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May 25, 2022



Czech Culture Minister to inform Govt today about new Memorial of Silence organization combating antisemitism, extremism and xenophobia

26.1.2022 9:01
--ilustrační foto--
--ilustrační foto--

Czech Culture Minister Martin Baxa (Civic Democratic Party - ODS), will inform the Government today about the Culture Ministry's establishment of a new state-sponsored organization last year, the institution Památník ticha (Memorial of Silence). The main goal of this institution of memory will be to combat antisemitism, xenophobia and other current extremist manifestations in society. 

The memorial is the Culture Ministry's 30th directly-established organization. The previous administration decided to establish this new organization to take over the activities of the public benefit company of the same name at the end of 2020. 

In the Government resolution, the Culture Minister was required to submit information to the cabinet about the establishment of the Monument of Silence by 31 December 2021. The date of establishment was 27 May 2021, and Pavel Štingl was entrusted with management of the organization.

For several years, the non-profit organization Památník ticha (Memorial of Silence), housed in the abandoned building of the Bubny railway station in Prague, has drawn attention to the Nazi transports of Jewish people from that station during the Second World War. Štingl, a documentary filmmaker and director of the non-profit organization Memorial to the Shoah in Prague (Památník Šoa Praha), came up with the idea of rebuilding the disused station into the Memorial of Silence.

Symbolically, the first step in the reconstruction of the railway station was the unveiling of a monument by renowned sculptor Aleš Veselý in 2015 instead of the usual gesture of laying a foundation stone. The monument, "Gate to Infinity" features an actual railway track heading into the heavens. 

After many years of unsuccessful attempts at negotiating with both the Czech state and the City of Prague, the organization has now become a state institution. The Monument of Silence will show the fates of the Jewish population of Prague during the Second World War.

The main activity of the monument focuses not just on documenting the Nazi transports from the Bubny railway station to the concentration and extermination camps and the Czech Jews' other fates, but also documenting the cultural changes as a consequence of this history that became irreversible in Prague. In the coming years, the building of the Prague-Bubny railway station will be reconstructed to serve as a Holocaust memorial.

The property and surrounding land are owned by the Railway Administration of the state. The real estate is largely unnecessary to the future operations of railway transport and the project can therefore be realized there without restricting any future urban development in Prague.

According to information previously released, the Culture Ministry has provided about CZK 5.6 million [EUR 230 000] for the memorial's preparation and about CZK 10 million [EUR 410 000] are expected to be spent on other parts of the project.

The ministry also set aside CZK 50 million [EUR 2 million] to create an exhibition for the memorial that will be permanently on view. Expenditures for the building's completion and repair were estimated by authorities to cost up to CZK 200 million [EUR 8 million].

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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