About the project

The communist experience is part of the common European identity, and therefore we have created Socialism Realised – an online learning environment that passes over the traditional perspective on Cold War history with its focus on political history and conflict. Instead, we present content aimed at a deeper understanding of the lives of the people in these regimes and a comparison of these experiences to the present.

Socialism Realised is a project of the Department of Education at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.

The Institute is a state authority, founded in 2007 as part of the country’s process of coming to terms with the past. It investigates the periods of the communist dictatorship (1948-1989) and the Nazi occupation (1939-1945). The Department of Education prepares material for teachers and takes part in debates about modern Czech history. Didacticians, historians, sociologists, and media scholars all work in the department. We focus primarily on the use of feature films and other primary sources in teaching, and you can find our material in Czech at dejepis21.cz.

Thanks to a EU Europe for Citizens grant, we were able to put together a whole project in English about Czechoslovak history, which we have named Socialism Realised – both as a play on the term “real existing socialism” and also because we focus on understanding the experiences of the period. We realised early on that we couldn’t just translate material that we use with Czech students; we also had to adapt the sources and texts for users from different societal backgrounds. Our aim isn’t just to teach Czech history. We chose material that attests to the lives of people in the whole Eastern bloc and brings up themes that could be important for anybody, even today.

Who are we?

Karina Hoření studied history and sociology at Masaryk University in Brno, and she’s been working at the Department of Education since 2011. She specializes in modern Central European history, memory studies, nationalism, minority history, and gender history. Together with Lani, she created the concept of Socialism Realised, and she authored the texts on Show Trials, the Prague Spring, and the Regime Collapse. Her favorite video is A serious conversation.

Lani Seelinger minored in Slavic Studies at Northwestern University and then went on to study Central European history and political science at the University of Glasgow and Corvinus University of Budapest. In between studies, she lived and worked in Liberec, Czech Republic as a Fulbright grantee. Her favorite video is Friends from Moscow.

Vojtěch Ripka studied political science and comparative social politics at Masaryk University in Brno and the University of Oxford. His work concerns social science methods, comparative history of social politics, and transitional justice. His favorite video is Revolution in the Regions.

Čeněk Pýcha studied history at Charles University in Prague. He focuses on memory and media studies and public history. He’s been working at the Department of Education since 2012. His favorite item is Politician in a Swimsuit.

Jaroslav Najbert studied history and journalism at Charles University in Prague. He teaches history, social science and civic education at a secondary grammar school. His favorite item is Back to the Past, because he likes students to deal with conflict remembering in the classroom.


‘History and media/Media and history: Educating Creatively’

Project leader:

Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes


Faculty of Arts, Charles University
Nation’s Memory Institute
International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania


1) International inter-disciplinary and peer-reviewed conference “School vs. Memory? Conflict, Identity, Coexistence (Central Europe)”
Date: 10 – 11 October 2014
Venue: Prague, Faculty of Arts Charles University
For more information see schoolxmemory.eu

2) Socialism Realized
This learning environment enables a user to find and analyse multimedia content about the communist regimes in Europe. Using the Czechoslovak example, we describe the specifics of life in the Eastern bloc. Our material is understandable and approaches the experiences, feelings, and problems that people in the past had, showing society there as a complex and diverse culture.


3) Historical workshop series (Historické dílny)
Historical Workshops is a series of seminars that aim to build a platform for creative dialogue among teachers, students and other groups interested in the process of history education. The series is focused on contemporary historical memory and its role in history education.


List of all activities


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