On December 8, 1980, the life of the British musician, composer, peace activist and a member of the Beatles, John Lennon, was snuffed out. He was assassinated on his way home from a recording studio. In front of the entrance to the New York apartment where he lived with his wife Yoko Ono and son Sean, he was heavily shot by the mentally ill Mark David Chapman. Paradoxically, Lennon had just signed a copy of his new album Double Fantasy for him a few hours before the incident. John Lennon succumbed to severe injuries while being transported to the hospital, and all subsequent attempts to save his life were in vain…
At the beginning of December 2020, the Museum of Memory XX. century published the book Lennon's Wall in Prague to honor the singer's memory. The trio Petr Blažek, Filip Pospíšil and Roman Laube have collaborated on writing the publication. The book contains studies, interviews, documents and an extensive pictorial appendix full of period photographs. And how did Lennon's wall even come to exist?
A few days after John Lennon's death, his fans created a simple symbolic tombstone for him in the Grand Prior Square. They used the former niche (a niche is an alcove in the wall with a round or rectangular vaulting, ed. note) of the municipal water supply system in the wall of the Maltese Garden, in the vicinity of which verses and other inscriptions had already been appearing in previous years.
In the early 1980s, the wall became known as Lennon's Wall. Inscriptions began to appear and gatherings took place here on the anniversary of Lennon's death, gradually growing into anti-regime demonstrations since 1984. Some of the participants of these gatherings were co-founders of two opposition groups: the Independent Peace Association - Demilitarization Initiative (NMS) and the John Lennon Peace Club (MKJL).
"I consider the publication of this book to be an important contribution to the documentation of the period of the end of totalitarianism. It captures a remarkable rebirth, when the place of remembrance for a few fans quickly became a symbol of resistance to the regime, which was well known abroad. In addition, as one of the founding members of the Independent Peace Association, I have very intense memories of this period, which have not faded to this day, and that is why this book has another, personal dimension for me,"
The co-author of the book and a member of the board of the Museum of Memory XX. century Petr Blažek confirms her words.
"Lennon's wall became a significant phenomenon before 1989, although in 1982 it was covered with a poster board. Since the mid-1980s, petitions calling for the introduction of an alternative civilian service, the departure of Soviet troops from Czechoslovakia, the release of political prisoners and the elimination of nuclear weapons have been signed here. After 1989, the wall's appearance also reflected contemporary disputes over the nature of society. This place has become a major tourist attraction, a commercial item, and even an inspiration for a protest movement on the other side of the globe."
In cooperation with the Kampa Museum, the Museum XX. century organized a debate in Werich's villa, which can be seen today from 8 pm on the Facebook and YouTube channel of the museum.
"For many Praguers and visitors of Prague, Lennon's wall in Kampa has become a symbol of freedom and the end of an era. This reminder of his memory has always reflected contemporary disputes about the past and future of society. And I'm sure it will always be that way. That is why I am glad that the Museum of Memory XX., together with the Kampa Museum, managed to organize a debate in Werich's villa, available online on the anniversary of John Lennon's death, and to commemorate the moments in which this monument played a significant role,"