For the first time in 67 years, the lost story of one of the liberators returns to Pilsen
As part of the Pilsen 1945 project and with the support of the City of Pilsen, Patrick Dewane, the grandson of U.S. veteran Lt. Col. Matt Konop, will come to this year’s Liberation Festival with his inimitable and nationally acclaimed one-man show. With him he will bring the story of his grandfather, the man who declared the liberation of Pilsen.
“What’s the likelihood of an American who grew up in a Czech-speaking family on a farm in the United States, getting to the very same cities where his ancestors lived while liberating Bohemia at the end of World War II?”
In 1945 he was celebrated as their hero not only because he was a U.S. soldier bringing freedom and chocolate, but because he was also one of their own. Matt Konop was a Czech who learned where he was from while liberating western Bohemia. His ancestors lived in the villages he passed through. After returning home he never spoke about the war. Even though his grandson Patrick begged for at least one short story, he never said a word. When he died, everyone thought that his memories died with him.
Twenty years after his death, his granddaughter Jane found his old diaries. And not only that! Matt Konop filmed his entire journey through the battlefield of Western Europe. These notes and recordings formed the basis for Konop’s grandson Patrick’s unique one-man show that has been praised throughout the United States. Now it is time to bring grandpa’s story back to where it belongs – to Pilsen.
Exactly 67 years after Matt Konop brought the end of the war to Pilsen, you, too, can learn his unique story. And it’s not just memories of fierce battles waged from France through to Czechoslovakia. Most of all, “The Accidental Hero” is the poignant of a man who was a foreigner in the place where he was born and who learned about the country he was from only as a 39-year-old man. In addition to authentic records and unique recordings, you’ll come to know the inner core of a man who left the family farm so he wouldn’t have to kill chickens, found himself in Normandy in 1944, and endured long months in the most brutal of wars up until May 1945.
This exceptional performance of “The Accidental Hero” will take place as part of the “Pilsen 1945” project and with the support of the City of Pilsen on Tuesday, May 8, at the Měšťanská Beseda cinema in Pilsen at two scheduled times – from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Entrance is free of charge.