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Project's Chronology

Women from all post-Socialist countries were highly interested in the participation in the project; unfortunately, not all of them succeeded in managing the demanding project financially and organizationally. The Czech team has been, step by step, joined by German, Polish, Serbian, Croatian, Slovak, Montenegro and Ukrainian teams; most of them from independent women's education and information centers.

Each team is autonomous, including financial matters, while all teams have committed themselves to realize minimum 30 interviews with each of the generations and supply the series of interviews with additional documents and materials.

All teams cooperate tightly and communicate on regular basis. Meetings of national coordinators form the decisive body of the project. The communication languages are German and English. The project can be joined by any other team that agrees with the official project status and methodology.

From the very beginning, the project was intended as an international one where a few dozens of women's and gender organizations from all post-Communist countries wished to take part. It was soon obvious that such a large and demanding project could not be financed from one source. Thus, colleagues who were willing and able to manage financial obstacles were invited to get involved in the project. We admit openly that the choice of teams to be invited depended also on personal contacts as the project needs a background of tight and long-term cooperation when coordinators have to keep in touch also during periods when it cannot be financially ensured.

Women's Memories year by year

  • 1995 The first project idea was formulated by Jiřina Šiklová, sociologist and founder of Gender Studies, o.p.s. in Prague: Women who have lived in post-Communist countries should trace back women's lives back in Socialism. The idea came to life during the discussions among participants of the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing on the train across Siberia to China.

  • 1996 The team of the Prague Gender Studies undertook the first interviews with Czech women.

  • 1997 1997 The Czech team realized 30 interviews with women of three generations; 10 members of the then Gender Studies Foundation participated in the team.
    The Czech team went on making new interviews, realized a number of internal evaluating seminars, and published selections of interviews in spring and autumn: All Our Yesterdays I and II - see Publications.
    The international project's preparatory phase started in autumn 1998: three teams (Gender Studies Prague, OWEN Berlin and eFKa Krakow) developed the joint conception and methodology based on the first set of interviews.
    At the same time, Yugoslav and Croatian team began their work on first interviews.

  • 1999 Interviews with the oldest generation, born in 1920-1930, were realized. A weeklong workshop for six teams (the first five teams were joined by Slovaks) took place in Croatia in June. A work plan, cooperation rules and methodological consensus were conceived. At that time, an international archive was founded in Prague.
    In September, a four-language publication "Epistolae" came out as a "side product" of the project and an example of mutual women's support - it brought to the public letter of the Yugoslav coordinator N.C. sent by e-mail to the international coordinator P.F. during the air bombing of Yugoslavia by NATO armies.
    In October, a methodic seminar was held in Novy Sad: the representatives of Gender Studies, o.p.s. were project multiplicators. The team of Novy Sad has, since then, worked independently and published a number of books of interviews.

  • 2000 All participating teams developed further on their interviews with the two older generations. Additional studies and materials were collected and created along with the basis of the project.
    In May, OWEN Berlin organized an international conference "Women's Memories - The Future Needs Reminders. Lives of Women of Post-War Generation in Central and Eastern Europe". At the conference, first project outcomes regarding the oldest generation were presented to the public.

  • 2001 Interviews with the second generation were undertaken. Due to lack of financial sources, some team slowed down their work; the Polish team had to interrupt their work completely. Under the Gender Studies, o.p.s. supervision, an independent project team "Roma Women's Memories" was founded within the Museum of Roma Culture in Brno - see Subprojects.
    In June, a methodic seminar was held in Budva, Montenegro, but a Montenegrin team was not assembled at that time due to financial matters.

  • 2002 Further interviews were done with the second and third generation of women. In April, OWEN organized a seminar in Kharkow, Ukraine, first of a series of methodic seminars aiming at the project being joined by the Ukrainian team. First working group of Women's Memories with Russian speaking immigrants was created in Berlin.
    In June, the Czech team introduced its specific project "Women's Memories - Victims of Holocaust" where women who survived holocaust were interviewed.
    In September, a yearlong cooperation among the Prague, Berlin and Bratislava teams was started within EU programme Grundtvig. During the project focusing on exchange of experience, the teams shall evaluate and monitor all material received in interviews and develop their integration in gender education.
    In November, OWEN Berlin held an international seminar, "Women Form the Future" where, after a rather long pause, all teams' representatives met joint by the new Ukrainian team. The project Women's Memories was focused on during a one-day-long workshop.
    In December, the Croatian film Borovi i jele - Sječanje žena na život u socijalismu (Pines and Firs - Women's Memories of the Life in Socialism) was first run - see Publications.
    At the end of 2002, German and Czech team concluded the collection of material (140 interviews with women of three generations).

