Exhibitions, concerts or train journeys to commemorate anniversary

31. října 2019 14:23, aktualizováno 14:31, Milada Soukupová

On the occasion of the 30 years since November 1989, the Pilsen Region has prepared a number of events, some of which were held earlier this year; however, the main ones start in October and continue until the end of this year. These events will commemorate not only the November 1989 revolution in Czechoslovakia, but also the fall of the Iron Curtain, which was particularly important in the Pilsen Region.

"Last year we remembered 100 years since the Czech nation gained freedom after many years of efforts and created a democratic state together with the Slovaks. Unfortunately, in the 20th century we lost our freedom twice due to totalitarian regimes. Thus it is important to remember the events of November and December 1989, when we regained freedom," says President of the Pilsen Region Josef Bernard, who, through organized events, also calls for general mobilization of civil society so that we do not lose our freedom again.

Back in 1989, the Communist regime presented the then West Bohemian Region as a "solid barrier of socialism and peace", which included the so-called Iron Curtain, a proclaimed impermeable state border with the then West Germany. In December 1989, the Iron Curtain along with the “solid barrier” collapsed and we have been able to travel freely not only to our German neighbours since then. Therefore, a number of events commemorating this historic moment have been prepared.


Events prepared for the 30th anniversary of November 1989 events


"November 1989 in Pilsen or Leaves and Communists Fall in Autumn" Exhibition

October 18, 2019 - January 12, 2020, opening on October 17, 2019 at 5 p.m.

• West Bohemian Museum in Pilsen, main building, Kopeckého sady 2, Pilsen

 “The exhibition entitled 'November 1989 or Leaves and Communists Fall in Autumn' will take us to the last phase of the normalization period of Czechoslovakia, which culminated in the fall of the Communist regime on 17 November 1989. The exhibition will focus primarily on the Pilsen Region and through period artefacts, documents, posters and photography will remind us not only of life in real socialism, but also of its revolutionary finish. An interesting feature of the exhibition concept is the fact that direct participants of the November Revolution in Pilsen will be involved in its design,” says exhibition curator Iva Tománková.

A happening called "A máte to polepený!" which took place at 42 Americká Street, Pilsen, on October 16, 2019, was prepared as one of the accompanying programs to the exhibition. As part of the happening, the building of the former Regional Office of the Communist Party at 42 American was covered with copies of period posters and leaflets, like the students of Pilsen colleges did thirty years ago. The copies were made by current students of High School of Trade, Applied Art and Design, Nerudova 33, Pilsen, and of High School of Technology and Art and Art School Zámeček s.r.o. Former students of the Faculty of Medicine promised to take part in the event, as sticking posters was their initiative during the Velvet Revolution. It was a meeting of the young generation with the eyewitnesses of the breakthrough events of the end of the 20th century and the interconnection of two different views of freedom and the pre-revolutionary period. The event was drafted as an invitation to the exhibition in the West Bohemian Museum in Pilsen, Kopeckého sady 2, Pilsen, entitled “November 1989 in Pilsen, or Leaves and Communists Fall in Autumn” , which aims to remind Pilseners in advance of the November days when the history of our country changed.

As an accompanying program to this exhibition, the West Bohemian Museum in Pilsen in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library (VHL) and Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art, University of West Bohemia, Pilsen, have prepared an educational program "FREE GENERATION" aimed at elementary and high school students. The educational and experiential program “FREE GENERATION” reflects the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. The interdisciplinary program emphasizes critical thinking, independent artistic and literary expression and creative use of acquired cultural and historical knowledge. The inspiration source of the program is Václav Havel’s book Anticodes.

The outcome of the program will be, besides the educational experience, a hand-bound book of messages of FREE GENERATION, compiled from sheets created by pupils at the workshop. The book will be handed over to the Václav Havel Library. Guided tours of the exhibition will also take place.



