Questionable content, possibly linked

Clandestine press, samizdat publications, etc.

Odds & ends I want to save for future reference… re: WWII resistance movements in Europe, and underground publications in USSR. So much rich material here. It’s hard to pick out just a few quotes.

“The clandestine press of the French Resistance was collectively responsible for printing flyers, broadsheets, newspapers, and even books in secret in France during the German occupation of France in the Second World War. […]

On 10 July 1942, General Karl Oberg posted a notice in every town hall in the Occupied zone announcing penalties applicable to the families of anyone convicted of disseminating propaganda against the occupying force (writers, typographers, middlemen, distributors), recalling ancient German Sippenhaft-style collective punishment measures. These measures didn’t stop the spread of information by the Resistance, and by 1944, 1,200 underground newspaper titles were being published with a total circulation of two million copies, totaling nearly twelve million copies over the course of the war. […]

In early newspaper issues, individuals often wrote under a number of pseudonyms in the same issue to convey the impression that a team of individuals was working on a newspaper.

“Samizdat (Russian: самиздат, lit. ‘self-publishing’) was a form of dissident activity across the socialist Eastern Bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground makeshift publications, often by hand, and passed the documents from reader to reader. The practice of manual reproduction was widespread, because most typewriters and printing devices required official registration and permission to access. […]

Before glasnost, most of these methods were dangerous, because copy machines, printing presses, and even typewriters in offices were under control of the organization’s First Department (part of the KGB); reference printouts from all of these machines were stored for subsequent identification purposes, should samizdat output be found. […]

The hand-typed, often blurry and wrinkled pages with numerous typographical errors and nondescript covers helped to separate and elevate Russian samizdat from Western literature. The physical form of samizdat arose from a simple lack of resources and the necessity to be inconspicuous. In time, dissidents in the USSR began to admire these qualities for their own sake, the ragged appearance of samizdat contrasting sharply with the smooth, well-produced appearance of texts passed by the censor’s office for publication by the State. The form samizdat took gained precedence over the ideas it expressed, and became a potent symbol of the resourcefulness and rebellious spirit of the inhabitants of the Soviet Union. In effect, the physical form of samizdat itself elevated the reading of samizdat to a prized clandestine act.”

“Ribs (рёбра, translit. ryobra), also known as music on ribs (Музыка на рёбрах), jazz on bones (Джаз на костях), bones or bone music (roentgenizdat) are improvised gramophone recordings made from X-ray films. Mostly made through the 1950s and 1960s,[1][2] ribs were a black market method of smuggling in and distributing music that was banned from broadcast in the Soviet Union.”

Apparently there’s a TED talk on this one:

“Tarnschriften or camouflaged publications were a way to avoid censorship in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945. Illegal writings were given an innocent looking cover and first and last pages.[1] Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands published about 80% of the camouflaged publications.[2] An estimated 900-1000 publications were issued with up to 40,000 copies printed per title.[3] Most of the publications were written for Germany, but there were also volumes for Spain and Norway, where a speech by Joseph Stalin was given the title Hvordan kan potetene bevares mot frost (How to keep potatoes from frost).[2]”


Bard Music in Soviet Russia


Black propaganda

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