The Embassy of the Czech Republic, in partnership with the Embassy of Austria and the Honorary Consulates of Austria and the Czech Republic in Timisoara will celebrate together, on October 31, 2014, the National Days of the two countries at the Timisoara Bastion, on 4th Martin Luther Street, starting at 6:30 PM.
The celebration will feature performances by folklore ensembles of the Czech and the German minorities, who moved to the Romanian region of Banat during the time of the Habsburg monarchy. Moreover, two exhibitions will be organized to commemorate 100 years since the start of WWI. The event will be attended by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic, Jiří Šitler, by the Austrian Ambassador Gerhard Reiweger and by the Honorary Consuls of both countries in Timisoara, respectively Stefan Motec and Vasile Onofrei. In their press release, all parties expressed their gratitude to the bank BCR, who provided support for the event.
The exhibition “Art in the Ditches of World War I”, organized by the Military History Institute in Prague consists of 24 panels and illustrates the reaction of Czech visual artists to the beginning of WWI, to the news coming from the battle fields or to their own experience on the military front. The exhibition includes works signed by the internationally famous Czech artist Frantisek Kupka ans by other well-known Czech painters. It is worth mentioning, by example, the series of works by the artist Josef Vachal, consisting of seven coloured wood engravings that evoke in an unmistakable manner the terrifying moments of war seen by the author as a creation of the devil. An independent part of the exhibition consists of the caricatures and amateur drawings that are equally impressing, collected from the soldiers’ daily journals during the war. The exhibition may be visited by the public during November 1 – 15 at the “Eugen Todoran” Central University Library, located on 4thA Vasile Parvan Boulevard.
The travelling exhibition “The Year 1914 – The Rest(lessness) Before the Storm-100 years from the start of WWI” ( Anul 1914-(Ne)linistea Dinaintea Furtunii-100 de ani de la izbucnirea primului Razboi Mondial) also commemorates one hundred years since the beginning of WWI and illustrates Austria’s social and cultural context a century ago. The years that preceded WWI are often described as a calm period before the storm. Contrary to this cliché, though, Austria was passing through an effervescent period, and life in all its aspects was headed towards modernity: feminism was gaining power, Sigmund Freud was researching the subconscious, music was abandoning the fundaments of harmony and the art of painting was freeing itself increasingly from concreteness.
The texts and the selections of images are signed by the art historian Stefan Kutzenberger from the Leopold Museum in Vienna. The exhibition organized in Romania is supported by Austria’s Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, and was presented in Arad and Timisoara; its official closing will be part of the event dedicated to the National Days of Austria and the Czech Republic in Timisoara.
Jiří Šitler, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Bucharest declared regarding these festivities: “In Banat, Romanians, Czechs and Austrians are strongly connected by common history. Joint celebration, in genuine European spirits, is very natural to us. These exhibitions are destined to remind us of all victims of WWI, regardless of whose side they fought for. Czech, Austrian and Romanian soldiers, whose sufferings were illustrated here, fought both for the Triple Entente and the Austro-Hungarian army.”
Austrian Ambassador Gerhard Reiweger outlined that “Major cultural achievements of the 1900 period, considered as the beginning of the modern age in Austria, were considered a result of cultural diversity during the Double Monarchy that included countries and regions from Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. After the disasters of two World Wars, reunited today in a new Europe, we wish, by organizing a joint celebration of our National Days with our Czech friends, to place what unites us above what divides us and to emphasize the value of our common cultural roots”.