Meeting Brno 2019

Now that we have what we wanted

The fourth year of the festival was dedicated to the value of freedom, which we won thirty years ago. We directed our gaze on the period before 1989 and remembered what life was like for the people and groups who did not fit into the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. In interviews with many inspiring personalities, we discussed whether now we really have what we wanted, and we considered our contemporary responsibility in a free state. We also invited guests from other post-communist countries of Central Europe, who expounded on the current social atmosphere in their homelands with a historical experience similar to ours.

Many conflicts are a consequence of misunderstanding, itself stemming from uninterest. And yet, these can be easily prevented by people meeting and listening to each other. For that reason, every year we embark on a Pilgrimage of Reconciliation and remember members of the German-speaking population of Brno who became victims of post-war violence. This year, survivors of the Brno Death March were among those who walked on the Pilgrimage of Reconciliation, sharing with the festival’s visitors their remembrances of life in Brno, the expulsion and the subsequent reception in their new homes. The final meeting of all participants in Mendlovo náměstí was a celebration of friendly Czech-German relations, and marked the thirtieth anniversary of the partnership between the cities of Brno and Stuttgart. As a symbolic component of the Pilgrimage of Reconciliation, we organised a commemoration ceremony in the courtyard of the Kounic halls of residence – infamously used by the Gestapo as a jail and place of execution – for the victims of the years 1939–1945, most of them resistance fighters and Czech patriots. The ceremony was attended by the Brno and Stuttgart mayors and the German ambassador.

Meeting Brno briefly

42 events / 6,000 visitors / 50 volunteers involved / 40 figures participating in discussions / 5 theatrical performances / 7 literary evenings with writers from the former Eastern Bloc / 4 concerts / 3 exhibitions / media responses in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Austria and Italy

Reconciliation March