Little Mehrin

For a sandwich at Hahn's

We are already working with various Moravian Jewish stories as part of our reflections on the future exhibition of the Mehrin Museum. One such story was heard on Thursday, April 4, 2024, at the Malý Mehrin, where Táňa Klementová had an erudite discussion with Prof. Jiří Hála, the grandson of the Brno delicatessen owners Hahn, who describes himself as belonging to the one and a half generations of memoirists. He was imprisoned in Terezín as a child. He was lucky enough to spend most of his time in the ghetto by his mother's side. He returned home with both parents after the war, which profoundly influenced his own reflection on the Holocaust. He complemented this by reflecting on what his parents and grandparents, exposed to far more difficult situations, had experienced. The narration of the stories of the Hahns and Herschmanns was supplemented by rich pictorial material from the family archive. The topics discussed also touched on the post-war period and Mr. Hála's professional and personal life up to the present day. Thanks for the pleasant company!

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Genealogical research - the journey there and back again

On Monday, March 25th, we invited Julius Müller, founder and current director of Toledot (Hebrew for generation), a center for Jewish genealogy in Prague. He not only lectures but also publishes on the subject of Jewish genealogy, the science that examines the relationships between individuals resulting from their common ancestry. He actively conducts research for those who want to learn more about their ancestors. The lecture brought together those who are interested in the question of searching for background information, especially in the archives, and therefore many specific questions were asked both during the lecture and after its official end.

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Family heirlooms

On Monday, 11 March 2024, two invited ladies - Eva Lustigová, daughter of the writer Arnošt Lustig, who presented a book about her father called Arnošt's Journey, as well as other projects that develop her father's legacy - talked about how to deal with the family heritage that has been handed down to us. The second invitee was Karen Kruger, who lives in the USA, granddaughter of the Türkle family from Brno, who visits schools not only in the USA but also in our country with dozens of letters that have come to her as part of her heritage and is positively surprised how the original letters she lends evoke unexpected emotions in her students. It was the idea of historian Tania Klementová, who expertly moderated the whole discussion, to focus on this topic and invite both women. Thanks to her, there was a mutual and unique harmony between the audience and the speakers, and the two invitees talked with the visitors for a long time afterwards.

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Shoah in Czech Radio play

We have addressed the topic of the Holocaust from many angles in our programmes. Přemysl Hnilička's lecture brought a slightly different perspective, based on artistic audio recordings of Czechoslovak and later Czech Radio and other radio stations, which from the 1960s to the present have broadcast plays by authors such as A. Lustig, D. Fischerová, Z. Rotrekl, M. Uhde, A. Goldflam and others. They were dominated by the voices of O. Scheinpflugová, Z. Štěpánek, R. Hrušínský, E. Cupák, J. Adamíra; in the contemporary ones, V. Javorský, L. Veselý, M. Táborský and J. Plesl. Let us not forget the Brno trace in the form of the voices of D. Hofmanová, L. Lakomý, F. Derfler and J. Grygar. We believe that further searches in the radio archives will reveal possible hidden discoveries, perhaps even a "Moravian Jewish story"...

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Hachshars in Czechoslovakia

On Monday, 26 February 2024, Daniela Bartáková from the Masaryk Institute and the Archives of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic came to present the phenomenon of hachshars - agricultural training centres that began to emerge in Czechoslovakia in the 2Os of the last century - to our visitors. In a very interesting lecture, accompanied by photographs, she focused on the change in the whole concept of hachshars in the context of the approaching war, and the resulting need to evict as many Jewish youth as possible. At the end, there was a lively discussion between the speaker and the visitors, who had many additional questions.

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Brod and us

Under this name, we said on our Facebook page that you can meet journalist Peter Brod, who "knows practically everyone and knows enough about everyone", in other words, he tells engaging stories about his own extended friendship and the people he has met on his colourful life journey.
And this is exactly what the early evening of Tuesday 23 January 2024 offered to those who did not hesitate and filled the premises of the Little Mehrin completely.

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Our houses

In the very first week of the new year 2024, we boldly launched the Our Homes exhibition on 4 January. The new year has shown that visitors are interested in learning about the fate of Brno houses, as dozens of visitors came to Malý Mehrin, so the name of the museum proved justified in this case.
The author of the exhibition Mgr. Táňa Klementová presents to the public the specific story of eight houses that she selected from more than 700 houses in Brno that were arranged by the Eviction Fund. These are accompanied by a large-scale map of Brno, on which all the houses that were "bought out" are marked with coloured dots. There is also a wealth of accompanying photographic and documentary material on the individual houses, as well as documents accompanying the process of the arización itself. After all, come and see for yourself. The exhibition will run until 27 March 2024.

