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Why and how we created this exhibition

Every anniversary is a good opportunity to pause and reflect. This year there are several of them. Here, in this place, we also think it is important to remember the different years that forged the country we live in today. It is also important to recall the years that lead our country into 40 long years of totalitarianism and loss of freedom. The period of communist dictatorship marred or painfully scarred the lives of many of the people around us in ways that we may not even be aware of.

Here we allow witnesses of these events who attend our church to tell the story. We have knitted together a bigger story from these threads. In it, we feel some of the heaviness of the era. Our objective was not to complain about the past or feel sorry for anyone. Instead we want to understand that we all belong in this story. Learning about the past teaches us to take responsibility for the present and for the future. We hope this exhibition will contribute to that lesson.

P. Pavel Pola OCD, Church of the Infant Jesus of Prague

Selection of messages in the visitors`book

June-October 2018

“Bless those who have suffered, and save those who are suffering now. ” M. o. M.

“Proud to be a Czech!!!” Verushka, Alice Springs, Australia

„Powerful display to reming us of the horrors/sadness people experienced. May we all learn from history and not let things like this happen afain to anyone, from any country, any religious persuasion, of any colour, of any sexual orientation – what the world needs now is love.“ Chris, Austrálie

„Thank you all for sharing your stories. People who live in liberal democrasies and enjoy freedoms need to be reminded how others have suffred under oppresive regimes“ Peter, Galway, Ireland

„So moving. terrifying that so many of today` youth and “left wing” politicians think that communism is fine. Thank you for helping to open peoples eyes.“ Gordon, UK

May God protect us from new totalitarism. from Finland

„Now you can talk but we still connot“ From China

“We are grateful with you for your freedom.”

„All Ukrainian people understand your pain and we are with you.“ Ksennia and Niwa from Ukraine

„Forgive us, good people. The hearts of common people from Russia hurt…“

I stand in awe of these people. Such courage, such faith. Brilliant exhibition – we must not forget. Cathleen, UK

„Thank you for the very interesting exhibition. The Czech people have suffered so much. My family had to leave Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania in 1913. I am glad to be back to visit my slavic family.“ Maria, New York, 67 years

„My aunt from Bratislava was visiting US in Aug 68. She swa the invasion on US TV. She couldn`t believe it. We cried when she went back.“ Jack Kozik, Chicago, USA

„A turbulent history. Hopefully a more peaceful future“ Patricia, Ireland

„For free Prague!“ Carlo, Selina and others from Italy

„Communism must fall, free the whole wolrds from the dictatorship. Love and peace for all sisters and brothers, fighting with the regime“ visitor from Ukraine

“Amazing. So much loss. So much hope.” The Sanders Family, Camas Washington, USA

„”Děkujeme!” Always important to remember what a gift it is to live in freedom.“ Anne, Germany

„Very inspirational to read all the life stories! Heartening to note how positive were the remarks at the end of each story: “hopes for the younger generation”. These were people whose hopes (dreams) derailed by Nazism and Communism. Yet, they impart hope to the future generations: forgiveness implied. Also, though, a warning that history repeats itself!!” Barbara and Lynn, Austin, Texas

„A powerful exhibit – Thank you. I will share my pictures nad experience with my students at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. May God have mercy on us all.“ USA

„Please, continue sharing HISTORY with us, the young generation! We need it very much! Good job! Thanks.“ Eleni

Very interesting! The reading of this exhibition taught me a lot. Especially the “Hopes for the today`s young generation. Thank You!”

„Never lose faith in humanity“ Ahmed

„The courage of the people is totally breathtaking. We are “tourists” looking at wonderful architecture and staying in a luxurious hotel. We could have gone home with no real idea of the sufferings and deprivations suffered by a strong proud people. Thank you for this illuminating and important presentation.“ PaJ Coonkes, Devon, UK

“Freedom is not free. All who survived the communist era and share the truth are continuing to share the freedom they earned. Well done.” Burke, VA, USA

“History is our best guide. Errors can be stopped form becoming mistakes if we use our knowledge of history. Amazing stories!” Rani

“I am an American of Slovak heritage. I visited Slovakia in 1968 during the uprising, again 1970, then two years ago, 2016. Much has changed over the years. I am proud of the Czechoslovak people and my heritage. Long live the free Republic of Czech and Slovak. Tom Katus, USA

„Děkuji mnohokrát! Neumím vyjádřit, jak se cítím po přečtení vašich svědectví. Všechno dobré po celý zbytek vašeho života!“

„Thank you for opening my eyes and my heart.“

Created by

Church of the Infant Jesus of Prague, 2018

These people cooperated on the exhibition: Petr Buchta, Hana Říhová, Jana Šamánková


To our nine witnesses for giving us this special glimpse into their life stories.

To M & J Turnbull for English translation

Municipality of Prague 1 for the financial support

Logosign company for printing the panels