Preservation of memory of the destroyed Jewish community of Brest, development of innovative technologies in theatre and historical heritage work
In 2016, “Kryly Khalopa” theatre began Brest Stories Guide project – a series of documentary audio performances in the city space. Brest Stories Guide focuses on anti-semitism and the destruction of Brest Jewish community in 1941-1942. Before the outbreak of the war around 24 thousand Jews lived in Brest (about 45% of the city population). Almost all of them perished. Because of the Holocaust, city natives’ repatriation and soviet anti-semitism, the memory of the Jewish community and its contribution to the development of Brest vanished from the city.
An audioplay – a tour around a “nonexistent” Brest – is based on materials from the archives, books, photos, interviews with witnesses of the events related to the anti-semitic manifestations since 1937, the Brest ghetto and the obliteration of the Jewish community in 1941-1942. In addition to the memories of Jews and Brest citizens who survived, the guide also used unpublished reports of German officers from the archives.
The mobile application consists of the audioplay and a city map which allows users to navigate freely on the map with key places of Jewish heritage and historical events. Streets, buildings and yards become a stage where voices from the past sound. “Kryly Khalopa” theatre offers a chance to plunge into history, and see the outlines of an old disappeared Brest appearing through the face of today's city.
Brest Stories Guide is a project at the intersection of art, tourism and cultural heritage preservation, the result of the co-work of about twenty people, including historians, experts from Jewish organizations, as well as actors from Brest-based theatres.
Project web-page https://www.breststories.com/
In 2019, the project won "The Best Cultural Project" nomination in "The Heritage is in action" competition organized by ICOMOS.