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I do not know if anything speaks to man’s heart more than stories. Stories which really happened. Today I am able to find information about anything in a few minutes. One can just click a computer keyboard several times or slide the display screen of a mobile phone (not to mention libraries and books, journals, newspapers or other non-virtual resources - despite their out datedness for today’s young generation) and at once one is served with facts and their broader context on a silver platter.

Thus, in a few minutes I can get a detailed picture about the World War II, about its causes and events which preceded that bloody conflict, its history and even the number of victims. These true and objective facts provide a comprehensive insight of one of the most dreadful periods of human history complemented by interesting comments of historians, politicians and other experts. These facts stay for me somehow estranged, abstract, and depersonalized. It is a picture of a bloody international conflict but not a tormenting fight of two soldiers at a battle field who might have been befriended at peace, however, during the war they become life-and-death adversaries. There is a horror of concentration camps but not the same horror and despair of a mother whose children were torn from her arms and sent to death. It is millions of dead but not individual people who had their dreams and wishes but their lives were destroyed in vain...

The project “Disappeared Langweils” is a story. A story which brings us not to millions of people but to concrete individuals who’s names and faces we can see. No picture of war can be more horrible. No point of view can be more truthful. No memory can be more real.

John Donne said: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Let us contemplate and listen to the story of the Langweil’s family. If we listen close enough, we may hear a beat of our own heart, we may hear our own moaning and feel our own pain... And that is exactly what we need in order to not stop being alert. In order to not stop being humans who are not here just for themselves but are a part of humankind whose only home is this world...

I would like to wholeheartedly thank all the contemporaries willing to look again into their locked chambers of painful memories.

I would like to wholeheartedly thank all those who bring back to us their stories and place them in front of us...

Marie Gottfriedová

Letter from american ambassador to miss director gottfriedova, 16th november 2015