After the transition of the Southern European countries in the 1970s and of the Central European countries at the end of
1980s from totalitarian and authoritarian regimes to democratic systems and democratic consolidation moving on to
the enlargement of the European Union, threatening phenomena have appeared on stage: instead of further
consolidation of democracy, illiberal, popular and extreme political tendencies have gained ground. Citizens seem to
have forgotten about the morals of the past totalitarian regimes and are indifferent towards political and civil society
The project examines the civic participation and democratic ownership in 5 European countries: Germany, Greece,
Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in the last decade of totalitarian regimes, concentrating on specific fields in each
country and making video interviews with senior activists having been involved:
1. fight for free speech, samizdat in Hungary,
2. trade unions – Solidarity in Poland,
3. democratic movements helped by the Catholic and Lutheran Church – in Slovakia and Germany,
4. strikes and mass demonstrations at universities – in Greece.
A national and a transnational civil dialogue is aimed to be fostered refering to the past and the fight for democracy
under totalitarian regimes and about the present – threats to democratic achievements, civic rights, counterbalances.
The gap between the present and the past, self and other, makes each of us responsible for how we remember our past and how we shape our future.
As our title, ’Building Democratic Europe Together’ expresses, we provide a forum for young citizens with no living
memories of the given era
1. to become aware of dictatorship experiences when meeting senior activists
2. to make an active step from passive remembrance to active participation to preserve democratic achievements with
the help of people who have experienced the totalitarian regimes and were involved in social movements against
totalitarianism and authoritarianism
3. to use modern and innovative methods to raise awareness on the past and promote democracy and freedom of