A painting by Paul Kondas called ‘Drezden’. It was painted presumably in 1960. According to the name, one might think that it depicts the bombing of Dresden by the Allies in 1945. In fact, it depicts the bombing of Tallinn by the Red Army on 9 March 1944. The Estonia Theatre, the Charles Church, and St Olaf's Church, in Tallinn, are all recognisable. Kondas painted on one of the light rockets the exact date of the event: 9 March 1944. The actual meaning and essence of Kondas' historical paintings (as he called them) was known only to a narrow trusted circle. These paintings were not known by the public. Mari Vallikivi noticed the exact date of the bombing on that painting only recently. Since Paul Kondas had no contacts with political dissidents, they were not aware of his work. The retired and eccentric schoolteacher was also not interesting to the authorities; besides, he was very careful, and was always ready to propose a completely different explanation to his paintings.
Today, we could say that people who lived under the Soviet regime or are familiar with the period would easily understand the painting. For those from outside the former Soviet Union, and also for the younger generation in Estonia who did not live in Soviet times, there is a greater need to explain the painting, because it is hard to understand why it was impossible to talk about things which were known to everyone. Mari Vallikivi stated that she does not always explain the political message of the painting to children.
The painting is probably widely used, but unfortunately the Kondas Centre does not have control over the usage of Kondas' paintings.
From the inception of the painting, it belonged, like the other paintings, to Kondas himself, until 1985 when he died. In 1986, the Museum of Viljandi bought it.
Jaroslav Drábek Jr (1901–1996), a Czech lawyer, journalist and member of the Czechoslovak resistance movement during the Second World War, was the author of a lecture entitled “A Contribution to the History of the Beginning of the Czechoslovak Resistance”, which was presented on 9 December 1960 as part of the series “Contributions to the Development of the Idea of the Czechoslovak State” organized by the Czechoslovak Society for Arts and Science. The 33-page article includes descriptions of Drábek’s memories of his resistance activities, his escapes, interrogations, the Gestapo, and his colleagues in exile in London. Drábek also described other experiences from the postwar period, such as the arrest and torture of his colleague after the Communist coup. After February 1948, Drábek emigrated from Czechoslovakia. The document also includes a letter from the Czech scientist and prominent member of the anti-Nazi resistance, Professor Vladimír Krajina, who also emigrated after 1948. In his letter, Krajina mentions the fact that it was Jaroslav Drábek Jr who persuaded him to be active in the resistance during the Second World War.
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The work ‘Days of Pain and Pride’ comprises 38 photographs that make up a whole. No single item should therefore be extracted, rather the whole series must be perceived in its entirety.
The album’s title, ‘Days of Pain and Pride’, is ironic, referring to the press media at the time that relentlessly ran the story of the death and funeral of the SFRY’s lifelong president. At the very moment when Tito’s funeral was the leading and only story in the media, assuming the dimensions of a spectacle, the artist decided to participate in this event from an outsider perspective, from the margins, recording the adoration of the Marshal’s image in all its ideological conflict and the absurdity of the kitsch aesthetic. The photo portrait is displayed like an icon, decorated with a black ribbon that in the orthodox, folk tradition represents an expression of mourning for the deceased. The absurd character of these gestures of devotion is in the carnival atmosphere of the street displays, as the image of the leader pops up among fruit and vegetables, loaves of bread, cuts of fresh meat, shirts and skirts...