Exploring Pilsen’s rich history: three new Themed Routes unveiled 

We are thrilled to announce that the LRE Foundation- in collaboration with the City of Pilsen – has created three new Liberation Route Europe themed routes through the Czech city steeped in World War II history. With a new network of hiking trails, anyone willing to discover the hidden gems of Pilsen gets the chance to experience the most significant sites, monuments and stories related to the city’s Occupation and Liberation.  

“Most foreign visitors are aware that Pilsen was probably the very last big city in Europe liberated by the US Army,” says Jan Engler, City of Pilsen’s marketing manager. “Not many know its role in the resistance, involvement with the airdrops of the Czechoslovak paratroopers from the United Kingdom or the story of the 2 613 Jews deported to the concentration camps. Thanks to the great cooperation and support of the LRE Foundation, tourists may discover the three new themed routes just by clicking on the Liberation Route Europe webpage. 

Starting at the symbolic Peace Square (náměstí Míru), one of the city’s first memorials, the path along the history of the Pilsen’s Liberation in May 1945 leads past numerous relevant sites like the Pilsen brewery complex, Klatovska Street 19 or the Patton Memorial Museum, honouring American General Patton, an important figure in the city’s liberation process.  

A second route takes you to the most interesting sites thematising the Pilsen Uprising against German occupiers on May 5, 1945. The trail showcases the triumphs and tribulations of Pilsen’s’ Resistance.  Notable landmarks include memorials like the Jindřich Křečan commemoration plaque at the Roosevelt Bridge.  

Allowing you to connect with the everyday lives and extraordinary stories of Pilsen’s inhabitants, a third themed route connects sites and monuments presenting the Civilian Experience in Pilsen. From the memorial plaque at Čechova Street to the Hotel Continental, the route encapsulates the stories of ordinary citizens, resistance fighters and the Jewish community during the Second World War. 

The new themed routes through Pilsen are opening the doors to a deeper understanding of the profound impact that World War II had on its streets and its people,” says Emerald Johnson, Project Officer at the LRE Foundation. “We are excited to share these new hiking trails, and we look forward to the meaningful experiences they will offer to all who embark on this historical journey with us.” 

Register now for the LRE Forum 2024 in Aachen 

Registration for the LRE Forum 2024 is now open. Register now to attend the LRE Foundation’s annual event, which will be held from the 26th to the 29th of February in Aachen, the first German city liberated during WWII. 

The four-day programme – organized by the LRE Foundation in cooperation with LRE Germany and LRE NRW – is designed to provide a varied range of activities for all attendees, including our members, partners, and tourism stakeholders. This includes dynamic panel discussions on contemporary subjects in WWII history and remembrance as well as various networking opportunities with organizations associated with WWII, historical tourism, cultural heritage, and international travel. 

The LRE Member Seminar on February 27 provides an opportunity for members to gather, exchange best practices, and receive Foundation updates. Following that, the LRE Conference has a diverse lineup of speakers, keynotes, panel discussions, and interviews delving into different methods for dealing with the complex legacy of World War II persecution. In the evening, the LRE Gala dining event serves as a valuable networking opportunity for Foundation members, key partners, and sponsors. 

February 28 will begin with the LREXPO, an annual exposition for remembering tourism that allows representatives from museums, memorial sites, cities, and regions to meet directly with travel industry stakeholders from Europe and North America. To complete the LRE Forum 2024, arranged site visits to some of the most notable historical locations in Aachen and its surroundings, including journeys to Vogelsang and the Hürtgen Forest, are offered. 

Take part in the LRE Forum 2024, register now here

Should you have any questions or doubts, don’t hesitate to reach out to event@liberationroute.com 

The fourth and final Persecution Through Their Eyes Youth Event was held in Buchenwald

The fourth and final Persecution Through Their Eyes youth event took place on November 7 at Buchenwald, marking a pivotal moment in the EU-funded initiative. This event, hosted at the Buchenwald Memorial, reflected the project’s main objective by encouraging young people to challenge historical misconceptions and contribute to the creation of a more empathetic and informed society. 

The day kicked off with the official opening of the project exhibition by representatives from the Buchenwald Memorial and the LRE Foundation. German students were the first to explore the various personal stories related to persecution during WWII in the exhibition at the Buchenwald Memorial, collaboratively prepared by all four project institutions: “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre in Lublin, Camp Vught National Memorial, Sant’Anna di Stazzema National Park of Peace and Buchenwald Memorial.  

Educational sessions for students were centred around these stories, with a primary focus on fostering critical thinking and a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding World War II events and their enduring impact. A meaningful highlight of the day was the engaging discussion among participants, delving into the causes and consequences of Nazi ideology. The debate provided a space for reflection, emphasizing the importance of remaining vigilant to radical ideas that might resurface in contemporary society. 

The project exhibition, along with its associated educational activities, will remain accessible at the Buchenwald Memorial until the end of March 2024, with the goal of reaching the widest possible audience. The culmination of the Persecution Through Their Eyes project is set to take place during the Conference at the LRE Forum 2024, scheduled in Aachen, Germany from 26-29 February. 

Joanna Roman, Project Manager at the LRE Foundation, said: ”It was a great privilege observing the growing engagement of students and their keen interest in discovering the stories featured in the project exhibition. Their feedback holds immense value for us – learning that they are enthusiastic about sharing these exhibition panels in their schools and realizing its potential proves our success in meeting the project’s goals to make WWII history accessible and relevant for young people.” 

In October, the third Persecution Through Their Eyes Youth Event was held in Lublin 

The third youth event part of the EU-fundend “ Persecution Through Their Eyes” project was organised throught the month of October in Lublin by “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre and integrated in a wider programme of activities designed to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the end of the devastating “Reinhardt” operation. This is the third youth event of the series, following the ones in Camp Vught National Memorial and Sant’Anna di Stazzema National Park of Peace.  

Operation Reinhardt resulted in a mass murder of Jews, the liquidation of ghetto and the execution of 40,000 prisoners in the Majdanek camp and its branches. The 80th anniversary of its conclusion served as an occasion for reflection on the subject of persecution during World War II

Over 100 students took part in educational activities that integrated the historical theme of WWII persecution with contemporary experiences of war, particularly in Ukraine. Several workshops were held that drew upon the biographies created for the “Persecution Through Their Eyes” project exhibition, which recounted a wide array of stories and experiences related to persecution during WWII concerning people from four different countries. Additionally, participants attended the theatrical performance “Borders of War”, which was created by young artists and told the stories of those experiencing war in Ukraine.  

The youth event concluded on October 30th at the Catholic University of Lublin. The halls of the university hosted students, teachers, representatives from the Lublin town, cultural institutions, and historians. The official launch of the exhibition was preceded by a panel discussion titled “The Experience of War,” organized in collaboration with the Department of History and Historiography of Central and Eastern Europe.  

On this occasion, students were able to listen to a unique recording featuring Rose Lipszyc, one of the exhibition’s protagonists. At the age of 94, Ms. Lipszyc shared her own wartime experiences, emphasizing the enduring importance of freedom and democracy after years of suffering and conflict.  

Overall, the youth event and educational activities provided an excellent opportunity to go further into a multi-perspective understanding of history and past and present conflicts. 

Joanna Roman, Project Manager at the LRE Foundation, highlighted the significance of events like the one in Lublin. She said, “Events such as the one organised in Lublin allow us to see the particular need for similar educational activities, which meet with great commitment from young participants and help to see the individual stories and perspectives of directly suffered the atrocities of WWII”. 

The “Persecution Through Their Eyes” project does not end here; another youth event is planned for November 7 at the Buchenwald Memorial in Germany.