13:00 Cloister at the Church of Our Lady of the Snow, Prague 1, Jungmannovo nám.
Opening of the exhibition project Ways to Freedom
Exhibition It Will Never Be Easy for T.G.M.. Exhibition Stories of 20th Century. Set of exhibitions The Iron Curtain Inside of Us. Exhibition Ways to Freedom. Presentation of the topic related publications. Awarding the art competition winners.
18:00 Municipal Library, Prague 1, Mariánské nám.
Opening of the exhibition Mene Tekel in photographs
19:00 Ceremonial Opening of the Mene Tekel 2020 festival
Edward Einhorn is a playwright, director, translator, librettist, and novelist. He is the Artistic Director of Untitled Theater Company #61: A Theater of Ideas, which has been performing in New York City for 25 years.
Some notable projects have been The Václav Havel Festival, a festival of all of Havel’s work, which he curated in 2006 with Havel in attendance, performed at The New Ohio, The Brick Theatre, and Columbia University; the 2009 Festival of Jewish Theater and Conference, at the Center for Jewish History and venues throughout New York; Cabaret in Captivity, songs and sketches from Terezin, performed at Pangea Cabaret, The York Theatre, the Czech Embassy in Washington, DC, the York Theatre, and Goodenough College in London; The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein, which received at Critics Pick from The New York Times in 2017 for its production at HERE Art Center and will be opening at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London this May; The Pig, or Václav Havel’s Hunt for a Pig, adapted from the work by Václav Havel and Vladimír Morávek, performed at 3 Legged Dog in 2015 and also a New York Times Critics Pick (as well as in The Village Voice); The God Projekt, which played at La MaMa Theatre in 2016 and was a Critic’s Pick for Time Out New York; Rudolf II, an original play about the emperor in Prague which played at the Bohemian National Hall in 2010; and The Velvet Oratorio, an opera-theater production following Havel’s character Vaněk through the Velvet Revolution, which played in 2009 at Lincoln Center’s Walter Bruno Theatre and in 2014 at the Bohemian National Hall. /more information inside/
The international project MENE TEKEL is a non-commercial multidisciplinary festival with the aim to commemorate historical milestones not only of the Czech Republic but also of other states of Europe with the overlap to parts of the world where the fundamental human rights are violated.
The project, in cooperation with professional and memory institutions, provides evidence of the illegality of totalitarian regimes. It focuses mainly on recalling the legacy of the victims of Nazism and Communism.
Each year during the festival week, about twenty genre-wide events address viewers across the generational, interest and social spectrum.
The authors of the project Daniela Řeřichova and Jan Řeřicha, in respect for the legacy of political prisoners created an open platform for authentic testimonies, artistic reflection, and expert analysis of the Communist dictatorship era as well as the consequences of the Nazi
In 2007, the first year of the festival took place in Prague. The title MENE TEKEL refers to the Bible and prophecy about the responsibility of each persons' responsibility for their actions.
The main cooperating institutions include Charles University, the Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism Regimes, the Ministery of Culture, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and National Archives. Every year a number of erudite institutions or civic initiatives participate in the program composition, reflecting the aim of the project, which is considered to be unique in the European context.
Annually the MENE TEKEL festival takes place during the week around the historical date of February 25, when the Communist Party took over in Czechoslovakia in 1948. After the state coup the parliamentary democratic system was liquidated and Czechoslovakia got into a factual connection to the Soviet bloc. The period of forty years of fear, political trials, persecution of civil associations, churches and peasants, as well as the moral devastation of the whole society had started.
The activities of the MENE TEKEL project are in a continuous yearlong cooperation with the main guarantors, above all with witnesses, who provide authentic testimonies of times of non-freedom.
The culmination of the year-long activities of the Art Without Barriers association, which is the organizer of the MENE TEKEL project is a one-week program consisting of exhibitions, documentary and feature film screening, theatre concerts, theater performances, literary music programs, thematic book presentations, interactive programs for
schools, conferences and discussions.
