Memorial to the Victims of Communism
The Memorial to the victims of Communism (Czech: Pomník obětem komunismu) is a series of statues in Prague commemorating the victims of the communist era between 1948 and 1989. It is located at the base of Petřín hill, Újezd street in the Malá Strana or the Lesser Town area.
It was unveiled on the 22 May 2002, twelve years after the fall of communism, and is the work of Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek and architects Jan Kerel and Zdeněk Holzel. It was supported by the local council and Confederation of Political Prisoners (KPV).
It shows seven bronze figures descending a flight of stairs. The statues appear more "decayed" the further away they are from you - losing limbs and their bodies breaking open. It symbolises how political prisoners were affected by Communism.
There is also a bronze strip that runs along the centre of the memorial, showing estimated numbers of those impacted by communism:
- 205,486 arrested
- 170,938 forced into exile
- 4,500 died in prison
- 327 shot trying to escape
- 248 executed
The bronze plaque nearby reads:
"The memorial to the victims of communism is dedicated to all victims not only those who were jailed or executed but also those whose lives were ruined by totalitarian despotism"
Prior to the memorial being unveiled, there were reports in the local media about an apparent political row over who should attend the ceremony. President Václav Havel, a leading dissident in the communist era was not invited until the last minute, and then declined to attend.
The memorial has not been universally welcomed, with some artists saying the memorial is kitsch and others critical that female figures were not included. One of the statues was damaged during two bomb blasts in 2003, no group has admitted carrying out the attacks.
- "Memorial to the victims of Communism unveiled in Prague". Radio Prague. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- "Prague monument to Communist victims damaged in explosion". Radio Prague. 2012-01-14. Retrieved 2012-09-18.