Ljubomir Tadić was born in Montenegro in 1925. He spent the Second World War as a partisan, and entered the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade after the war, completing his studies in 1952. In 1959, he defended his doctoral dissertation in Ljubljana. Tadić started his university career in 1954 as an assistant at the Faculty of Law in Sarajevo, and soon became an associate professor. In 1962 he became a senior advisor at the Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade. From 1963 until his dismissal in 1975, he worked as a full professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade.
In 1968, Ljubomir Tadić was one of the leaders of the student protests in Belgrade, beginning his conflicts with the government. After that time, he was often targeted by critics and impeded by the government. Tadić was also one of the Belgrade “Praxis” members. Praxis was a group of philosophers of the so-called “creative”, non-dogmatic Marxism that formed in the early 1960s in Yugoslavia. This resulted in his removal from the Faculty of Philosophy in early 1975, together with seven other professors and assistants, who were labeled "morally and politically unsuitable". This attack on the professors of the Belgrade University marked the end of the Korčula school, Praxis, and the journal Philosophy published by the Philosophical Society of Serbia.
From 1976, Ljubomir Tadić participated in the work of the newly founded Open University (known as Otvoreni [Open] or Slobodni [Free] in the literature). The aim of the Open University was the informal gathering (in private houses) and discussion on various social, political, and artistic topics. Many critically minded intellectuals gathered there, including Dragomir Olujić, Dobrica Cosić, and Lazar Stojanović.
Tadić became publicly active again in the early 1980s, together with Dobrica Cosić, Svetozar Stojanović, Zoran Djindjić, Nebojša Popov, Vojislav Stojanović, and others, when he tried to launch the journal Javnost [Publicity] in 1980. This paper sought to bring together critical intellectuals, and a call for cooperation was sent to over 400 individuals. The timing of the initiative’s launch, a few months after Tito's death, proved not to be the best. Political sensitivity at that particular moment resulted in its ban even before the journal was published.
One year later, Tadić was re-employed as a scientific adviser at the Center for Philosophy and Social Theory, founded in 1981, within the existing Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade. This center would become where the intellectual democratic opposition to the Yugoslav regime gathered in the 1980s, and later similarly against the Milosević regime.
Together with Dobrica Costić, Ljubomir Tadić was one of the co-founders of the Odbor za zaštitu slobode misli i izražavanja [Committee for the Protection of Freedom of Thought and Expression] which was established in 1984. In the following years the work of the committee, which gathered mainly intellectuals from Belgrade, attracted public attention thanks to the publication of two texts - Predloga za ukidanje neopravdanih ograničenja sloboda i prava [Proposal for the Abolition of Unjustified Restrictions on Freedoms and Rights] (1985) and Predloga za uspostavljanje vladavine prava [Proposal for the Establishment of the Rule of Law] (1986). The Committee put pressure on the government and the public by organizing petitions in which hundreds of Yugoslav intellectuals participated. Initially, the Committee defended all critics of the government regardless of their nationality, but this changed when the political crises began at the end of the 1980s and it began engaging in other issues, particularly with the national Serbian cause in Yugoslavia.
In 1985, Tadić became a corresponding member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences, elected as a regular member in 1994.
At the time Yugoslavia was dissolving, Ljubomir Tadić was engaged in the democratic opposition and was one of the 13 founders of the Democratic Party in December 1989. His son, Boris Tadić, was the president of the Democratic Party and President of Serbia from 2004 to 2012.
Against the frequent accusations that he changed from a leftist into a nationalist, Ljubomir Tadić maintained in the weekly NIN (2004) that "In my books you cannot find that I have advocated some kind of nationalistic attitudes. But, in terms of justice and injustice, I have always made myself clear. Further on I consider that the Western policy is a great political injustice towards the Serbs. […] It turns out that the only aggressors are Serbs, while all the other are illustrated as the poor innocents. I cannot accept such an injustice, it is my determination. So, it is not a nationalist-chauvinistic view, but an attitude against the obvious lasting injustice."
Ljubomir Tadić passed away in Belgrade on December 31 2013.