Naše domy 6
Naše domy 5
Naše domy 3
Naše domy 1
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The labyrinth of normalization in us

The topic of normalization anti-Jewish propaganda was the subject of a lecture by Martin Šmok, the author of the exhibition and the book of the same name by the Jewish Museum in Prague - Labyrinth of Normalization. In his rich visual and audiovisual materials, a photograph taken in Brno during the Hanukkah holiday in 1968 appeared for the first time. We are including it with our accompanying images from the event itself, and please, if you recognize anyone in it, be sure to let us know! The photo was provided to us by Judith Herzog.

Labyrint normalizace – chanuka
Labyrint normalizace 1
Labyrint normalizace 2
Labyrint normalizace
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E+I correspondence

Under this familiar-sounding title, a lecture took place on Thursday 14 December, which was tailor-made for the ongoing exhibition of Fred Iltis' photographs. The lecturer Táňa Klementová prepared translations of letters exchanged between Albert Einstein and Hugo Iltis (Fred's dad) across the ocean. She also involved those present in the reading of the letters...

Korespondence E+I 1
Korespondence E+I 2
Korespondence E+I

Israel and Gaza in context

In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we are talking about a conflict that has taken many forms over the past decades, but unfortunately has never lost its potential. Even so, the world was shocked by the brutality and atrocities committed by the terrorists of the Palestinian Hamas movement on 7 October against Israeli citizens on Israeli territory. Strangely enough, even in the part of Europe to which we belong and want to belong, there were large numbers of people who applauded these acts. Such a reaction brings astonishment, indignation, but also many questions that are not easy to answer. That is why we have invited experts who have a lot to say on the matter to the Little Mehrin in Vienna. Political scientist Mgr. Eva Taterová, M.A., Ph.D., who works at the Institute for Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences and lectures at Masaryk University, and Colonel of the General Staff doc. Mgr. Ing. Libor Kutej, Ph.D., who is the Director of the Institute of Intelligence Studies at the University of Defence and a former intelligence officer who served for three years as a military attaché at the Czech Embassy in Israel.
The grateful reactions we received from the participants of the meeting show that this meeting was worthwhile.
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Kosher wine tasting

For the second time this year we repeated on Thursday 26th October a guided tasting of kosher wines from the Austrian winery Hafner. Once again, Mr. Ladislav Polák came from Bratislava to visit us and together with his wife he presented and offered a collection of white and red wines for tasting. This was personally selected and compiled for "our" tasting by the owner of the winery, Mr. Hafner, so that those present had the opportunity to taste samples across the range, including wines offered in a screwcap bottle intended for kiddush. The expert explanation not only about the cultivation, varieties and strict rules in the production of kosher wines captivated the attendees so much that the questions did not stop...


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Nora Lustig – The Destiny between Brno and Norway

On Wednesday, 11 October, a lecture was held at which doc. Miluše Juříčková from Masaryk University presented one of the many fates of Jewish refugees. Nora Lustig was a member of the International League of Women for Peace and Freedom. Although she herself had helped refugees from Germany and Austria, she too was forced to go to Norway through the Nansen Foundation, but this refuge soon became a target of the Nazi occupation.
She was imprisoned, deported and murdered. Her grave can be found in the Brno Jewish cemetery.


Boys from Boskovice

On Wednesday, October 4, our invitation to a talk was accepted by Mrs. Vicky Unwin, granddaughter of the "Moravian Kafka" Hermann Ungar. Her talk was not only about
around her book Boy from Boskovice, in which she comes to terms with her family's "history" of the complex characters of her father Thomas and
Grandpa Hermann. "We invited Mrs. Vicky not only as the granddaughter of an important writer, but as Mrs. Vicky Unwin," said Mehrin, speaking for
Táňa Klementová, and therefore the debate was also about her acceptance of her own Jewish roots and family heritage from Moravia. A recording of the entire discussion can be
see it on our Facebook page.

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Organ in Jewish liturgy

On Thursday, September 21, we were honored by a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Peter, the parents of the current rabbi of Prague. Mrs. Peter had already lectured with us in May of this year, and now she came together with her husband Václav Peter, who is the organist at the Jerusalem Synagogue in Prague and an organist and music therapist. Their talk was mainly about the specific organ of the Jerusalem Synagogue, its maintenance and operation, but above all about the creation of music for this instrument - the title of the lecture Organ in Jewish Liturgy thus completely fulfilled the announced theme.

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Fred Iltis - 100 - South and North of the Border

Under this title we opened the third exhibition in our premises on Tuesday, 19 September 2023...