The theater of fact represents a completely unique theatre format created by director Jan Řeřicha, annually for 12 years, in close cooperation of the Mene Tekel and the Law School of Charles University. Public presentation of the special academic seminar introduced by students acting in a live reconstruction of one of the political trials took place directly
in the High Court in Prague at Pankrác, in the authentic interior where in the 1950s
two hundred sentences of the death penalty were passed. This original format of a scientific seminar, held by Jan Kuklík the Dean of a Law School of Charles University, was introduced also in other places of the Czech Republic, eg in the town of Litomyšl and
as a foreign partner at the Festival of Freedom in Bratislava.
The recognition of artists with a significant share in the development of spiritual, ethical and cultural values with respect to their brave personal attitudes and life stories in times of non-freedom has become an extraordinary society-wide issue.
Celebrities with unquestionable moral credit and extraordinary creative overlap represent broad creative and period spectrum: sculptors Olbram Zoubek, Otmar Oliva and Jiří Sozanský, writers Jiří Stransky, Zora Dvorakova, Jachym Topol, painters Josef Capek, Bohuslav Reynek, sisters Valova, actors Karel Hasler, Anna Letenska, Jirina Stepnickova, singer Marta Kubisova, spiritual representatives Svatopluk Karasek, Václav Malý, political prisoners and artists Růžena Vacková, Božena Kuklová and Dagmar Šimková,
harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková, conductor Libor Pešek, jazz virtuoso Ed Vokurka, journalists Pavel Tigrid and Karel Pecka.
Until now, sixty honorable personalities have already received their honorary awards. Those who neither in civic life nor in artistic creation ever violated the highest moral ethos.
Each year of the festival has its own specific theme, which resonates with the social climate. The George Orwell's Memento is the theme of the 2020 year.
The guarantors of the project are, among others, professors of the Charles University, historians from the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, National Archives, National Film Archives, Military History Institute Prague and many important personalities. The quality assurance is represented by continuous cooperation with the City of Prague,
the Ministery of Culture, the Education, Youth and Sports Ministery, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Archbishopric of Prague, the Ecumenical Council of Churches or the Jewish Community in Prague. Foreign partners such as the Institute for the Memory of the Nation in Bratislava, the Federal Foundation for the Study of Totalitarianism in Berlin, and
embassies of the participating states. The Mene Tekel festival has been successfully cooperating with the Nation's Memory Institute in Bratislava for many years and on a regular basis brings life stories of Slovak cultural and social life personalities, since historically they are an integral part of the recent Czech history.
For the past thirteen years, Mene Tekel's guests have been internationally renowned, such as Tomor Aliko, Albanian playwright and political prisoner, Jure Knezovič, director of the International Former Political Prisoners Association, Andrija Vučemil, Croatian poet and political prisoner, Gary Powers, director of the Cold War Museum in the USA. Internationally acclaimed documentary filmmakers such as Marcus Kolga from Estonia, Jacek Petrycki from Poland, Oles Janchuk from Ukraine, film directors Dzintra Geka from Latvia, Anita Lackenberger from Austria, independent photographer Simon Frey from Switzerland, screenwriter Zuzana Hahn from Canada, director Anna Kaminsky and composer Uwe Steinmetz from Germany, Canadian lawyer and human rights activist David Kilgour, English writer Ethan Gutmann, Israeli documentarist Joshua Faudem, Chinese prisoner of conscience Mrs. Lu Shping and Yu Minghui, film directors Gerhard Mader from Austria, Marcus Pieper from Germany and many others.
Dozens of personalities and artists have been active in MENE TEKEL programs.
Among others: PhDr.Ing.Jan Royt, PhD., Vice-Rector of Charles University, JUDr. Jan Kuklik, DrSc., Dean of the Law School of the Charles University, Jiří Stránský, writer and political prisoner, Doc.Milan Uhde, playwright, Prof.Doc.Vladimír Just, Prof.Doc. Milan Stehlík, Pavel Žáček, historian, Petr Blažek, historian, PhDr. Jan Lukeš, journalist, Vladimír Kučera, journalist and Czech Television editor, Václav Hudeček, violin virtuoso, Jaroslav Svěcený, violin virtuoso, Štěpán Rak, guitar virtuoso, Vladimír Kokolia, artist and pedagogue Academy of Arts, Jiří Sozanský, sculptor.
