Kaunic´s Hall of Residence History

Kaunic‘s Hall of Residence

of the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno

(45 Králova St., Brno – Žabovřesky)

 

 

 

It is the shady history of the Kaunic‘s Hall of Residence, that does not only concern matters of the accommodation and social life of students, but also its terrible use during the Second World War.

 

The bith of Kaunic’s Hall of Residence

The building was built between 1922 and 1923 according to the project of the professor of the Czech Technical University in Brno, Karel H. Kepka, from the financial resources provided as a gift by the earl Václav Robert from Kaunic, J.D. In his honour, the building was named Kaunic's Hall of Residence. The Academic painter Mr. Ladislav Novák is the author of the sgraffits at the top of the Kaunic’s Hall of Residence’ building (there are 78 paintings). He has spent 33 working days creating them. After completing sgraffit fields, he was asked by Prof. Kepka to add St. Václav painting to the outer wall of the hall. The opening ceremony of the Kaunic’s Hall of Residence took place on May 24th 1925, as part of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Czech Technical University in Brno. However, the earl Václav Kounic himself has not begun the construction of these dormitories. He died in Uherský Brod in 1913 for pneumonia. The palace at Žerotínovo Square in Brno, where the Masaryk University Rector's Office and the busy street in the city centre are currently located, was named after this prominent man and patriot.

           

            

   Prof. Karel Hugo KEPKA, MSc.          Earl JUDr. Václav Robert KOUNIC      Acad. painter Ladislav NOVÁK

       *26.7.1869   30.6.1924                       *26.9.1848   14.10.1913              *7.10.1865   16.1.1944

 

                      

     

Kaunic‘s Hall of Residence during its construction            …and when the building operations were finished

                              in 1922                                                                         in 1923

 

The period of the World War II.

The Kaunic’s Hall of Residence served as home for approximately 500 university students with an active social, sports and cultural life until November 17th, 1939, when it was converted into police prison of Brno’s Gestapo governing office. Members of Nazi’s troops SS and Gestapo surrounded the Kaunic’s Hall of Residence on November 17th, 1939, at 6 a.m. and their patrols did not let anyone in or out. Detained college students were transported to Sachsenhausen concentration camp in the evening on the same day. Subsequently, the Reich Protector issued a regulation on the closure of Czech universities for three years, nine university students were shot and more students were sent to the concentration camp. At the time of the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia between 1939 and 1945, the Kaunic’s Hall of Residence’ courtyard has served as an execution point, where more than 1,350 fighters, men and women were killed by being hanged or shot to the rear of the head.

 

                                            

          The gallows at the Kaunic’s courtyard                      Barbed wire fence in front of the execution site

 

          

One of the five houses built by Gestapo at the Kaunic’s Hall of Residence area due to lack of capacity of Kaunic’s dormitory, which has served as prison during the World War II.

 

The period after the World War II.

After World War II, the change of the Kaunic’s Hall of Residence to the Resistance Memorial was considered, but later the idea of returning the building to its original purpose and mission to accommodate university students prevailed. In 1968, a Memorial Hall was built on Kaunic's Hall of Residence’ premises, due to its turbulent history during the Second World War – thanks to the long-term friends and former prisoners of Kaunic's Hall of Residence, František Vašek, J.D. (* 10.2.1924 † 25.12.2008) and Josef Styx (* 23.10.1919 † 10.3.2015). At present, the Memorial Hall is in the care of the Czech Union of Freedom Fighters. Due to its war history, Kaunic's Hall of Residence was declared a National Cultural Monument in 1987.

 

                         

 

   Mr. Josef Styx (left) and Mr. Fr. Vašek, J.D.                         The Memorial Hall – one of its room

 

       

                                          The Memorial Hall at the Kaunic’s Hall of Residence

 

               

          The Monument of Victims of the World War II.           The memorial desk at the former execution site

      

       

        The Monument of Victims under the sgraffit picture             The Victory Monument at Kaunic’s site                                       of St. Václav 

 

In the period after the World War II, students from almost all Brno universities were accommodated at Kaunic's Hall of Residence, and the lack of bed capacity was solved by building loft rooms at both blocks of the dormitory. Since the 1970s, the building was managed by the Brno University of Technology (hereafter VUT) and, due to the lack of accommodation capacity of the VUT, the redevelopment of the dormitory was completed, when four-bed rooms were built from triple rooms. This situation lasted until 1989, when the building of Kaunic's Hall of Residence had to be partially vacated in order to repair the bathroom floors. The VUT started these repairs at block A, which was open for rent again in 1990. Subsequently, it started with the repairs at block B. Unfortunately, due to the lack of funds these were not completed, for these reasons, there was no longer available accommodation for students at block B. In 1990 - 2000, the capacity of the dormitory was only one block, where there were 296 beds. Due to the fact, that the Brno University of Technology had additional beds for the accommodation of the students and that it did not have enough funds to finish the repairs, the Kaunic's Hall of Residence was trying to transfer them to the university that did not have its own dormitory at that time

 

The University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences

as the owner of Kaunic’s Hall of Residence

On January 1st 1999, the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno was acquired by the then owner of the Brno University of Technology. However, the dormitory was in a poor condition and it was necessary to complete its reconstruction and modernization in June 2000. This was realized according to the project by architect Mr. Stojan. During the reconstruction, block B was completely rebuilt, when two double-bed rooms with its own kitchenette and bathrooms were built from the original triple rooms with common bathrooms. In each of these rooms, students have access to internet and a telephone that can be connected to all buildings of the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno and other rooms of Block B. Reconstruction was completed in July 2001 and its opening ceremony was held on September 13th 2001. In its new form, the Kaunic's Hall of Residence became one of the dominant facilities in the city of Brno. It serves both Czech and foreign students.

  

             

The main entrance to the Kaunic’s Hall of Residence      The entrance hall of the Kaunic’s hall of Residence

          

           

          The student’s accommodations in one, two or three-bed rooms; the suites for dormitory guests

 

For the extracurricular activities, the students can take advantage of a playground for ball games at the campus. In the building there are table tennis and billiard rooms, sauna, solarium, and a common social room. Since September 2007, the Topas restaurant has been reopened in the dormitory building. It is open even in the evening hours. There are 12 double-bedded apartments located on the top floor of block B, which serve university guests or students' visits. The total capacity of the dormitory is 449 beds. During the holiday period, the dormitory also provides hotel services to the general public. WIFI connection is available throughout all buildings of Kaunic's Hall of Residence.

 

 

 

                            The multifunctional playground at the area of Kaunic’s Hall of Residence

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Palackeho tr. 1946/1, 612 42 Brno, Czech republic, phone: +420 541 561 111, vfu@vfu.cz, Data Deposit Box: y2cj9e8