FIRST PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF THE BELL #9801
28. AUGUST 2022, 16–22 H
ČAPADLO, SMETANOVO NÁBŘEŽÍ 6, PRAHA 1
Fundraising for the Bell #9801 and other bells is still in progress. Thank you for your participation.
During World War II 9801 bells were taken from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and melted down to make weapons. Ninety percent of the bells disappeared from the steeples of churches and town hall towers. The order that initiated the requisitions was issued on November 26th 1941 and the bells were collected and taken away in the summer of the following year.
Our aim is to create a bell in commemoration of this cultural loss. The thousands of silenced voices will be restored in one living and powerful voice. For each bell destroyed, one kilogram will be put into the new bell, weighing a total of 9801 kg. It will stand on the site from which the requisitioned bells were taken away.
The bell has been part of our culture since the early Middle Ages to the present day. It serves as more than just a signal, but also plays a social role. One of the most famous symbols of the western world is The Liberty Bell. A great many important events from our history, as well as numerous fates, are associated with bells. The wartime requisitions therefore represent the devastation not only of these bells, but also of society and human bonds.
We consider it important to try to create something that will reach out to people, that is not virtual but tangible. We want to say that despite all the hate and rage on social media, we are still capable of speaking and creating. We want to rework a piece of virtual artillery fire to make a beautiful thing that will bring people together.
The bells were requisitioned during the First World War, and also later during World War II. Shortly after the First World War most of the destroyed bells were replaced with new ones, thanks to the incredible efforts of our ancestors. During that difficult time of the nascent state, they succeeded in fully replacing almost everything lost in the war. We also want to commemorate this honourable achievement. However, unfortunately this accomplishment was not repeated after World War II. As communism emerged, it welcomed this rupturing of social bonds.
We are convinced that the voice of Bell #9801 will motivate people not to forget or give up on what holds us together. Bell #9801 will be more than just a memento, a memorial, or a work of art. After it is installed, we want it to serve as the basis for a long-lasting fundraising scheme, with the proceeds going towards funding the return of other bells that have disappeared.
Ondřej Boháč, geographer, bell-ringer, chairman of Sanctus Castulus
Marek Vocel, producer
Radek Lunga, campanologist
Josef Pleskot, architekt
Jiří Padevět, writer
Janek Rubeš, documentarist
Kryštof Čižinský, bell-ringer
Jan Lukačevič, cosmic engineer, bell-ringer
Štěpán Valenta, bell-ringer
Tomáš Lapáček, political scientist, bell-ringer
Leoš Válka, gallery director
Jana Tomas Sedláčková, manager
Jan Mikulka, documentarist
Aleš Berný, journalist
Barbora Musilová, designer
“The requisition order of 1942, which left the Czech towers empty and silent (which, besides obtaining metal, was the other hidden purpose), is not something that can be taken back. However, it is something that can be appropriately commemorated, with a positive outlook and idea for the future.
Thanks are due to Ondřej and his colleagues for this. And thanks are also due to everyone else for whatever support, assistance and cooperation they have shown.”
Radek Lunga, conservationist, historian, publishing editor, campanologist.