Day for Freedom and Democracy in the Czech Republic (17/11)

On November 17, the Czech Republic celebrates a public holiday - the Day of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy (Den boje za svobodu a demokracii). The events that took place in 1939 and 1989 are associated with this date. The autumn of 1939 was marked by the first mass action against the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis.

On October 28, 1939, students demonstrated in Prague in order to remember and celebrate the anniversary of the formation of the Czechoslovak state. However, the occupiers dispersed the demonstration, and medical student Jan Opletal was shot dead. On November 15, 1939, the day of the young man's funeral, hundreds of people took to the streets again. The funeral turned into a new demonstration. German units again dispersed the people, dozens of demonstrators were arrested.

The apogee of the general tension was on November 17, when the Gestapo and SS surrounded student dormitories early in the morning. Over 1,200 students were arrested and imprisoned in a concentration camp. Nine students and student activists were executed without trial in a prison in the Ruzyne district of Prague. By order of Hitler, all Czech higher educational institutions were closed. This day inscribed a tragic page in the history of the Czech people - since 1946, the date of November 17 has been celebrated as International Students' Day.