The Opening of the Exhibition “ JAN PALACH 69”

March 1, 2019

Today, the opening of the exhibition “JAN PALACH 69” took place at the University of Nova Gorica’s venue in Vipava, the Lanthieri Mansion.

In January 1969 Jan Palach, a twenty-year-old student, set himself on fire at Wenceslas Square in Prague. He wanted to stir up his fellow citizens to face upcoming “normalization” (the period following the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 and up to the Velvet Revolution in November 1989). Although political development has failed to reverse, he has deeply written down on society memory. Since his death, he has been most often remembered as a symbol – the torch, the victim or the national hero. This exhibition, on the contrary, aims to offer a different perspective and to bring the life and the action of Jan Palach in historical context of the 1960s through archival documents, photographs, video recording and objects from that time (including all of the final letters of Jan Palach). It tries to put his story into the context of the Prague Spring and upcoming „normalization“, presents Palach’s life and the ideological background from which he came, portrays the planning and the execution of his act, as well as the response he made in society. Ryszard Siwiec, Jan Zajíc, and Evžen Plocek also received attention.

The exhibition was opened by the Rector of the University of Nova Gorica, Prof. Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik, the Mayor of the Vipava municipality Ivan Princes, the Ambassador of the Check Republic, her Excellency Věra Zemanová and the President of the Czech-Slovenian Society Alena Šamonilová.

Authors of the exibition: Petr Blažek, Patrik Eichler, Jakub Jareš; the original exhibition was organized by: The Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague, The National Museum; the exhibition in Slovenia is organized by: Czech-Slovenian Society and Zavod »Zimske urice«.

The exhibition is open until 22 March (from Monday till Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm).

Andreja Leban, Public Relations