The 17th of November

On Tuesday, the Czechs commemorate the anniversary of the events connected with the 17th of November, when the German Nazis intervened against protesting students in 1939 and 50 years later, the communist power did the same as well. Due to the pandemic, this year's celebrations are different from previous years, the celebrations outside are not organized and will be mostly online. However, despite restrictions on movement, some events take place in the streets.


In response to the demonstrations on October 28 and the riots associated with the funeral of a student Jan Opletal, the leadership of Nazi Germany decided to close Czech universities for three years. On the night of November 16-17, Nazi security forces raided Prague, Brno and Příbram with the aim of capturing the leaders of student organizations.

Nine representatives of student leaders were executed without trial in the Ruzyně barracks. A total of 1,200 students arrested were then transferred to the Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg concentration camp, most of whom were released at the end of 1942. 35 of them did not survive the hardships of the concentration camps.


The commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Nazi repression grew into a demonstration against the communist regime. After the official part of the demonstration, the crowd went to the city center. Approximately 5,000 people continued towards Charles Square.

The front of the demonstration was stopped by the police, so participants sat on the ground in front of the riot police. Girls began to spontaneously insert flowers behind the shields of members of the emergency regiment. Demonstrators continued a peaceful and non-violent demonstration slogans such as: "We Have Bare Hands".

Although participants in the demonstration were called to break up, the only escape routes led through so-called "alleys", where protesters were brutally beaten. Some participants were subsequently arrested and loaded onto prepared buses. Even after the demonstration ended, individuals or groups watching were attacked by law enforcement units. An independent medical commission later said 568 people were injured during the operation.