Radio Free Europe Information Items

RFE Information Items
Collector: 
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute (RFE/RL Research Institute)
Created: 
1951-1957
Language: 
English, German, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, French, Romanian, Slovak, Bulgarian, Georgian
Extent: 
70292 items
Summary: 

The collection contains 70,292 digitized Information Item reports created by Radio Free Europe’s (RFE) News and Information Department in multiple languages from 1951-1957, covering political, economic, social and cultural issues behind the Iron Curtain. The Items concerned topics ranging from official Communist Party and state apparatus organization to micro-level practices of everyday life.

Information Items were created at RFE Munich based on one or more sources received from field offices operating between 1951 to 1956: transcripts of interviews and conversations, reports, radio program summaries, incoming letters, unofficial translations of official documents. The bulk of the collection consists of transcripts of interviews conducted with émigrés, people traveling to the West as tourists or on business, and defectors. Sources remained anonymous, and their testimonies were screened for reliability, and processed by national evaluation units for Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Romania. The reliability of information, however, cannot always be verified. As finished products, Items were mimeographed and circulated in 140 to 200 copies. While processing was carried out in English, Items also include excerpts from the original language transcription.

The collection represents the sole surviving portion of the total Information Items created over the period 1951-1972, and its subject matter includes propaganda and communication, resistance and purges, Party and state apparatus organization, as well as macro-economics, politics and anti-Communist movements, the informal economy (bribery, corruption, black marketeering), political corruption (alibis, spies, deviationists) and mild subversion (jokes, posters).

Temporal Coverage: 

1951 - 1956

Rights Statement: 
Use Conditions: 
Ownership of and financial copyrights to the reports belong to RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20036, USA. Users of RFE/RL content cannot alter the meaning, name or integrity of the content. RFE/RL reserves the right to revoke permission for use of its content at any time. The sale of RFE/RL content is strictly prohibited.