  • Republic Square in Pilsen, 21 October - 26 October 2019
  • Prepared by the Pilsen Region and the City of Pilsen

Ceremonial opening of the unique educational project “TOTALITARIANISM – A Multimedia Guide to Czechoslovakia 1948–1989 in Pilsen”.

With the help of modern technologies and through emotional experience, the authors of the TOTALITARIANISM project wanted to draw the viewer into the reality of totalitarian Czechoslovakia and the breakthrough year of 1989, and thus let them experience the atmosphere of the period. From October 21 to October 26, 2019, a large projection dome was built in the Republic Square, Pilsen, complemented by large-scale information panels. While the twenty-minute projection in the dome provided viewers with an emotional experience, the interactive panels located around the dome provided the necessary facts and historical context. The installation was free of charge from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Video of the project in Brno and České Budějovice found here.


“Bands with a Story” concert

  • Republic Square 25 October, 2019, 6 p.m.

The concert was a gift to all the inhabitants of the region on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the 1989 events. Music was also an important phenomenon at that time and we do not even realize that we now have the opportunity to go to any concert without being prosecuted or punished as it used to be in former Czechoslovakia. The performers Míša Leicht and his band COP, Jiří Dědeček, and folk group Spiritual Quintet played, among others, songs that we could hear in public shortly after the fall of totalitarianism.



“#Letusnotforget” Exhibition

  • Republic Square 28 October – 28 November, 2019

POST BELLUM, a non-profit organization, comes with a nationwide campaign #Letusnotforget. In the Pilsen Region it takes the form of several exhibitions, a film, a special program and a number of activities for children. On 17 November at 17:11, the bells will toll across the country.

An exhibition composed of the memories of thirty-eight witnesses will be held in Pilsen from 28 October to 28 November. “This is a cross-section of the 20th century in Czechoslovakia; we tell its journey from democracy to democracy. You will find here the story of the expulsion of the Czechs from the Sudetenland in 1938, the Jews during the war, the post-war destruction of the Bohemian Forest, the liberation by the Americans, the currency reform, the fates of Scouts or believers under socialism, or the stories of athletes and emigrants,” says Markéta Čekanová, director of POST BELLUM Regional Office. Thirteen stories then relate directly to 1989 in our region. Other exhibitions were made for Přeštice, Planá and Domažlice. Sušice will have a short film based on the memories of local eyewitnesses of 1989.

Pupils of elementary and secondary schools also joined the #Letusnotforget project through Our Neighbours’ Stories. They found interesting witnesses in their surroundings, made interviews with them and processed their stories into public presentations. Another activity for children was a suburban camp in Pilsen held during the autumn holidays and dedicated to the events in Pilsen in 1953.




"Vaňkovky" – JK Tyl Theatre actors read from the book Starring Ferdinand Vaněk

• 2019 DEPO2015, Pilsen, 4 November: for secondary schools and grammar schools at 11:00, for the public at 7 p.m.

• Stálá divadelní scéna Klatovy, 11 November 2019: for secondary schools and grammar schools at 8 a.m., for public at 7:30 p.m.

The character of Ferdinand Vaněk was created in 1975 by Václav Havel in his one-act play “Audience”. However, this character also appeared in other plays by authors banned until 1989, namely Pavel Kohout, Pavel Landovský and Jiří Dienstbier.

Stage reading will take place not only in Pilsen, but also in the contributory organization of the Pilsen Region - Stálá divadelní scéna Klatovy, which, like DEPO2015, has prepared special performances for secondary and grammar school students.



"With Ode to Joy" Concert

  • Měšťanská beseda, 7 November 2019 7 p. m.

On the occasion of the November 1989 events in which the Communist regime fell in Czechoslovakia, the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra has prepared a gala performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" with Ode to Joy, and the Unanswered Question, S. 50 by American composer Charles Ives.


Ceremonial handover of commemorative certificate and Honorary Plaque of the President of the Pilsen Region for courageous civic attitudes

  • Měšťanská beseda, Pilsen, 15 November 2019 3 p.m.

