Crime scene photographs

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  • Crime scene photographs from a file on Jehovah’s Witnesses in Romania

    These crime scene photographs were selected from a documentary file on Jehovah’s Witnesses in the former administrative unit called Cluj region. The pictures were taken during various house searches conducted by the secret police in the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses or people related to them. The photos in the first image show a "normal sized piece of firewood" with its inside carved out and the reports of the Huedin circuit (territorial unit within the Jehovah's Witnesses organisation) from 1951–1954 that were hidden inside it. It was found in the home of the already arrested Huedin circuit se
  • Confiscated religious material smuggled into Romania

    These photos were taken in 1984 and depict religious materials that were confiscated from three West German citizens who were trying to smuggle them into Romania. The first photo depicts the inside of the trailer that the tourists were driving. The material was carefully hidden inside it so that it would not be easily discovered by the Customs Officers. Based on the report that was attached to the photos, the materials were found in a specially designed place in the ceiling of the trailer. The second and third photos depict all the materials that were confiscated from the German citizens. Am
  • Photographs of confiscated religious materials smuggled into Romania

    These photos were taken in 1985 and show the search by Customs Officers of a car belonging to three tourists who were trying to cross the border into Romania. This was a normal procedure and any attempt to smuggle religious materials into the country was considered dangerous and an attack against the regime. The first image depicts the three tourists together with all the religious material that they were presumably hiding in their car. Among the books we can see a few Bibles, brochures, calendars, some cassettes and songbooks. These materials were confiscated along with the list of names of
  • Seventh Day Adventist confiscated material Ukraine

    The images come from a 2-volume criminal case against fourteen followers of the Reformed Adventist movement in the provincial town of Bila Tserkva, Ukraine dating from 1952. All of the arrested believers were poor, barely literate Ukrainian peasants who practiced their faith privately in their homes. All of them were found guilty of anti-Soviet activity and refusal of military service and were deported to the Gulag. The photographs show religious manuscripts, books and photographs confiscated during their arrest. The images of the confiscated items were included in the file as evidence of the
  • Jehovah's Witnesses bunker printing press Ukraine

    These images were included in a 14-volume criminal file against seven Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) leaders from western Ukraine (former Drohobych and Stanislav region), 1955-1956. The photographs were produced during a police raid of an underground bunker printing press operated by the Witnesses in a rural location. The photographs were used as incriminating evidence of their clandestine illegal activities. The first image shows a rural private house in Smodne village under which the bunker was constructed. The place was also used as a safe house where several members of the JW organisation were
  • Crime scene photographs True Orthodox Church Ukraine

    In 1945, the police raided an underground monastery of True Orthodox Christians (TOC). It was located in a vault under a private house in the town of Chuguev, near Kharkov, Ukraine. As a result, nine believers (most of them nuns and monks) were arrested with hieromonk Seraphim (Shevtsov) amongst them. All religious artefacts belonging to the community were confiscated and most of them were later destroyed. The photographs presented in this entry were taken during the raid and were later attached to a NKGB criminal file as incriminating evidence. The images portray confiscated church property
  • Images of Old Calendarist underground church in Bucharest

    The 4 images are taken from a secret police personal file and were used as evidence of an Old Calendarist underground monastery in Bucharest. The community was led by the Old Calendarist bishop Evloghie Oța. According to the communist state legal framework, the Old Calendarist Orthodox Church was an illegal entity. These pictures documented a sweep operation of the secret police that ended in the destruction of the underground church and the arrest of the bishop. We cannot date the pictures precisely because the community kept rebuilding the underground chapel and the secret police destroyed
  • Incriminating photographs on Old Calendarist underground community Bucharest

    The two photographs are part of an evidence file of an underground Old Calendarist community. They are successive images of a typewriter and the typewriter with its owner taken by the Securitate for an evidence file constructed against the underground group. The first photograph has the typewriter placed near a Kalimavkion (monastic head gear in the Orthodox Church) which visually links the object with the owner. They are placed in the dormitory on the bed and what appears to be some literature is visible next to the typewriter. The second picture presents the owner of the typewriter with the
  • Crime scene photographs of a raid of a hidden house church Budapest

    These pictures have been selected from the 27 crime scene photographs that were taken during a raid of pastor József Németh's community in a hidden house church created. The raid took place on September 26th, 1972 during a regular Tuesday gathering. The first photograph depicts the hidden house church in József Németh’s house in Pesterzsébet. On the picture we see nine congregants some of whom are facing the occasional table-alter, discussing the unfolding situation, others are turning towards the back of the room in order to follow events. Behind the alter, the double doors are covered with
  • Evidence of illegal activity of underground Catholic religious order Hungary

    This picture depicts a Continental typewriter confiscated during a house search of a Hungarian Cistercian monk, Dr. Ferenc Piusz Halász (1909-1994) in 1961. The typewriter was photographed along with illegally held US dollars. Three photo images were taken by the secret agents in order to show how the US dollars were hidden in an envelope inside the typewriter. On the reverse of the photograph we find the following text: "Elismerem, hogy a fotokópia hátoldalán látható dollár az én tulajdonomat képezte, illetve azonos azzal a négyszázkilencvenhét dollárral, melyet a fotokópia hátoldalán látha
  • Archangelist Staged Ritual Moldova

    This photograph which was taken by Soviet secret police officers appears to capture a ritual performed by Archangelists (a branch of the Inochentist movement) in one of their underground chapels. On closer inspection, however, it is evident that this is not a surveillance photograph but rather a staged reenactment performed for the camera. The framing, camera angle, lighting and mood of the photograph were all determined by the secret police photographer with the intention of creating a powerful image for use by the regime. Indeed, the two Archangelists, shown wearing ritual clothing and holdi