The public benefit company, established at the end of 2012, continued, in May 2021, as a state organization established by the Ministry of Culture. It took over the original company’s project development, programme and concept of educational programmes. It also continued in and expanded on partnerships with memorial institutions that communicate the Shoah theme – such as the Terezín Initiative, the Jewish Museum in Prague, the Terezín Memorial, the Foundation for Holocaust Victims, Post Bellum, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and others. The main partner in the development of the Memorial of Silence continues to be the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art.
In October 2021, a new contract was signed with the Správa železnic authority (railway administration) on a 99-year loan of the Bubny railway station for the joint cultural project: MONUMENT OF SILENCE.
Prague does not have an active memorial to the stories of the Shoah. Bubny Station is a place that is to offer modern education and public dialogue about the past in the parallels of events that cannot be passively observed. Neither before, nor today. The silence of the silent majority is the warning motif that gave rise to the name MEMORIAL OF SILENCE.
The Memorial of Silence
During the Second World War, Bubny Station was the departure point for transports carrying tens of thousands of Prague’s Jewish inhabitants to the Nazi ghettoes, concentration camps, and extermination camps. After the liberation, the station saw the expulsion of its German population. This stigmatized place will now become a memorial with a modern exhibition commemorating the complex history of the 20th century, and also a space for discussion and critical reflection of the recent past.
The idea began to be born in 2012 when the project team unveiled Aleš Veselý’s sculpture GATE OF INFINITY in front of the station on 2 March 2015.
The sculpture has become a memento of a place on the border between the metropolis and Prague’s largest brownfield.
On 16 October of the same year, the voice of a large rhythmic orchestra was heard for the first time at the sculpture, symbolizing Jacob’s ladder, during the Drumming for Bubny event. The remembrance of the first Jewish transport dispatched from Prague, coupled with the suppressing of the silence of passive observing, became a tradition.
One of the most powerful messages of the Memorial of Silence is the “SHOAH INSIDE US ALL” theme.
… We are all heirs to a common past. By twist of fate, some of us carry, in our family history, the legacy of the victims, while others the legacy of the organizers of the Final Solution, and most others are heirs to the fate of the onlooking bystanders.
… Everything is a stigma. Together, we inhabit a city that has changed its cultural identity by the mass liquidation of part of its population. Stereotypes motivating xenophobia and racial hatred are ever present in today’s world. They change their features, their language and the generations of the actors. The key to identifying them is to understand the past.