These web pages present the life story of Jan Palach, a student of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague who set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square on 16 January 1969. By this shocking act, he wanted to arouse the Czech public from lethargy following the August invasion of Czechoslovakia. Palach’s protest caused extraordinary reaction both in the Czech Republic and abroad. To this day, Jan Palach’s name is known worldwide. The above-mentioned events are introduced on these web pages in different ways. The pages contain historical texts, period photos, and archival documents. You may also familiarize yourself with Palach’s legacy through film, television and radio documentaries.
Burning Bush is a three-part mini-series created for HBO by world-renowned Polish director Agnieszka Holland. Based on real characters and events, this haunting drama focuses on the personal sacrifice of a Prague history student, Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1969. Dagmar Buresová, a young female lawyer, became part of his legacy by defending Jan’s family in a trial against the communist government, a regime which tried to dishonour Palach’s sacrifice, a heroic action for the freedom of Czechoslovakia.