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Exhibition in Prague shows history of communism

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Prague, Nov 7 (CTK) – An open-air exhibition Communism and its Era will start in Prague’s Vaclav Havel Square as of Wednesday, prepared by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR) in cooperation with the German Historical Museum and its foundation for the study of dictatorships.

The exhibition, marking the centenary of the Bolshevik revolution’s outburst in Russia, shows the history of communism from the beginning to its current forms in countries such as China, the organisers said.

“Communism was the only movement in modern history to kill more of its leaders, functionaries and supporters than its enemies killed,” the USTR writes in documents presenting the exhibition, whose author is German historian and journalist Gerd Koenen and which has arrived in Prague from Germany.

It presents 200 photos and documents on 24 boards, which highlight the history of communism worldwide, not only in the Czech Lands or Europe.

Czech organiser Ondrej Matejka told CTK that Koenen was originally a leftist activist in West Germany, who eventually turned into a sharp critic of communism, wondering about what helped and somewhere still helps communism attract its fans.

The documents gathered by Koenen show the story of communism from its very roots, including its penetration in Asia where its role became different from the role it played in Europe.

“In Russia and China, it became a basis for the resurrection of ancient empires that had fallen apart and could be put together again thanks to communism,” Matejka said.

The European history of communism is documented by the examples of countries such as Czechoslovakia, Germany, Poland and Hungary.

“The story of the Czech experience with communist dictatorship is a part of a broader story,” Matejka said.

The exhibition, to be opened by USTR director Zdenek Hazdra and Senate deputy chairman Jiri Sestak at the square adjacent to the National Theatre building on Wednesday afternoon, will run through November 28.

The USTR plans to subsequently present it at other places in Prague.

On the Bolshevik revolution anniversary, the USTR historians, in cooperation with Czech Television, have prepared a book on Czechoslovaks who were bothersome to the Soviet totalitarian regime and ended in Russian gulags. The book will be officially presented on November 23.

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