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The CC of the KKE organized a two-day Scientific Conference of Bertolt Brecht

The two-day Scientific Conference organized by the CC of the KKE on the leading intellectual, playwright, poet and director, Bertolt Brecht was concluded on Sunday afternoon (28/4). The GS of the CC of the KKE, cde Dimitris Koutsoumpas made a greetings speech at the conference as well as the Secretary of the CC of KNE, Theodoris Chionis. The Conference was held in Athens, in the packed conference hall of the CC of the KKE. A rich programme of activity had been organized by the CC of the KKE in all the previous months, with theatrical productions, film showings of B. Brecht’s works which were attended by thousands of workers who came into contact with the important work of the German communist writer, poet and playwright.

In his greetings’ speech , the GS of the CC of the KKE, D. Koutsoumpas noted amongst other things: “ In recent years we began this effort to organize scientific conferences, dedicated to the work and personality of major, pioneering intellectuals-artists, such as Giannis Ritsos and Kostas Varnalis. This year we are taking a daring step- I would characterize it a leap- by dedicating the Conference to Bertolt Brecht, the greatest playwright of the 20th century, director, poet, intellectual, politically committed to the cause of liberating the world from the exploitation of man by man. Brecht was a great communist intellectual, a multi-talented artist. He gave all his strength, concentrating on the problems of humanity, to showing –through his work- the path of liberation of man from class exploitation and war as one of the forms of this class exploitation(…) Brecht, committed to the struggle, displayed unique courage, the courage to place politics in art, politics as an integral element of art and vice-versa.”

The opening and closing speeches of the scientific conference were made by Eleni Miliaronikolaki, member of the CC of the KKE, responsible for the Cultural Section of the CC with as their theme: “Bertolt Brecht, on the simple thing which is only realized with difficulty.” Closing the workings of the Conference, Eleni Miliaronikolaki stressed that the party’s engagement with Brecht does not end with this conference, but is only just beginning. She noted that Brecht is a poet of dialectics and highlighted the need for our deeper engagement with him, something which is one of the goals for the next period. She said that Brecht must reach his real audience, the working class and the popular strata and for this reason the mass organizations, the trade unions, the student unions must be activated as well as the creative artists who must decisively contribute to this effort. She noted the creation of the need for even more of his works to be translated into Greek. She also mentioned that the material of the conference with all the speeches will be included in the publication of a special book. Finally, she mentioned that the effort of the KKE which has already begun with scientific conferences will continue and she announced that the next conference will be dedicated to Nazim Hikmet.

Greek directors, actors, singers, university professors, researchers, educators participated in the conference with speeches and interventions. An interview with Manfred Wekwerth, a collaborator of Brecht’s, artistic director of the “Berliner Ensemble”, and president of the Academy of Art’s of the former GDR, was specially filmed for the conference. In addition, Werner Seppmann, doctor of sociology, author and who was for many years joint editor of the theoretical journal “Marxistische Blatter “and Erich Schaffner, actor, and graduate of the State University for Arts and Music of Frankfurt, student of Manfred Wekwerth also participated. The conference concluded with a film-showing which included biographical details and important turning points in the life of Bertolt Brecht which contributed to the formation of his worldview and personality. It included scenes from the historical archives, poetry recitations, songs and it was an effort to approach Brecht’s view on life and how art contributes to changing the world. At the beginning of the workings of the conference a musical-theatrical performance was put on by the theatrical group “Modern Times”.


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