In 2017, President of the Pilsen Region Josef Bernard awarded honorary plaques for brave civic attitudes for the first time. Eleven personalities: Jiřina Fuchsová, Vladimír Líbal, Jiří Světlík, Miroslav Svoboda, Stanislav Šmic + Jaroslav Cuhra, Josef Kaše, Jan Rampich, František Wiendl and Patrik Štěpánek IN MEMORIAM received a plaque depicting Jan Palach and reminding of the importance of fighting for freedom and not being indifferent. This year's award will be given to other personalities. These people may not be publicly known, but they acted courageously and straightforward when fighting for freedom and dignity. They are inspirational heroes and deserve our respect.


Programs prepared for the 30th anniversary of the Iron Curtain fall


To the border by nostalgia train

  • 9 November 2019 (departure from Pilsen Central Station at 8:12 a.m., back at 2:50 p.m.; Železná Ruda / Bayerisch Eisenstein border crossing

The event is organized by the Pilsen Region and České dráhy a. s. in cooperation with Bavarian partners

The Pilsen Region has prepared a special train for public from Pilsen to Bayerisch Eisenstein, consisting of period carriages pulled by the original locomotive Brejlovec. Original tickets will be sold and a period conductor will be present on the train. If the passenger fulfils the duty that every citizen of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic had when crossing the border, they will receive a small gift. A rich program such as free entrance to museums, musical performances and craft demonstrations will be prepared in Bayerisch Eisenstein. At the same time, a symbolic reminder of the fall of the Iron Curtain will be held, in which all the present people will be involved. Last but not least, the visitors may walk along the Iron Curtain's Secret Defence Nature Trail and jump on the return train in Železná Ruda.

Tickets can be purchased at the international ticket office of the Central Railway Station in Pilsen from 7 October 2019 for CZK 200. The ticket price includes a special exit pass, a rich cultural program and access to selected museums in Železná Ruda and Bayerisch Eisenstein. Travel documents, passport and customs control will be held on the train - smuggling goods at your own risk! The program at the border crossing is also accessible without the train ticket.


Cutting the "Iron Curtain" in Železná

• 23 November 2019 on the premises of the former Border Guards military company in the village of Železná

The event is organized by the Pilsen Region and Bělá nad Radbuzou in cooperation with the Protected Landscape Area Český les

An important part of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia was close guarding of the border with West Germany. Many people think that barbed wires ran right on the state border, which is a mistake. On the other hand, they do not know what the “signal wall” was. The event is planned for people who want to know what the life of the border guards on the western border was like, or to see the places of extinct villages and the premises of the former military company at Železná, where they can learn about life of border guards. A guided tour along the former state border and to extinct villages will follow.


9 – 10 a.m.: tour of the former military company at Železná and visiting installed exhibitions

10 – 12 a.m.: a guided walk to Pleš with the Protected Landscape Area employee aimed at nature protection (15km walk there and back)

11:30 a.m.: Departure of the bus from the seat of the  Pilsen Region (Škroupova St. 18, Pilsen) to Železná. The journey will include an expert commentary on guarding the border and the “Iron Curtain”. Orders by email at pokladna@belanr.cz; discounted fare - return ticket for CZK 100.

1 – 2 p.m.:Opening ceremony, a short speech about the Iron Curtain and its fall in 1989, a guided tour to the former military company at Železná and visit to exhibitions "When the Iron Curtain Fell" and "Wired End of the World..."; catering provided.

2:00 p.m.: Departure of the bus from Železná to Pleš with a guide, explanation of the system of "covering" at the border and life in the border zone until 1989 during the journey, followed by a commented tour of Pleš explaining the history of the place and the demise of the village.

5:00 p.m.: return to Železná, end of program, departure to Pilsen

The premises of the former military company in Železná will be also open on 30 November and 7 December 2019, from 1 to 4 p.m. A guided tour and visit to exhibitions "When the Iron Curtain Fell" and "Wired End of the World ..." provided.