Bratislava, August 14 (TASR) – An exhibition of unique photographs from the archives of the News Agency of the Slovak Republic (TASR), featuring private moments of one of the most significant personalities of Slovakia – Alexander Dubcek – was opened on selected trains of the national rail transport operator ZSSK on Tuesday.
The exhibition forms part of the commemorative events marking the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Prague Spring, which was violently interrupted by the Warsaw Pact troops’ invasion of former Czechoslovakia.
“We found some negatives of pictures featuring Alexander Dubcek and the events of 1968 during the archive’s digitalisation in completely different envelopes under different names. The original envelopes were labelled as ‘Don’t publish’ or ‘Discard’. The pictures were only preserved thanks to TASR employees, who transferred them to a different place out of their own volition. Their authors are great agency photographers Stefan Petras, Ludovit Fule, Ivan Dubovsky, Jan Bakala, Vladimir Benko and Anton Tarkos,” said TASR general director Vladimir Puchala.
“The train exhibition is one of three exhibitions on Alexander Dubcek to be arranged by TASR. The others will be opened at the National Museum in Prague and at the Slovak Institute in Prague,” added Puchala.
The travelling exhibition on rails called “Alexander Dubcek among His People” contains 20 black-and-white photographs that capture one of the leading personalities of the Prague Spring, who has become a symbol of the efforts to democratise former Czechoslovakia in the late 60s, among his closest relatives and friends. Train passengers will have a chance to see, for example, pictures of Dubcek relaxing at an open-air swimming pool, including his legendary jump from a diving platform.
The other pictures document Dubcek’s relationship with his family and with Slovakia. The photographs capture moments of rest in his garden, as well as his meetings with people in the High Tatras or at international sports and cultural events.
The exhibition of photographs has been installed on two trains with one operating in eastern and one in western Slovakia. The next series of photographs have been installed in a railway wagon that is included in various express trains operating on the Bratislava-Kosice route. Some wagons have been labelled with the picture of Alexander Dubcek waving from a train window at the Bratislava train station in October 1968.
The exhibition’s partner is ZSSK. “It’s a big honour to me that ZSSK had a chance to participate in this project. The public should not forget about people who have had a significant impact on their history, and Alexander Dubcek definitely is an important personality of Slovak history,” said ZSSK general director Filip Hlubocky.
The exhibition of photographs on trains will be available to the public until the end of November.