We are creating the voice of thousands silenced bells. Bell #9801
The bells were collected on Rohanský ostrov island in Prague. We would like to build Bell #9801 on this very site, to commemorate this cultural loss.
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The target amount needed is CZK 10 to 13 million. For information on the current balance please visit the #9801 transparent account.
During World War II 9801 bells were taken from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and melted down to make weapons. Ninety percent of the bells disappeared from the steeples of churches and town hall towers. The order that initiated the requisitions was issued on November 26th 1941 and the bells were collected and taken away in the summer of the following year.
Our aim is to create a bell in commemoration of this cultural loss. The thousands of silenced voices will be restored in one living and powerful voice. For each bell destroyed, one kilogram will be put into the new bell, weighing a total of 9801 kg. It will stand on the site from which the requisitioned bells were taken away.
The bell has been part of our culture since the early Middle Ages to the present day. It serves as more than just a signal, but also plays a social role. One of the most famous symbols of the western world is The Liberty Bell. A great many important events from our history, as well as numerous fates, are associated with bells. The wartime requisitions therefore represent the devastation not only of these bells, but also of society and human bonds.
We consider it important to try to create something that will reach out to people, that is not virtual but tangible. We want to say that despite all the hate and rage on social media, we are still capable of speaking and creating. We want to rework a piece of virtual artillery fire to make a beautiful thing that will bring people together.
The bells were requisitioned during the First World War, and also later during World War II. Shortly after the First World War most of the destroyed bells were replaced with new ones, thanks to the incredible efforts of our ancestors. During that difficult time of the nascent state, they succeeded in fully replacing almost everything lost in the war. We also want to commemorate this honourable achievement.However, unfortunately this accomplishment was not repeated after World War II. As communism emerged, it welcomed this rupturing of social bonds.
We are convinced that the voice of Bell #9801 will motivate people not to forget or give up on what holds us together. Bell #9801 will be more than just a memento, a memorial, or a work of art. After it is installed, we want it to serve as the basis for a long-lasting fundraising scheme, with the proceeds going towards funding the return of other bells that have disappeared.
- Ondřej Boháč, geographer, bell-ringer
- Marek Vocel, producent
- Radek Lunga, campanologist
- Josef Pleskot, architect
- Jiří Padevět, writer
- Janek Rubeš, documentary filmmaker
- Kryštof Čižinský, bell-ringer
- Jan Lukačevič, space engineer, bell-ringer
- Štepán Valenta, bell-ringer
- Tomáš Lapáček, political scientist, bell-ringer
- Leoš Válka, gallery owner
- Jana Tomas Sedláčková, manager
- Jan Mikulka, documentary filmmaker
- Aleš Berný, journalist
- Barbora Musilová, designer
“Our aim is to commemorate this part of our history. The new bell would be a memorial and symbol of those thousands of silenced bells and the great social and cultural loss that requisition entailed. People back then often risked their lives trying to hide the bells, or offered ransom to save their bells. It was only in a few rare cases that they succeeded.”
For each silenced bell 1 kg of new bell. 9801 kilogram bell on Rohanský ostrov island.
The bells were collected on Rohanský ostrov island until the summer of 1942.
“The bell gives off a clear, ringing sound. The sound of bells cuts through the air. It disturbs, warns, raises the alarm, but also calls people together, and brings reconciliation and joy. The amazing Bell #9801 on Rohan should do all this. It should alarm us into not forgetting and call us together to reconcile with one another.”
A registered association that aims to return the missing bells to their home. In the past, for instance, it was involved in the return of the bells to the Church of St. Castulus and the Church of St. Gallen in Prague.
“The requisition order of 1942, which left the Czech towers empty and silent (which, besides obtaining metal, was the other hidden purpose), is not something that can be taken back. However, it is something that can be appropriately commemorated, with a positive outlook and idea for the future. Thanks are due to Ondřej and his colleagues for this. And thanks are also due to everyone else for whatever support, assistance and cooperation they have shown.”
Tomáš Lapáček • Jan Lukačevič • Kryštof Čižinský • Štěpán Valenta • Jiří Mazal • Ivan Duškov • Václav Filip • Jan Mácha • Petr Stejskal • Jan Kubát
1 562 926 kg
That was the total weight of 9801 bells which were taken to Hamburg. Each bell had an identification in the form P/P #### (Protectorate/Prague, number). If it came from the second collection point in Ostrava, which was later moved to Prague's Maniny in 1942, it was identified by P / O #### (Protectorate/Ostrau, number).
During World War II 90 % of the bells disappeared from the bell towers in the Protectorate.
“Since time immemorial bells have called people to gather, and also to warn them of danger. I firmly believe that the new bell will not have to announce any danger and will merely be a centre-point, a place for people to meet up and reflect. Perhaps to reflect on how easily we allow our bells, freedom and safety to be taken away from us by totalitarian regimes.”
“We perceive the Bell #9801 initiative as an active way of commemorating a significant but little-known historical event and as a symbolic return of the bells to the Czech Republic. An important message for us is the Liberty Bell in the USA, which represents the tradition of the Free West. At the PPF Foundation, we support projects that build a bridge between the Czech Republic and the world, seek common interest and initiate dialogue. We believe that Zvon #9801 meets all these criteria, so we have been actively involved in the project from the beginning.”
Weight: 9801 kg
Height: 187 cm
Width: 258 cm
Casting a bell
The process of casting a bell is the same as it has been for centuries. First of a “false” bell is made, a life-size model made from clay and wax, from which a mould is then made using the lost wax technique. The mould is then placed in a hole in the ground and the molten metal is then poured into it; this is a specific type of bronze at a temperature of around 1 100 °C. When it has cooled down the mould is taken out of the ground and broken apart to reveal the new bell.
“For me, the bell #9801 symbolizes not only the roaring voice of freedom and of the spiritual community, but in line with the Invalidovna neighborhood and its connection with the strong story of the Nazi requisition of the Czech bells it also symbolizes the anti-war memento. It is going to be an authentic identity statement of the new district of Rohan City where we would like to incorporate a shared public space with the feeling of home.”
“For us, the Bell #9801 initiative symbolizes a reference to history that needs to be constantly reminded of. We perceive this project as very strong and resonant. Like the bells that were silenced and deserved to write the next chapter of their story.”
“We would like to transform a piece of virtual artillery fire into a beautiful thing that will not only resemble, but will constantly appeal to and unite society. Thank you to everyone who decides to join and support Bell #9801.”
Sanctus Castulus, z. s.
IČO: 08029181, zal. 3. 3. 2019
Address: Oblouková 766/16,
101 00 Praha 10-Vršovice
Chairman: Ondřej Boháč
The association brings together supporters and admirers of bells, bell-making and bell-making, especially those who bitterly and regretfully endure the fact that the numbers of Prague bells have been on their bases since the war requisitions of both world wars.
The basic purposes are: Support for the renewal of the bell fund, raising awareness of bells and bell-making, about the condition of the bell fund and the possibilities of its renewal.
The association is headed by Ondřej Boháč, a respected personality and director of IPR Prague. The association is a private activity of his and his fellow bell ringers, which is a profession he has been working on in the Old Town of Prague since his youth.