Architect Ovidiu Marian Taloş is the initiator of the Orașul Memorabil (The Memorable City) project, whose purpose is to salvage the photographic heritage concerning the history of the city of Braşov. Born in Braşov on 21 June 1978, Taloș studied at the Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest from 1997 to 2003. In 2005, he took his master’s degree in the Anthropology of the Sacred Space at the same university. Since completing his traineeship, he has practised as an architect in Braşov. He is a member of the Romanian Order of Architects–Braşov, Covasna, and Harghita Branch (Ordinul Arhitecţilor din România–Filiala Teritorială Braşov, Covasna, Harghita) and of its territorial committee, one of the leading structures of this regional branch. Professionally, he has distinguished himself through awards received for architectural projects, namely, first prize at the “No man’s land-uri urbane” (Urban no-man’s-lands) contest organised in Braşov in 2009 and an honourable mention at “Open Source House–Ghana” at Delft University of Technology the following year.
In 2010, he laid the foundations of the cultural project Orașul Memorabil, which he coordinated with Miruna Stroe. By virtue of numerous people’s providing photographic material, the project gave rise to a digital archive reflecting the history of Braşov through daily life. Approximately a third of the Braşov–Oraşul Memorabil Collection covers the communist period. Some of the photos reflect the photographers’ critical view on social realities in communist Romania. Exceptional cases in point are those photos that feature the urban policy of the communist authorities, which led to the demolition of buildings and even whole areas in Braşov. The project’s photographic archive has been promoted through annual displays placed in public spaces in Braşov, but also through the project’s online website. Using the photographic heritage of the Orașul Memorabil project, Ovidiu Taloş has set up exhibitions hosted by the Romanian Cultural Institute in Budapest (2012–2013), the Romanian Cultural Institute in Vienna (2014) and Haus des Deutschen Ostens (House of East European Germans) in Munich in 2014. The exhibitions were organised in collaboration with the GIL Corona association and the Romanian Cultural Institute. Apart from the Oraşul Memorabil project, Ovidiu Taloş initiated and coordinated from 2012 to 2015, together with Miruna Stroe, the cultural projects Arhitecții și arhitectura în Brașov, 1870–1914 (Architects and architecture in Braşov, 1870-1914) and Arhitecții și arhitectura industrială în Brașov (Architects and industrial architecture in Braşov). These projects were financed by the local authorities of Braşov and from the architectural stamp tax collected and administrated by the Romanian Order of Architects.
- Brașov, Romania
After secondary school, Sigitas Tamkevičius started studying at the Catholic seminary in 1955. In 1957-1960 he served in the Soviet army, and in 1960 he continued his studies at the seminary. In 1962, Tamkevičius was ordained a Catholic priest. In 1962-1975, he served as a parish priest in the Lithuanian countryside. He became a Jesuit in 1968. In 1969, the Soviet government forbade him to serve as a priest, and he was forced to work in a factory. In 1972-1983, he initiated and edited the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania. Tamkevičius established a committee for defending the rights of believers in 1978. In 1983 he was arrested and investigated by the KGB. In 1983-1988, he was imprisoned in a labour camp in Perm and Mordovia (Russia). During the national revival, Tamkevičius became head of the Catholic seminary, and in 1991 he was consecrated as a bishop by Pope John Paul II. In 1996 he became an archbishop, and in 2005-2014 he was chair of the Conference of Lithuanian Bishops. He served in this role until 2015.
- Kaunas , Lithuania
Miklós Tamási attended high school in the 1980s, and like many of his peers, he had a hard time fitting into the world of the Kádár era. He was not interested in his studies, as he was an autonomous, tough, but not rebellious teenager. With considerable difficulty and after having changed schools several times, he completed his high school diploma. Nevertheless, the Margit Kaffka High School was an important backdrop for him: the small photo laboratory in the attic of the school was his favourite spot. Here, he and his friend Ákos Szepessy printed out photos they had found at clear-out sales. Tamási shared the following recollections in a 2016 interview with HVG: “I was trying to escape the greyness of the Kádár era and flee to memories of lost times. Even the piano at my grandmother’s house made a huge difference. My father was studying at the Budapest University of Technology in 1956 [at the time of the Hungarian revolution], and he often talked about those times. I was very interested in it, and I must have thought of him as a hero, since I was wearing his leather jacket, which barely fit me, and I also wore a pin with a Kossuth crest [the symbol worn by the rebels] that I bought at Ecseri flea market.”