Fred Iltis was born on April 20, 2023 in Brno. He fled with his family to the United States to escape the Nazis, where after the war he earned a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of California and in the 1960s settled with his wife Julia in San Jose, where he taught in the biology department. He became very sensitive to minority issues and injustices, and began documenting the activities of the civil rights movement through black and white photographs, among other things. He developed, printed and carefully archived his photographs at his home. With a modesty all his own, he refused offers to exhibit them. It was not until 2008 that he accepted a proposal from Daniele Ravenna, who exhibited a set of 40 photographs carefully selected by Fred in Milan in 2009. However, Fred Iltis did not live to see the opening of the exhibition. We are pleased that, thanks to the kind loan of Mr. Ravenna, we can present these photographs in Brno, just 100 years after the birth of their author, who would certainly have enjoyed his return to his hometown.  

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David Placzek in Café Kaprál

David Placzek, who died in Australia in 2008, was present in Brno on 26 June, of course only symbolically, or rather through his book of memoirs. However, he was more than perfectly represented by his niece Rachel Alon-Margalit, who lives in Israel and who was instrumental in getting the book published in English in 2016. Now the book is being published in Czech as the first title of the Mehrin edition, the establishment of which fulfils another of the stated tasks of the project to build the Moravian Jewish Museum Mehrin.
Since there is an exhibition at Vídeňská 14 since last week, which does not allow for a hall arrangement, we moved the "baptism" to the magnificent scenery of Café Kaprál in the city centre and we were delighted by how many people took the time to attend this festive evening. The evening was hosted by Tanya Klementová and Martin Reiner. The book launch was also attended by four
members of the Placzek family from Brno, whose Café Placzek offers excellent coffee and cakes.
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Opening of Werner Malle's exhibition

On Friday 23 June, the opening of the exhibition Traces of Light by the Czech-German sculptor and artist Werner Malle took place at Vídeňská 14. Werner spent six days in Brno with his wife and personally saw both the installation of the exhibition and the erection of the two-ton colossus Restlicht (Residual Light) on Svoboda Square, which commemorates the most difficult period for European Jews between 1938 and 1945. We would like to thank Jozv Hyžný for his significant help in the installation of the exhibition, and Mirka Holasová for the photos from the opening. Special thanks go to Petr Šesták, who came up with the idea of organizing the Werner exhibition in Brno and also connected us with each other. And we would also like to greet our colleagues from the Meeting Brno festival, with whom we worked closely with in handling the logistics of the Restlicht exhibition.

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Jeřábek and Uhde about Milan Kundera

The discussion on Monday, led by PhDr. Mojmír Jeřábek and PhDr. Milan Uhde, was of great interest. The object of their interest was the personality of Milan Kundera. Whoever is interested in what was discussed can listen to the whole lecture on the Facebook page of Malý Mehrin and see the photos of Vít Mádr below...
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Jan Špilar told at a discussion in Malý Mehrin what he is all about...

And those who missed the talk on Tuesday, May 30, and would like to know, can listen to a recording of the talk on our Facebook
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The personality of Dr. Richard Feder will not be forgotten

Wednesday's lecture by psychotherapist and writer Zuzana Peterová struck the hearts of all present. The content of her presentation was the life story of Dr. Richard Feder, who worked in Brno from 1953 until his death in 1970. The atmosphere of the evening is probably best summed up by an observation and a question from one of the visitors at the end. In my eyes, you are carrying on the legacy of Dr. Feder, because you too are giving comfort and hope to those who turn to you! What a simply spoken tribute to both...
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Students at Vienna

It is gratifying for us that the Carriers of Memory exhibition, which will be installed in Vienna until mid-June, has not escaped the attention of educators who are looking for interactive teaching methods for their pupils and students. On Tuesday, 2 May, the exhibition was visited by students from the Brno Gymnasium, tr. Kpt. Jaroše, who were introduced not only to the exhibition itself, but also to the project of creating the Moravian Jewish Museum Mehrin by Martin Reiner. The students then began to listen individually to the testimonies of witnesses and to examine the contemporary documents and documents that are displayed in the exhibition. Some of them then recorded their reflections in the visitors' book...
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The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

The heroic act of a small number of people who were to be included in the last transport and chose to die with their heads held high is relatively well known to the world.
On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the uprising (19 April 1943), we nevertheless invited historian Jiří Friedl to Vienna 14, who spoke very insightfully not only about the uprising, but about the entire history of the ghetto and life in it. Vladimír Krátký, an actor from the National Theatre Brno, read excerpts from the Warsaw Diaries
ghetto, the author of which is none other than Adam Czerniaków, a long-time chairman of the local Jewish community and then of the Judenrat, which took care of the running of the ghetto. Czerniaków's life ends tragically: he poisons himself with cyanide in his office when he discovers that he cannot prevent the transports and the liquidation of the ghetto.
A minor event in the extremely interesting evening, which was insightfully moderated by Táňa Klementová, was the participation of Edita Krystýnková, who was born in the Warsaw Ghetto and spent the first two years of her life there. The photographs were taken as usual by Vít Mádr.

