Jan Palach


The other day I was chilling at Jana Beranová’s house. Talking mostly about ‘Jan Hart’. She gave me the book ‘Hommage aan Jan Palach’, that she have edited. The first time I heard about Jan Palach was two years ago when I was in Prague myself.

I was very touched by the sentence at the beginning of the book by Magister Jan Hus (In Dutch):

Zoek de waarheid, luister naar de waarheid, verkondig de waarheid, heb de waarheid lief, spreek de waarheid en verdedig de waarheid tot aan je dood, want de waarheid zal je verlossen!

Jan. 16, 1969 – Jan Palach, a student at Charles University in Prague, protesting the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact forces as well as the abandonment of democracy by Czechoslovak politicians, doused himself with flammable liquid, set a match to his clothes and set himself aflame on Wenceslas Square near the statue of St. Wenceslas at 3 p.m.

Jan. 19, 1969 – Jan Palach died as a result of his burns in the Burn Clinic on Legerova Street in Prague.

The wave of suicide attempts by immolation that ran through the Czech lands in the first months of 1969 was a unique event on a world-wide scale, a result of the social atmosphere at the time. After Palach, 26 people attempted suicide between January 20th, 1969 and the end of April that year, 7 of whom died.

(sources: Hommage aan Jan Palach, Radio Praha and Wikipedia)

I think he is the biggest protester ever…