ŠTETL FEST [SHTETL FEST] is an international multi-genre festival of Jewish culture that connects Brno institutions and commemorates historical places and figures connected with Brno's Jewish life, which was drastically interrupted by the Second World War. Each year focuses on one main theme that permeates the dramaturgy of the entire festival. It builds on the Jewish history of Brno and with the motto "Dignity in Diversity" tries to highlight historical experiences that we can share together across society today. It is also one of the few Jewish culture festivals that is co-organised directly by the Jewish community and the programme reflects Jewish traditions. One of the festival's regular features is "Returns to Brno". We search for families and relatives of the original Brno Jewish families who built something in Brno and mostly did not survive the war. These stories are an important part of the festival, as is the laying of the “Stolpersteine” (Stones of the Disappeared).
The festival takes place at many venues in Brno, mostly connected with Jewish history, and connects Brno institutions (Husa na provázku Theatre, Brno Philharmonic, Brno Regional Museum, Brno City Museum, Memory of the Nation Institute and many others) and revives Brno's interwar Jewish villas.

The first edition of the festival took place in 2022 and met with a great audience response not only from the Jewish communities, but especially from the general public, not only from Brno. The first festival offered 48 programme items; it was attended by a total of 6000 spectators over three days. More information about the first edition of the festival can be found at Publi.
program ŠTETL FEST 2022 / program ŠTETLFEST 2022 ENG 

The second edition has grown significantly, with over 80 events taking place over four days, attended by 9500 spectators. Trains were the main theme of the second festival. Trains as a tragic symbol of 20th century Jewish history and a hopeful symbol of the present. Trains that took Jewish citizens to exile and concentration camps, and which became a means of humanitarian aid and rescue for contemporary war refugees. Trains as mute witnesses of social movements born out of power and human intolerance.
program ŠTETLFEST 2023 ENG 

Dramaturgy of the festival in 2024
29.8. - 1.9. 2024

 The programme of the festival is created in cooperation with the Jewish Community of Brno, members of the ŠTETL association, the Brno branch of the Jewish Museum in Prague and further collaborators and experts.
The theme of the 2024 edition, will elaborate and survey: Jewish trauma in art from Kafka to Barbie. The title and the theme encompass a large field of important challenges, especially the attempt to name the Jewish trauma its transmission to the next generations and also the need to transform it into artistic expression. We want to present its historical development and its overlap with the present day, and explore how Jewish trauma is transcribed into the lives of people in contemporary society. How does it influence the contemporary political, artistic, and business world? Is it possible to cope with it?
We will introduce important and lesser-known artists such as Franz Kafka, Hugo and Pavel Haas, Ernst Wiesner, Arnold Schoenberg, Helga Hošková, conductor Alexander Liebreich, photographer Jindřich Štreit, Petr Bureš and reveal their life stories.
In apparent contrast to the Jewish artists associated with Brno, the world of Barbie dolls will be revealed. The festival will recall the story of Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie and founder of Mattel, the daughter of Polish-Jewish immigrants to the US (her maiden name was Mosko, from the Polish Moskowicz), as well as the story of the doll that was created from the original post-war German Bild Lilly dress-up doll, which was, among other things, a distraction for soldiers at the front. In the hands of Ruth Handler, she gradually became the most popular dressing doll, then a doll with a career and a future, and progressively a symbol of the pressure on contemporary women, their appearance and position in society. We open up the questions of what this doll has brought to society and how does it program children and young people. How does the social need for uniformity create a grey zone of the unaccepted? What can we learn from her?

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