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20-mrt.-2019 18:00

Jan Palach film at House of European History

Jan Palach doused himself in petrol and set himself alight on 16 January 1969. He eventually died of his horrific injuries three days later. The 20-year-old history student took this drastic action in an attempt to spur his fellow Czechs and Slovaks into actively resisting a return to hard-line communist rule in the country after the invasion of Warsaw Pact forces five months previously.

Palach’s extreme act of resistance briefly became a focal point for opposition to the Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia and his funeral was attended by tens of thousands of people. One of those who was there was former dissident Jiří Navrátil, who remembers it as a moment of national solidarity during a particularly bleak period in the country’s history: „It was really a very special event, because only two or three times in my life have I been a member of a society which was of one soul and one mind. It was fantastic and admirable. It was not only unforgettable but impressive, and it still is for me to this day.” (Radio Prague)

„What happened in the year 1968 in Czechoslovakia? What preceded the invasion of the Soviet army and how did Czechoslovak society respond? What was the motivation and the circumstances of this deliberate act of Palach? And who was Jan Palach, was he just a student who wanted to study history or was he intent on becoming a part of history instead?

The movie, directed by Robert Sedlacek, provides you with answers to those important questions and takes you into those turbulent and exciting times of the so-called “Prague Spring“ followed by the cruel sobering represented by the Soviet invasion. The movie describes the events leading the nation to the dark decades of Czechoslovak history as well as Palach’s journey to his ultimate sacrifice. It is a delicate drama about an uncompromising young man who has brought the ultimate sacrifice in the desire to stir the nation out of occupational lethargy. Jan Palach, the name that everyone knows. The film tells the story of the last few months of Palach’s life, showing how a loving son, a devoted friend and sensitive, thoughtful student of philosophy became the “torch number one”.

The disturbing final act of a young man‘s self-immolation at a political protest is brutally thought provoking. Jan Palach’s act will never be forgotten and this sacrifice must always remind us of where hopelessness in any Totality Regime can take us.“ (Source: CSFilmFestWA)

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director of the film, Robert Sedláček. 

Where: House of European History, rue Belliardstraat 135, Brussels

When: 20 March 2019 6pm

Organized by: Embassy of the Czech republic to the Kingdom of Belgium, MEP Michaela Šojdrová, Czech Centre Brussels, House of European History

Previous commemorations of 50th anniversary were held in January 2019.



House of European History, Rue Belliard 135, 1000 Brussels


20-mrt.-2019 18:00

Georganiseerd door:

In samenwerking met het Tsjechisch Centrum

Geen herinnering mogelijk