Samizdat consists of illegal, clandestinely produced and disseminated documents. Keston contains a large collection of samizdat from Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union with 4,000 items of correspondence, petitions, newssheets, memoirs, original literary works and banned books such as C.S. Lewis' Love translated into Russian.
Remarkable pieces include handmade prayer books, appeals to the West typed on cloth from Vashchenko and Chmykalov Pentecostal families in the Soviet Far East, trial transcripts of unregistered Baptist Aida Skripnikova handwritten in ink on cloth sheets and a facsimile of the 1972 Lithuanian Memorandum signed by 17,000 believers.
Posters and Soviet Archives
Over 60 original Soviet propaganda posters depict religion as the domain of superstitious grandmothers, a danger to children, and the dominion of self-serving clergy. Nearly 500 documents obtained from KGB archives, Russian state archives, and Council for Religious Affairs regional archives detail religious policy, including the controversial confiscation of church valuables in 1922 and the closure of churches during the 1960s.
Photographs and Art
Keston's images provide powerful glimpses into the hearts of persecuted believers and the destruction of the churches. Art includes hand-painted cards and a canvas by Yuri Titov who was committed to a mental institution for his religious beliefs. Soviet authorities later destroyed 50 of his paintings with acid. Photographic holdings contain 4,500 rare images with 150 videos and 500 sound recordings of interviews, lectures, and radio broadcasts augmenting the rich resources.