  • 2003 In March, an international seminar entitled "From Oral-History to Interpretation of Biographic Material" was held in Bratislava.
    In April, the Czech project "Women's Memories - Victims of Holocaust" was concluded - it covers 30 interviews with women who survived holocaust, their daughters or even granddaughters.
    The Montenegrin team launched the pilot phase of their project at a common seminar with the Croatian team.
    In May, OWEN held introductory seminars in Petrograd and Moscow for women interested in a Russian project.
    The Ukrainian team received a yearlong financial support and thus it can start first interviews.
    In February, the team in Montenegro started its work on the project via interviews with the eldest generation.
    In March, an international seminar entitled "From Oral-History to Interpretation of Biographic Material" was held in Bratislava.
    In April, the Czech project "Women's Memories - Victims of Holocaust" was concluded - it covers 30 interviews with women who survived holocaust, their daughters or even granddaughters.
    The Montenegrin team launched the pilot phase of their project at a common seminar with the Croatian team. In September, an evaluating seminar of the pilot phase of the Montenegrin team was held in Kotor.
    In May, OWEN held introductory seminars in Petrograd and Moscow for women interested in a Russian project.
    The Ukrainian team received a yearlong financial support from the Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies and thus it can start its intensive work on first interviews.
    In June, a joint German-Czech-Slovak seminar was realized in Prague within a project supported by Socrates-Grundtvig and focused on analysis and archives processing of interviews.
    Prostor, a Czech publishing house, published a book "I Am Because I Have To" ("Jsem, protože musím") prepared by Pavla Frýdlová on the basis of a large interview with Kateřina Pošová for the Women's Memories project.
    The Czech team started to developed interviews with women dissidents.
    Project websites were launched:,
    The German team started a series of joint Russian-German workshops on the "When I was a girl…" issue focused on female immigrants from Russia.
    In the end of the year, German team organized a travelling exhibition, "Women of the Odra and Nisa Euro-Region", portraying 18 German and Polish women from Brandenburg-Polish border region.

  • 2004 Czech team concluded completion of documentation of all 175 interviews realized since the project launch; all of them are ready for electronic archives processing.
    A special archiving programme for interviews research was created on CD-Rom; as yet, only the Czech interviews were processed.
    The Slovak team was intensely concerned with interpretation of interviews and was preparing an analytical publication.
    In Serbia, further books were published within the successful Women's Identity edition series.
    Them German team followed up its methodological seminars dealing with interrelations of biographical memories, individual and collective identity in the cultural and historic context via a series of seminars in Russia, Caucasus, Chile and Nicaragua.
    In spring, an international conference entitled "Women and History: Conduct and Interpretation Capacity" was held in Berlin focusing on position of women in the Czech Charta 77, Polish Solidarnoscz and East-German peace movement.
    In the June-August period, presentation of the book "Sjećam se" (I Remember) was realized.

  • 2005 German, Czech and Slovak teams started to work on a two-year-long EU-funded project entitled "European Women in Dialogue". Its aim is to develop curricula of biographical courses on the basis of project materials and to run biographical courses based on the Women's Memories project materials.
    "Ženski biografski leksikon - Sjećanje žena na život u socijalizmu" (Women's Biographical Dictionary - Women's Memories of Life in Socialism) was published in Zagreb.
    Another book, "Didara - životna priča jedne Prizrenke" ("Life story of an Albanian woman from Kosovo"), was published in Belgrade.
    The Ukrainian team organized a seminar in Lvov - its title was "To Outlive History: Lives and Experiences of Women in Autobiography" and it was based on outcomes of interviews with the eldest generation of women.
    In the March-May period, "War as Seen by Women", a radio cycle, was on air in the Czech Radio 6. For the very first time, authentic sections of Czech and German interviews were used.
    On 22 May, premiere of a documentary film "War in Women's Memory" ("Válka v paměti žen") made part of a thematic evening on the Women and War topic.
    German documentary film "Grenzenlos engagiert" ("To Get Engaged without Borders") was started to cover five German and Polish women of three generations who had been engaged in different activities towards understanding, reconciliation and solidarity support.
    In June, an international conference entitled "To Live Means More Than to Survive. Women in Europe after the Close of the World War II" was held in Berlin.

  • 2006 – The publishing house Lidové noviny, in cooperation with Gender Studies, o.p.s., starts publishing a series of works, arising from the project Women’s Memory – for more, see Publications.
    - The book of the Slovak team (under the leadership of Zuzana Kiczková) comes out, in both Slovak and English, titled Women’s Memory: The Experience of Self-shaping in Biographical Interviews, Bratislava: Iris. An analysis of several interviews undertaken in Slovakia.
    -A seven-part radio cycle Žily tady s námi (They Lived Here With Us) is broadcast, about the destinies of German women antifascists in Czechoslovakia; it was produced on the basis of memories collected by the Czech and German teams involved in the project.
    -In November, a two-day workshop named Emancipation of Women under Socialism takes place in Prague.

  • 2007 January – At the Czech Oral History Association’s ( foundation meeting, three Women’s Memory team members are elected to the organization’s statutory bodies. Pavla Frýdlová becomes the Association’s vice-president.

  • 2008 - For further information, see Publications.

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Through you can buy:

:: The new books of Pavla Frýdlová based on the oral history methodology: Ženy v bílém - Women in White looks into the prestige life of women medical doctors.

:: Ženy odjinud - Women from elsewhere looks into the opinions and strategies of female foreigners living in the Czech Republic
Example of interview
HERE you can find transcribtion of one interview that was taken in the first period of the interviews collection.
Showcases of the additional materials
Here you can find examples of protocol, biogramme, resumé and list of entries (index for the archives).

Gender Studies, o.p.s.
Gorazdova 20
120 00 Praha 2
tel: 224 913 350, 777 910 941, 777910 933
tel./fax: 224 915 666
Big thanks to women's weekly VLASTA for usage of their photo archive (1950-1960).
© gender studies o.p.s. 2003