Singers and musicians: Marta Kubisova, priest Svatopluk Karasek, Jana Koubkova, Jaroslav Hutka, Radim Hladik, Filip Topol & Dog Soldiers band. Music bands such as: the Garage and the ECHT !, The PLASTIC PEOPLE Of The UNIVERSE, Padlock, Folimanka Blues, Josef Vejvoda Trio. Actors Gabriela Vranova, Ondrej Kepka, Tomas T'öpfer, Michal Pavlata, Otakar Brousek and many other outstanding artists and personalities of Czech and international scenes.
From the point of view of dramaturgy, the project is annually prepared taking in consideration the needs of schools at all levels. During the past thirteen years of the Mene Tekel festival special morning interactive programs for schools were attended by hundreds of elementary school pupils. There is a great interest among the pupils of elementary art schools in participating in the art competition and presentation of their works create a part of an annual multi-part exhibition project.
By means of the involvement of domestic and foreign initiatives and institutes dealing with human rights issues, the Mene Tekel project actively works on regeneration of spiritual, ethical, aesthetic and cultural social principles and develops personal and social moral intelligence in society.
The project implementers fulfill the mission of the project with the best knowledge of the aims enshrined in the Memorandum on the cooperation in organizing the Mene Tekel international festival against totalitarianism. The Memorandum was solemnly ratified on September 30th 2009 in the Catedral of sts.Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert and it declares the social need of the project, its continuous support and cooperation on its annual implementation. The Memorandum has been concluded by the capital City of Prague, the Confederation of Political Prisoners of the Czech Republic, the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, the Charles University, Inter-ASSO (International Association of Former Political Prisoners and Victims of Communism), authors of the project and the Art Without Barriers association, representing the main project organizer.
Czech Television, as the main media partner, together with the Czech Radio, another significant media partner, are both intensively interested in the program of the Mene Tekel and both on a regular basis bring a number of news and documentary inputs. In addition, Czech Television annually broadcasts and records the closing ceremony of the festival. The ecumenical worship in the Cathedral of Sts. Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert at Prague Castle closes the Mene Tekel festival. Czech Television also provides broadcasting of a public live presentation of the political trial of the 1950s interpreted by students of Law School of Charles University.
During the international festival Mene Tekel the main organizers, festival guests and performers usually provide on average about 80 interviews and based on internet monitoring there are dozens of festival-related interviews and articles presented by numerous media.
The 14th year of the international festival against totalitarianism, evil and violence, for the memory of the nation Mene Tekel 2019 will be held from February 24 till march 1, 2020.
Organized by the civic association Art Without Barriers, the City of Prague, the Confederation of Political Prisoners, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Ministry of Culture.
Czech Television — Center for educational programs, Czech TV — Studio Ostrava, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, The Archive of Security Forces of the Interior Ministry of the Czech Republic, Charles University in Prague, the National Archives, the National Film Archives, the City Library of Prague, Initiative “Legal settlement of the crimes of communism“, Czech Radio, Law Faculty of the Charles University, the Supreme Court Prague, Archbishopric of Prague, Czech Lawyers Association Všehrd, the initiative of political prisoners "politictivezni.cz”, Prague Academic Club 48, Union PTP, Canadian Embassy in CR, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in CR, Embassy of Hungary in CR, Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in CR, Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in CR, Carolinum - Association of Graduates and Friends of Charles University, Czech Technical Battalions Association, Club of Dr. Milada Horáková, Christian Academy Forum in Prague, civic association Orel, Christian Seniors Association, Junák — Scouts Association, Society of Antonín Švehla, civic association Daughters of Fifties, Hotel Duo, Association of Private Agriculture in CR.