After the Second World War, Koenigsberg was renamed into Kaliningrad. Thus further history of the city of Immanuel Kant, the city where the ideas of «Perpetual Peace» were born and which later on became the basis of a united Europe, was determined by war. The city changed its name, new Soviet people were to settle here. From 1945 to 1951, Soviet and German citizens of Kaliningrad-Koenigsberg lived side by side. In 1947, the organized deportation of the German civilian population to Germany began. In 1951 the last indigenous inhabitants of Königsberg left Kaliningrad.
Fifty years later, the voices of those soviet settlers and the few remaining Germans in Kaliningrad were recorded by scientists, students, volunteers. Kantgrad give voice to these people by telling their stories to nowadays audience.
Settlers from the Soviet «big earth» were here as «conquerors», but at the same time they themselves remained victims, hostages of big state policy. It created an anthropologically unique situation when those who had just been enemies, the ones who had won the Great War and the ones who had lost in the War were to live or survive together in the conditions of postwar disruption and hunger. The authors consider it important to view the Kaliningrad theme not just in regional but in broader context , in order to reflect the postwar history of the country.
By decision of the Potsdam Conference in 1945, part of East Prussia was withdrawn by the USSR. In 1946, Koenigsberg was renamed into Kaliningrad. Stalin formulaated a thesis about Koenigsberg as genuinely slavic land and initiated massive relocation of «Soviet people» here. Besides, it was Koenigsberg where the Red Army entered first the German territory when advancing towards Berlin. The hatred towards the enemy remained the same in the minds of the Soviet people after Germany's capitulation. It should be noted that it had al status of border territory, which required a pass or a special permit or in order to enter or reside in the area.
The play is based on interviews with first Soviet settlers in Kaliningrad. The interviews were taken by Kaliningrad historians headed by prof. Yury Kostayashov in the end of 80s – early 90-s. The researchers spent two months working with the archives then another 9 months we spent analyzing and structuring them, trying to shape them into the play.
There are two main narratives: a German and a Russian women tell their personal stories. Additionally, we included two other characters into the play: Soviet officer who married a German woman and we invented another character who we called «Kant». In the play he cites the work of Kant «Perpetual Peace».
«For me the main word in the discussion about this performance is intonation. The intonation that is used to tell the story. That actors use to address the audience. This is a very pure intonation. Musically pure. Not fake. This is how the source is given a voice».
Galina Shmatova, culturologist, theater researcher
Director: Anastasia Patlay
Playwright: Nana Greenstein
Research: Mikhail Kolchin
Designer: Lesha Lobanov
Actors: Olga Lapshina, Maria Surova, Nikolay Mulakov, Alexander Topuria
Age limit: 18+
Duration – 1 hour 30 minutes