54th anniversary of self-immolation of Jan Palach

Monday is the 54th anniversary of the self-immolation of student Jan Palach on Prague’s Wenceslas Square. He carried out this act on January 16, 1969 as an attempt to shake Czechoslovak society out of its apathy following the Soviet occupation that began the previous August. Palach, who was 20 at the time, died three days later.

A number of events are being held around the country in his honour. These include a memorial at the spot by the National Museum where Jan Palach set himself on fire and another at Prague’s Karolinum, where the coffin with his remains was displayed before his funeral.

Author: Ian Willoughby