We Did Not Give Up

From World War II to the Velvet Revolution, this outdoor exhibition offers first-hand accounts of some of Czech history's most important and traumatic events

The outdoor exhibition We Did Not Give Up: Stories of the 20th Century (My jsme to nevzdali aneb Příběhy 20. století) presents the stories of people who experienced the most important events in recent Czech history, such as the war, the rise of Communism, and the Velvet Revolution fall of the Iron Curtain.

It presents these stories through texts and photographs located at 12 different points around the city, on a route beginning at Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) and ending on Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí).

All the information is presented in both Czech and English.

You'll find the first three displays on Hradčanské náměstí, by the main entrance to Prague Castle.

The first display deals with World War II and anti-Nazi resistance, the second with the Holocaust, and the third with gulags (labor camps). This section of the exhibition covers one of the saddest phases in Czech history, telling the story through the testimonies of the people who had to endure it. As well as words and pictures, one of the railway wagons that transported people to the concentration camps is also on display.

Next, you come to Klárov, between the Mánesův most bridge and the Malostranská metro station, where there's information on Czechoslovakia in the 1950s.

By this time, the Communist party had taken control of the country and begun to exert its influence on political, economic and social life. As well as period photos and the testimonies of people who suffered under the regime, there's also a reconstruction of one of the watchtowers used to prevent Czech citizens crossing the border.

Over the bridge, you'll come across a section of the exhibition entitled From Spring to Spring 1968-1969 where, thanks to the photos and personal accounts on display, you'll learn more about how the Czech people began to push for greater freedom.

Alternatively, you can head along the river to Kampa park, where you'll find displays dedicated to Dissent and Charter 77 and on the period of "normalization" following 1969's Soviet invasion.

Charter 77 was a manifesto in a West German newspaper, signed by 243 Czechoslovak citizens representing various occupations, political viewpoints and religions, which, by the mid-1980s, had been signed by 1,200 people. Charter 77 criticized the government for failing to implement the various human rights provisions it had signed up to.

Crossing the park, you find a display dedicated to minorities, and to the conflicts caused by a multicultural and multiethnic society.

At the Národní divadlo (National Theatre), on the other side of the Most Legií bridge, there's a display entitled Theatre and Revolution. This section is a little different, with, instead of the testimonies of people who lived through a particular period, stories of different theatres and theatre companies at the time of the revolution.

A short walk across Národní třída, Jungmannovo náměstí is home to a part of the exhibition called November 1989 as Seen by the British Embassy. This includes a report written by British diplomats demanding the removal of the members of the Communist Party's central committee responsible for the police intervention on Národní.

Finally, we reach Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí) and the final two parts of the exhibition.

The first, The Security Forces and November 1989, describes how the police and the other security forces played an important role in the Velvet Revolution. The other, Demonstrations in 1989, gives a quick overview of the mass protests that played such an important role in removing the Communists from power.

• The exhibition runs until November 23, 2009

Paměť národa/Memory of Nation

Video on YouTube

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