Third Nine Gates Festival to begin on Thursday
The third Nine Gates Festival that celebrates Prague's traditional mix of Czech, German and Jewish culture is to begin in the Czech capital on Thursday. Running until July 3rd, it offers numerous concerts, theatre performances, discussions, workshops as well as screenings of documentaries and films, including the Czech premier of "the Diary of Anne Frank", starring Ben Kingsley. Dita Asiedu spoke to the president of the festival, writer Arnost Lustig and started off by asking him what the festival's goal was:
"To introduce and to make people remember that this once was a very rich land with German, Jewish and Czech cultures living in unity. That it died for many reasons and the main reason was WWII where Jews were killed and Germans were moved to Germany. With time everything is dying. Time works against us, it's like a sieve and through this sieve comes only the best. The festival uses this sieve of time and introduces the best of the last hundred years."
How present would you say is the Czech-German-Jewish culture here in the Czech Republic?
"It's very strong but unfortunately dead. Except that culture is the only immortality of man and Jewish artists are killed - 99 percent. There were over 300.000 Jews in this country and now there are eight thousand. But culture is beautiful, it's the spirit of man, it's like the emotional memory of man so it doesn't die."
Getting financial support has been very difficult. Would you say that the interest in promoting the Jewish culture has reduced significantly here?
"No. I wouldn't say so because we have to be objective. Getting money for any action is the greatest art on earth - in the United Kingdom, in America, in Australia and in the Czech land too. I think it's difficult because there are so many events and not so much money."
And if you're interested in more about the festival of Czech-German-Jewish culture, tune in to this week's Arts.