At the time of the change of regimes, Tamási became more interested in politics. In the spring of 1988, he joined Fidesz, but as he did not find the party radical enough, he chose the Magyar Október Párt (Hungarian October Party), led by György Krassó, instead. He participated in protests organized by the Duna Kör (Duna Circle) against the construction of the Gabčíkovo–Nagymaros Dams, and he smuggled medicine to Romania (the shipment was provided by a Swiss charity organization).
Searching for pictures about the 1956 revolution became his passion, and this passion only intensified after the transition. In 1992–1993, he joined the “University of Technology 1956” Foundation, and he held interviews with former students at the university who were involved in the revolution. He met Tibor Beke through these interviews, who was sentenced to six years after 1956 for collecting photographs. As Tamási recalls, Beke “had a connection to József Teucher, who was the production manager at the Hunnia Studio at the time of the revolution, coordinating the cameramen. József Taucher was of course scapegoated as a servant of imperialism, who encouraged the production of the documentary ‘against the people.’ Beke, who was 23 years old at the time, collected photo materials about the revolution with Taucher. Their goal was to smuggle this material to the West, so the whole world could see that the revolution had been a democratic one.” Tamási was shocked by Beke’s story, and it encouraged him to salvage this photographic heritage. He looked up Beke’s photo collection in the documents stored at the Budapest City Archives and managed to find it.
Tamási also visited András B. Hegedüs, the founder and director of the 1956 Institute, and proposed that they start collecting photos about the revolution. Hegedűs supported the idea, so Tamási, in addition to writing letters to participants in the revolution asking for photographs, also started to look through press materials from 1957 searching for cityscapes with traces of the events. He found a photo with these kinds of traces, and according to the newspaper, the source was the UVATERV road construction company. In the storage facility of the newly privatized company, he found boxes containing the photo collection which came to some 150,000 pictures, all of excellent quality, many of which had been taken in 1957 or 1958. He bought a scanner and digitized a portion of the material. He tried to negotiate with Városháza Kiadó (City hall Publishing) about publishing the pictures, but he failed to prevail on the institution to allow their publication. He was called up for two years of compulsory military service, and this put an end to these attempts.
After the transition, Tamási lived off money earned doing odd jobs. He worked, for instance, as a motorcycle postman, a picture framer, and a furniture carrier. He spent half a year in Krakow in 1992 on a scholarship learning Polish. Later, he enrolled in the Polish program of the Kossuth Lajos University in Debrecen. However, after having spent another six months in Warsaw, he left the university and did not graduate. Nevertheless, his knowledge of Polish did come in handy later on: when the Open Society Archives (OSA) received the materials which had belonged to Radio Free Europe, they needed help organizing the material, so Tamási was commissioned to take charge of the Polish material in 1999. He then got a job at the Central Gallery as an exhibition organizer. In the meantime, he graduated from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in 2006 as a typographer.
While working at OSA, he spent most of his time looking after Fortepan. Thus, OSA was providing him a form of informal support. However, Tamási did not want to burden the institution: he quit in 2015 and started to focus solely on Fortepan. His small office is provided by the local government of the I District of Budapest for a rental price of 40,000 HUF. The enthusiastic volunteers and supporters play a major role in reducing maintenance costs.
In addition to the work he does for Fortepan, Tamási also contributes to programs and initiatives which help young people in Budapest get to know their neighbourhoods and their history better. Thus, from 2011, he and others annually organize the program series Budapest100, which offers guided tours of otherwise closed buildings or less well-known districts of Budapest. In 2014, as part of the Yellow-Star Houses project, buildings became memorials commemorating the forced relocation of Jewish people in Budapest and thus familiarizing the next generation with this burdensome legacy of the city’s and country’s past.
In 2017, Tamási made it on the “New Europe 100” list compiled by Res Publica, Google, the International Visegrad Fund, and the Financial Times. The list features “individuals from Central and Eastern Europe who are changing the world and improving people’s lives with ideas that scale up in the digital world.”
- Budapest, Hungary