the search was mainly made by the people who wanted to ask questions about their families and friends and whether the StB spied on them, Ptacnikova said.

“Now the balance is considerably changing to the benefit of students and researchers,” Ptacnikova said.

They mainly go to the archives to ask about specific people. These are up to 30,000 names annually.

There is also interest in the archival records from abroad, not only from European countries. “The researchers are from Australia, Japan, and Argentina. Two years ago, there was even one from Mauritius,” Ptacnikova said.

At present, it is also possible to see some documents from a distance, thanks to the application eBadatelna. It comprises 4,700,000 digitised pages of documents.

This year, at least some 400,000 pages more will be added. “If everything runs smoothly, we may be close to one million. We want to add another, very attractive thing, the Communist Ministry of National Security collection,” Ptacnikova said.

“There are archival records about the 1950s show trials of leading Communist party officials,” she added.

The ABS wants to attract young people by excursions and since June 2017 by geocaching, a search walk in the places associated with some momentous events.

Besides, the ABS has a collection of films, also digitised. The ABS has 157 employees, with branches in several buildings in Prague and one in Kanice, south Moravia. It was established by a law on February 1, 2008, just like the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.

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