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It is with great sadness that Phil Shoenfelt & Southern Cross announce the death of our friend, the cultural activist and promoter Mirko Sennewald of Dresden, after a long and brave battle with cancer. He passed away in the early hours of 12th November 2017.
Mirko was the inspirational force behind the Bunte Rebublik Neustadt music and arts festival, and invited PS & SC to play there on several occasions. Through his work with the Transmusic agency, and later with Kultur Aktiv, he made cultural connections and exchanges between Dresden and Prague, and also with authoritarian former Soviet republics such as Belarus. To say he was energetic would be an understatement. Mirko was fifteen years old when he escaped the communist DDR (GDR) regime with his mother, via the West German embassy in Prague. Along with several hundred others, they were allowed to leave in a sealed train that took them to freedom in the west. On October 1st 2009, the twentieth anniversary of that historic journey to Hof, I was privileged enough to participate in a recreation – The Freedom Train – organized by Mirko to commemorate the event.

Maybe because of his experience living under communism, and the knowledge that change was possible, he was motivated towards human rights and freedom of expression, using his considerable organizational skills in the cultural field to good effect. An inspirational figure indeed.
All of us who were lucky enough to know and work with him will miss him more than words can express.
Mirko Sennewald, dead at 43, RIP.

Phil Shoenfelt


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