Meeting Brno 2016
The Year of Reconciliation was a broadly conceived project held in Brno in 2015 to commemorate the city’s erstwhile Jewish, Roma and German populations. The year-long programme, in which about 30 cultural organisations from Brno and South Moravia held more than 80 events, appealed to several tens of thousands of visitors and was warmly received across Central Europe. One of the highlights of the Year of Reconciliation was the Pilgrimage of Reconciliation, held to remember the victims of what came to be known as the Brno Death March of 30 May 1945.
In 2015, in a symbolic gesture of reconciliation, those taking part in the Pilgrimage walked the route in the opposite direction of the Death March, from the mass grave in Pohořelice to the centre of Brno, where Mayor Petr Vokřál presented a Declaration of Reconciliation and Shared Future. This was historically the first official document adopted by the Brno Assembly (the local authority) that addressed the expulsion of Brno’s German population. It declared not just regret for the tragedies caused by the war, but also the belief that – having taken our lessons from history – we would not allow them to be repeated.
In support of this notion, in 2016 we staged a new festival, MEETING BRNO, for the first time to develop the ideas and the fruits of the Year of Reconciliation. Its main topic was Homes Lost and Found, a thorny issue in Central Europe after World War II and indeed still today. Bearing in mind our joint responsibility for its resolution, Meeting Brno offers a platform for discussion and cultural activities, on which we can remind ourselves of the past, attempt to define the present, and together seek a positive future.
Reconciliation march in 2016