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Portrait of Anna Löwy

On Friday, April 14, Little Mehrin experienced something extraordinary. Ann Altman, who was born in Bristol, England, after the war, arrived from the United States, but her family tree includes several important Moravian Jewish families. None of her four grandparents survived the Holocaust, but her grandmother Anna Löwy (from the family of Znojmo brewer Rudolf Wotzilka) remained with the survivors in a beautiful portrait painting. When Ann Altman learned the year before last that the Moravian Jewish Museum Mehrin was being established in Brno, she got in touch with us, offered her help, and after some time decided to donate her grandmother's portrait to the museum. She brought it personally, talked to journalists on that occasion and in the evening at Vienna Street with the visitors of the ceremony of handing over the painting.
Thank you, and we see it as a commitment!

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Visit of the Minister of Culture

On 1 April, the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic Martin Baxa visited our "temporary" museum. He was personally guided through the exhibition Carriers of Memory by its author Martin Šmok. The Minister came with his wife and stayed with us for over an hour, so we had enough time to discuss a number of questions about the future of the project and its support from the Ministry and the government. Although the economic situation of the country is not favourable due to the epidemic of covid, the war in Ukraine and the subsequent energy crisis, it is clear that we are strong enough as a country to withstand it and not to give up on good and important things such as the building of the Moravian Jewish Museum. In any case, the meeting filled us with hope and optimism; it is obvious that Martin Bax has the support of our project.


Presentation of the Brno IWalk

Documentary filmmaker Martin Šmok has prepared two virtual walks through Brno's Jewish past, one of which is now fully available. Brno has now joined the nearly ten cities in the Czech Republic that already have their own IWalk, giving teachers and students in particular
a great tool for teaching local history. The mobile app called IWalk is freely downloadable on Google Play (for smartphones
On March 27, Martin Šmok came to present his work to the visitors of the Little Mehrin, and during the discussion it turned out that there were also women in the audience who had experienced Ben Benari in person; one of the virtual guides. The audience also had the opportunity to see a part of the unpublished IWalk No.2. Thanks to the USC Shoah Foundation, OpenEye, Meeting Brno and SAKO, a.s., which
contributed financially to the creation of the Brno IWalk. As did the Mehrin Foundation, which initiated the whole thing.


Wine tasting from the Hafner winery

Ladislav Polák is from Bratislava, where he and his wife have run the kosher restaurant Chez David since 1993. They came to Brno to present the excellent kosher wines of the Lower Austrian winemaker Julius Hafner on the day of the presidential inauguration. It is fair to say that guided tastings are one of those happy events where people leave in a good mood and, at best, a little smarter. This time there was all the more reason to raise a glass in joy, and the excellent brandy that came at the end suitably crowned the whole hilarious evening! By the way, you can taste Hafner's wine, which is known in forty countries around the world, at every event we organize in Malý Mehrin.


Lecture by American writer Kathi Diamant

The lecture by the American writer Kathi Diamant, author of the bestselling Kafka's Last Love about Dora Diamant, was the first test of our space at Vídeňská in a "hall" setting. The thirty chairs available to us were fully occupied, and another ten people somehow crowded around, so we checked where the limits of our capacity were! (And then we bought some more chairs.:-)) The talk about Franz Kafka's last (short, but very important) love was engaging, entertaining and moving. Although it lasted an hour and a half, the audience stayed as one man until the end. We thank not only the author (and her husband, who served the pictures at the end), but also Judita Matyášová, who mediated everything, Katka Báňová, who interpreted perfectly, and finally Vít Mádra, who took these nice photos for us.

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Opening ceremony, opening ceremony

The opening of Martin Šmok's exhibition The Carriers of Memory, which was also the grand opening of the museum, was a success. At least in the sense that the technology did not fail and that most of the invited guests were present, including rare guests such as Karel Ellinger (born 1928), who survived
Auschwitz and several other concentration camps, Milan Uhde, Mayor of the Statutory City of Brno Markéta Vaňková, Mayor of the Brno-střed district Vojtěch Mencl, Director of the Moravian Library Tomáš Kubíček and many others. The author of the exhibition and the author of the architectural design of the museum Radim Horák, head of the Kamkab!net studio, was also present. We toasted the success of the Little Mehrin with Táňa Klementová and the director of the "temporary" museum Jitka Králová.
The photographs were taken by Vít Mádr and the camera or the microphone pole belonged to the crew of Monika Rychlíková, who is filming a half-hour documentary about Little Mehrin for the Babylon programme.

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Exhibition and interior

In the morning before the opening, our friend and excellent photographer Petr Soldán came to Vídeňská 14 and in an hour he took a series of professional shots of the interior with Martin Šmok's already installed exhibition Carriers of Memory. So we won't have to use either the visualizations of the architectural design or our own cute amateur mobile phone shots. There are plenty of images and we will certainly pull them out like rabbits out of a hat on various occasions; for now, at least a first taste.