The communist security apparatus played an enormous role in the history of East Central Europe. It was both a tool used to control society as well as being the main means of political repression. Millions of individuals became its victims, and its effects are still being felt today. Research on the communist security apparatus is one of the most important areas of study in the field of twentieth century history.

The conference's theme is the communist security apparatus in the countries occupied by the Soviet Union (Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia) and the Soviet bloc states in Europe (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania).

The conference has three main aims. One is to summarize the current state of research on the history of the communist security apparatus and to indicate the basic areas for future academic projects. The second is to facilitate cooperation between institutions and individuals involved in the documentation of the communist security apparatus. The third is to raise public awareness in Europe about the activities of the security apparatus.

The conference is being organized by the Institute of National Remembrance (Poland), Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the Former German Democratic Republic; Stiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur (Foundation for the Research on the SED Dictatorship – Germany); Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung (Center for Research on Contemporary History – Germany); Institute of Contemporary History, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; the Office for the Documentation and the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism (Czech Republic); Institute of National Memory (Slovakia).

The conference program has five themes, according to which the various sessions will be organized:
1. "The place of the communist security apparatus in the structure of power": the relationship between the security apparatus and the communist party, state administration, military, militia and the role of the security service in the state.
2. "A collective portrait of the communist security apparatus": class origins, education, career paths, membership in political parties, gender, cultural models.
3. "Activities of the communist security apparatus outside the Soviet bloc": military and economic espionage, surveillance of émigré communities, secret operations outside the east bloc, including kidnappings and killings, and the role of the communist special services in Third World countries.
4. "Cooperation of the communist security apparatus structures of the Soviet bloc states": the role of the Soviet Union, mutual supervision, bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
5. "The main areas of activity of the communist security apparatus": activities directed against the anti-communist armed resistance, opposition, churches, ethnic minorities, protection of industry and counterintelligence.

The organizers anticipate that about thirty papers will be presented during the conference. The official languages of the conference will be English, German and Polish, with simultaneous interpretation to be provided. The papers will be published in 2006.

The conference will also include panel discussions, meetings with individuals who were themselves witness to the subject matter under discussion and exhibitions, as well as documentary and feature films about the history of the communist security apparatus.

A book launch for "Handbook of the Communist Security Apparatus in East Central Europe 1944/1945–1989" will also take place during the conference. It will contain reports on the activities of the communist security services in eleven of the region's countries.

We would like to invite all who are interested in the history of the communist security apparatus to take part in the conference, whether as presenters or as members of the audience and discussions that follow.

The organizers will cover the cost of presenters' stay in Warsaw, including accommodation and meals, as well as travel costs (400 € maximum). For other registered participants, the organizers will provide assistance with hotel reservations.

Those interested in participating in the conference should register using the attached form no later than October 31, 2004. The registration fee is 30 €. Each registered conference participant will receive a brochure containing the paper abstracts, conference materials, three lunch vouchers, and an invitation for the special banquet to be held during the conference. In certain cases, the organizers may opt to waive the registration fee, which will not be required of participants who present papers. We ask that the registration fee be paid by March 15, 2005. The registration fee will not be refunded after that date. Details on how the fee may be submitted are provided on the conference's web page:, which will be posted in September 2004. It will contain all the latest conference information.

Participants requiring a Polish visa will receive a letter of recommendation from the Institute of National Remembrance, which they may present at the Polish consulate in their country of residence.

Please send registration forms to the following address:
Instytut Pamięci Narodowej
Biuro Edukacji Publicznej
ul. Towarowa 28
00-839 Warszawa
"Conference 2005"

Fax +48-22 581-8926

For additional information, please contact:
Anna Piekarska –
Dr. Łukasz Kamiński –