Other Publication Details
Mandatory Fields
James A. Kapaló and Gabriela Nicolescu
Faith - Trust - Secrecy: Religion Through the Lens of the Secret Police
Optional Fields
religion, communism, secret police, surveillance
Faith and trust are two of the central foundations of religious community but secrecy also represents a common feature of religions throughout history. The secret police, as their name suggests, depended on secrecy practices, whether real or simply performed, and as part of their undercover operations they sought to gain the trust of the communities they wished to infiltrate. Researchers of religion, both during Communism and today, also require the trust of the communities that they research and they practice their own forms of secrecy to protect the identity of research participants. In this exhibition, we present the complex interactions of the secret police with religious groups and those seeking to research them. Faith and trust, whether sustained or broken, and secrecy are interwoven in the images, narratives and testimonies on display. The material for this exhibition came from two sources. In the first instance, it is based on research conducted in the secret police and other state archives between 2016 and 2019 by a team of researchers of the Hidden Galleries project. This work has been expanded on and placed in dialogue with collaborative work with the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives on their recently acquired collection of manuscripts and personal books of the Hungarian sociologist of religion, Zsuzsa Horváth.
Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives Gallery
Grant Details
European Commission
Hidden Galleries ERC project no. 677355