Commemoration of Jan Palach at VŠE Palachova dormitory

6 January 2024 marks 55 years since Jan Palach burned himself to death on Wenceslas Square in Prague in protest against the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops. Together with the rector of the Prague University of Economics and Business, Petr Dvořák, the management of the university and Jan Palach’s classmates, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Mikuláš Bek, they have laid wreaths at the memorial plaque on the Palach’s dormitory building.

I was lucky enough to experience the polar opposite of what Palach experienced in 69. I was a student at Charles University in ’89, and I experienced the ambient feeling of freedom that came with it. Based on that parallel, I try to imagine how great Palach’s outrage, dismay, and disgust must have been at what was happening around him,” the education minister said at the commemoration.

Rector Petr Dvořák also recalled that Jan Palach was a student at the VŠE for most of his university life, which is often overlooked. “The university named the campus building after Jan Palach because it respects his legacy,” the rector said. “In this way, we want to remind the younger generation of the importance of remembering his actions and what he fought for.”

The laying of wreaths at the memorial plaque in Palach’s dormitory was followed by an informal meeting of those present, which ended with a tour of the modernized VŠE dormitories.

Photos from this commemoration can be found in the gallery below.