During the discussion Mark Drumbl and Barbora Holá will present their book, forthcoming with Oxford University Press, “Informers Up Close: Stories from Communist Prague”.
Collaborators, informers, snitches, touts, and tattlers rattle about in times of conflict, authoritarianism, and political violence. Networks of informers are often an indispensable tool of terror in repressive regimes. While these individuals often play liminal roles in the violence itself, and may themselves be victims, they may also cause others terrible hurt and harm. Without them, human rights abuses would not normalize nor spread as widely.
Using a case study of Communist Czechoslovakia (1945-1989), and drawing on the Czechoslovak Communist Secret Police (StB) archives and informers’ oral histories, this book explores processes of informing to authorities in repressive times and considers what transitional justice should do – if anything – with informers after repression ends. The book unravels the complex motivations behind informing, societal reactions to informing, and explores the role of emotions in informer motivations. It also draws parallels between informing/cooperating with authorities in repressive times and informing/cooperating with authorities in liberal democracies.
We hope for a lively discussion and participation. Drinks after the event will be provided by the CICJ.
Registration is not necessary.
When: Monday 22 January 2024 17:00-18:30 CET
Where: BelleVUe building, De Boelelaan 1091 Amsterdam, Room BV-0H20