cover image of “The Light Comes from the West!” The Politics of Eastern European Migration during the Cold War project

    “The Light Comes from the West!” The Politics of Eastern European Migration during the Cold War

    10–12 October 2023, Bucharest, Romania

    The lives of the citizens of the Soviet bloc countries were largely determined by imposed isolation from the rapidly modernising democratic Western world and radical restrictions on the free circulation of cultural goods and other commodities, as well as foreign travel. This was motivated, above all, by the ideological, economic and cultural divide symbolised by the Iron Curtain and the fear on the part of the communist authorities that the escalation of differences between their countries could compromise the unity of the entire Soviet empire.

    No wonder that in contrast to the title of a lecture given by the Romanian writer Mihail Sadoveanu in 1945 – The Light Comes from the East – which predicted Soviet political dominance in Eastern Europe, in the decades of the Cold War many citizens felt that the light came rather from the West. One way of fulfilling this desire was migration, motivated first of all by the repressive nature of communist dictatorships, political or religious discrimination and economic hardship. The aim of the planned conference is to revisit the broadly defined politics of migration in the light of new archival materials and considering recent research approaches.

     

    Programme

    10 October 2023 (Tuesday)
    Conference venue: Multifunctional Hall, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (Bulevardul Expoziției 30A, București 012244)

    15:30–16:00 – Conference Opening

    16:00–17:45 – ‘Iron’ or ‘Nylon’ Curtain? The Role of Émigré Actors in Cold War Interactions (roundtable discussion)
    Moderator: Alina Bârgăoanu (Dean of the College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania)

    Speakers:
    Anneli Ute-Gabanyi (Emeritus International Scholar, Historian & Political Scientist)
    Anna Mazurkiewicz (University of Gdansk, Poland)
    György Péteri (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
    Dariusz Stola (Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland)

    17:45–18:00 – Coffee Break

    18:00–19:30 – PANEL ONE: Diffusion of Ideas, Cultural and Economic Goods During the Cold War
    Moderator: Gábor Danyi (European Network Remembrance and Solidarity, Warsaw, Poland)

    Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield (Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czechia)
    Transnational migration of ideas and their space: clandestine universities in Eastern Europe

    Alexandru-Cristian Voicu (National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania)
    Members of the Iron Guard exiled in Spain and expressions of propaganda through philately; a case study: ‘Cinderella stamps’ in exile

    Alexandra Bardan (University of Bucharest, Romania)
    Mediators of transnational solidarity aid in Romania during the 1980s


    11 October 2023 (Wednesday)
    Conference venue: Ion Heliade Rădulescu Amphitheatre, Library of the Romanian Academy (Calea Victoriei 125, Bucharest 010071)

    9:00–10:45 – PANEL TWO: Cold War Migration: Theoretical and Methodological Questions
    Moderator: Mihail E. Ionescu (National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania)

    Péter Bencsik (University of Szeged, Hungary)
    Migration policies of the East-Central European communist regimes compared

    Ioana Macrea-Toma (Vera & Donald Blinken Open Society Archives, Budapest, Hungary)
    ’Fleeing‘ or not: the complexities of a tactical game between the dissidents and the Securitate

    Corina Doboș (National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania)
    Producing emigration and immigration data during the 1950s and 1960s: between secrecy and policy in communist Romania

    Bianca-Florentina Cheregi & Florența Toader & Mălina Ciocea (National School of Political Science and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania)
    Transnational social fields and the politics of belonging in diasporic and national communities then and now: a comparative approach


    10:45–11:00 – Coffee break

    11:00–12:45 – PANEL THREE: Strategies in East-Central European Cold War Migration
    Moderator: Cosmin Budeancă (Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of Romanian Exile, Bucharest, Romania)

    Tomasz Korban (Pedagogical University of Krakow, Poland)
    LOT Polish Airline: landet oft in Tempelhof; aircraft hijacking in the Polish People’s Republic

    Dragoș Petrescu (University of Bucharest, Romania)
    Avenues of escape: tourism as a strategy to exit communist Romania (1967–69)

    Camelia Runceanu (independent scholar, Bucharest)
    Romanian intellectuals in the West: refuge, exile and mobility

    Florin Zyberaj & Brisejda Lala (Institute for the Studies of the Communist Crimes and Consequences in Albania)
    The establishment of communism and the escape of political opponents from Albania, (1944–47)

    12:45–13:45 – Lunch (Swedish buffet at conference venue)

    13:50–15:50 – PANEL FOUR: Actors, Institutions and Networks in East-Central European Cold War Migration
    Moderator: Ioan M. Ioniță (editor-in-chief of Historia and Foreign Policy)

    Lucian Vasile (Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile, Bucharest, Romania)
    The missing team: the curious case of the Pascal group’s double agents (1953–1955)

    Benedetta Fabrucci (University of Trieste, Italy)
    Refugees from the East: foreigners at the Italian northeastern border in the 1950s and 1960s

    Mioara Anton (National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania)
    The impossible escape: the Ceaușescu regime and the emigration tax (November 1982)

    Andrei-Dumitru Olteanu (Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
    Memories without borders: Romanian migration during the Ceaușescu regime and its connections to exile diasporas in France and Great Britain

    16:00–17:45 – a visit to the House of Ceaușescu Museum
    Guided tour in English (only for conference speakers)
    Bulevardul Primăverii 50, Bucharest)



    12 October 2023 (Thursday)
    Conference venue: Ion Heliade Rădulescu Amphitheatre, Library of the Romanian Academy (Calea Victoriei 125, București 010071)

    09:00–10:30 – PANEL FIVE: The Role of Migrants in the Fight for Human Rights
    Moderator: Andrei Florin Sora (University of Bucharest, Romania)

    Ana Maria Cătănuș & Dan Cătănuș (National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania)
    Turning émigrés into human rights activists: Romanian military exile in France during the 1970s and 1980s

    Cristina Petrescu (University of Bucharest, Romania)
    Human rights as a toolkit for migration: the Goma movement of 1977 in Romania and its aftermath

    Beáta Katrebová Blehová (Nation’s Memory Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia)
    The Slovak World Congress (1971) and human rights

    10:30–10:45 – Coffee break

    10:50–12:50 – PANEL SIX: Cold War Perceptions and Dynamics of Soft Power
    Moderator: Florin Abraham (National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania / ENRS)

    Adrian Pop (National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania)
    American perceptions of the Romanian exile circles in France at the beginning of the 1950s

    Erzsébet Árvay (Corvinus University, Budapest, Hungary)
    Shaping the diasporans perception of the home country: the State Office for Church Affairs within the Hungarian community during the Cold War

    Luke Dodds (KADOC Documentation and Research Centre on Religion Culture and Society at KU Leuven, Belgium)
    God as a guiding force: Belgian Catholics’ interactions with ’old‘ and ’new‘ Polish émigrés in the 1970s and 1980s

    Constantin Buchet (National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania)
    Romanian military exile in the West and military diplomacy against the communist regime

    12:50–13:00 – Closing Remarks
     

    Registration

    Participation in the conference is free of charge but registration is obligatory. To register  click here

    Partners

    Organisers

    logo of ENRS

    logo of National University of Political Studies and Public Administration

    logo of institutul national pentru studiul totalitarismului



    ENRS is funded by:

    logo of PL ministry 2023 NEW LOGO
    logo of DE Ministry

    logo of HU ministry 2023 NEW LOGO
    logo of SL Ministry

    logo of RO Ministry



    logo of EU Disclaimer
    Be always up to date with our projects!
    Sign up for the ENRS monthly newsletter
    & stay up to date with our news and events.