Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Last Address project marking communism victims launched in Prague

ČTK |
28 June 2017

Prague, June 27 (CTK) - The first four small commemorative plaques of the Last Address project marking the victims of the Communist regime were unveiled in Prague today.

The plates of the same size as a palm are placed on the houses where the victims lived before being arrested. They include basic personal data, such as names and the dates of birth and death.

The first four remember the lives of Karel Bacilek, Jozef Macej, Slavoj Sadek and Veleslav Wahl.

The project authors say they hope other plates will follow soon. Anyone can initiate them on the project website www.posledniadresa.cz.

The project was founded in Russia in 2014. It is headed by the Last address Fund civic initiative, organised by Russian journalist Sergey Parkhomenko in cooperation with the Memorial Russian NGO.

The Czech version of the project is held under the aegis of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR), the Gulag.cz organisation and the Political Prisoners.cz and the Memorial Czech Republic associations.

The project was inspired by the Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) that were laid in the streets of European towns, including Prague and other Czech towns, in memory of the Holocaust victims.

"We know that there were millions of Nazism and Communism victims. However, we must also realise that there were real people behind these statistics and figures and each of them had his own life," USTR director Zdenek Hazdra said when unveiling the plaque in memory of Wahl on the seat of the Swedish Embassy in Prague.

A "stumbling block" was placed in the pavement outside the embassy two years ago in memory of Wahl's father-in-law Josef Ruzicka who died in the Nazi concentration camp in Mauthausen.

At present, there are some 500 Last Address plates with names on buildings not only in Moscow and St Petersburg, but also at other sites all over Russia and thousands of others are being prepared, Parkhomenko said.

Some of them commemorate Czechs who fell victims to repressions in the Soviet Union.

The first Last Address plates were unveiled Ukraine in May and a Polish version of the project is to be launched soon.

The project was presented in the Czech Republic in 2015 when several plates were to be unveiled in memory of Czechoslovak citizens of Russian origin who were taken by force to Soviet concentration camps after the end of World War Two in 1945 and they never returned to their homes in Czechoslovakia.

However, the owners of the houses where they lived did not give consent to the memorial plates.

The current version of the project primarily focuses on Czech victims of communism.

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