Czech civil society marks anniversary of the first Nazi transport of Jews from Prague not with silence, but with rhythm
An unusual "happening" called "Drumming for Bubny" has marked the anniversary of the first Nazi transport of Jewish people from Prague to the concentration camps during WWII. Four hundred drums were distributed at the Prague-Bubny train station beneath a statue by Czech sculptor Aleš Veselý called "The Gate of No Return" and used by participants to symbolically disrupt the silence that surrounded that first deportation (Video footage of the event is here).
"Everyone attending can reflect on what the legacy of that time is for our present moment and the role that disrupting silence plays, what its purpose is. Today we are dealing with many situations on which we should be taking positions as individuals," said Pavel Štindl of the convening organization Memorial Shoah Prague.
The organizers' intention was to commemorate the wartime events without resorting to the pathos of the reverent laying of wreaths. Through the online crowdfunding server Hithit they raised more than CZK 100 000 to buy materials for the production of the drums, which were made by students in the Prague schools.
"I was pleased to see the discussion on Hithit of why these drums are being made, why it is children who are producing them, and that the children who are making them know why they are making them. I am really glad we have managed to raise this money and I thank everyone involved," Štindl, who is a film director and documentary filmmaker, told Czech Television.
Appeal against a silence that should never repeat
written especially for the drumming event by members of the Czech PEN Club.
The first Nazi transport from Prague to Łódź occurred on 16 October 1941 and involved 1 000 Jewish children, men and women. Only 24 people survived it.
At Prague-Bubny train station, from which more than 50 000 Jewish people were ultimately deported, a "Memorial of Silence" is now being created, a space for public dialogue about the legacy of the victims, the motivations of the perpetrators, and primarily to discuss the essential role played by the silent majority in times when passivity poses a threat to all. Today is the last day of two exhibitions at the space, "Voices of Family Albums" and "Fragment of the Memorial of Silence".
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