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May 8, 2020 - May 31, 2020

75th Anniversary of the End of the World War II in Europe: Sitenský - Lom - Bergmannová

The Czech Centres, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe and the 80th anniversary of the Czechoslovak RAF squadrons, proudly present an exclusive online photo exhibition Wings by Ladislav Sitenský. The exhibition shows an unique set of photographs from the Czechoslovak squadron of the British Royal Air Force during the World War II. Besides of that you have the chance to watch a special interview with Mr. Tomáš Lom, Czechoslovak RAF veteran. Additionally we will introduce to you the book "The Adventures of Mr. Wellington" by Hana Bergmannová Klímová.



Ladislav Sitenský

Ladislav Sitenský was a significant Czech photographer of the 20th century. The spectrum of topics of his work is very broad but among his most famous works is a set of his photographs from the World War II, that he part of as a member of the Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron RAF. Photographs of this set completely deviate from the usual documentary work with their unique artistic quality. Other central themes of his work were also Prague, landscape photography and people. He was awarded by prestigious art prizes such as the Gold Medal for a set of photographs at the World Fair Art in Brussels in 1958 or the Medal for merit to the state in the area of culture and arts.





Photo exhibition "Wings"

The exhibition "Wings (Perutě)" by Ladislav Sitenský presents a unique collection of photographs from Czechoslovak RAF squadrons. Ladislav Sitenský really wanted to become a pilot, but in the end he fought mainly through the lens, with the camera. His photographs show the arrival of Nazi troops in Prague, Czechoslovak soldiers in France, Czechoslovak pilots with their aircrafts in Britain and the end of World War II. Even though they are war photographs, they do not directly show the horror of war and death, but rather the poetry of life: snowflakes, fluffy clouds, glittering morning dew...and that's what makes these images so strong. What's more, behind each of these photos is a story. So let us be drawn into the powerful play of light and shadow in these beautiful black and white photographs by Ladislav Sitenský. Let us listen to the stories they tell and which remind us how valuable our freedom is.



Article about Ladislav Sitenský in Radio Prague





Tomáš Lom

Czechoslovak RAF veteran




Tomáš Lom in interview with Hana Bergmannová Klímová



Tomás Lom at Radio Prague International

Tomáš Lom in the project "Memory of the Nations"


Hana Bergmannová Klímová

Hana was born in the family of Holocaust survivors on August 24, 1963. Her father, Ivan Klíma, is an acclaimed Czech writer. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages. Her mother, Helena Klimova, is a psychotherapist, the founder of the Raffael Center, which deals primarily with helping people affected by Holocoust trauma.

Hana is educated as an artist, painter and illustrator, but two years ago she decided to write a children`s book - "The Adventures of Mr. Wellington" - about boys, planes and RAF aviators. She also illustrated and published the book. This book is unique in its kind and has been very positively received by the public, as well as literary critics. Thanks to her book, Hana met Tomáš Lom (born Löwenstein), 96, who as a Jewish child had to flee from Nazism to England in 1939, where he later fought as an aviator in the 311. Czechoslovak RAF Squadron.

Throughout the last year, Hana and Tomáš were going to schools, libraries and cultural centers, to hold discussions and readings from Hana`s book.

Hana meets Tomáš every day, helping him find a new zest for life. Together they have done a great job helping to preserve the nation's memory.

Hana has two adolt daughters and two grandsons. She live in Prague but between 1990 and 1994, she lived at the Czechoslovak Embassy in Tel Aviv.




The Adventures of Mr. Wellington

Written and illustrated by Hana Bergmannová Klímová


The Adventures of Mr. Wellington is a story of the British bomber Vickers Wellington that served during the World War II in the RAF Czechoslovak 311th Bomber Squadron. Currently is the bomber stationed in an Aero Club in Czech Republic, where other planes in the hangar listen with astonishment to his narration.

Two boys, Tony and Eddie have their hideout inside Mr. Wellington. One day, the boys play with an old Morse code machine inside the bomber. Suddenly, Mr. Wellington begins to answer them through the Morse code and entrusts them with an important task: to find the lost Czechoslovak airmen from his last crew. It's the beginning of an adventure full of secrets and fairy-tale miracles…

Through the story the readers get acquainted with the fate of Czechoslovak airmen during and after the war, when these brave men were persecuted by the communist regime. The book blends Czechoslovak recent history with the world of fantasy. Besides of that the topic of Czechoslovak airmen enlisted in RAF is completely unique in children’s literature, and perhaps that is why the book is so popular for the young readers, their parents and also literary critics.



Hana Bergmannová Klímová reads from the book




Read the chapter of the book in english - free for download



©Illustrations Hana Bergmannová Klímová



Throughout the year, Hana and Tomáš have been visiting schools, libraries and cultural centers, to hold discussions and readings.

©Photo Hana Bergmannová Klímová





Very special thanks to Tomáš Lom, Adéla Kándlová, Hana Bergmannová Klímová and all others who participated in this unique project.







Photo in the annotation: From the archive of Ladislav Sitenský




From: May 8, 2020
To: May 31, 2020


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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