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International Students' Day


The 17th of November is the International Students' Day, an international observance of student activism. The date commemorates the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague after demonstrations against the killing of Jan Opletal and the occupation of Czechoslovakia, and the execution of nine student leaders, over 1200 students sent to concentration camps, and the closing of all Czech universities and colleges. The day was first marked in 1941 in London by the International Students' Council (which had many refugee members) in accord with the Allies, and the tradition has been kept up by the successor International Union of Students, which has been pressing with National Unions of Students in Europe and other groups to make the day an official United Nations observance. During late 1939 the Nazi occupants of the Czechoslovakia (at that time it was called the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia), in Prague, suppressed a demonstration held by students of the Medical Faculty of the Charles University. The demonstration was held to commemorate the creation of an independent Czechoslovak Republic. This demonstration resulted in Jan Opletal's death. 15th November is the date when he was meant to be transported from Prague back to his home in Moravia. His funeral procession consisted of thousands of students, who turned this event to yet another anti – Nazi demonstration. This however resulted in drastic measures being taken by the Nazi's. All Czech higher education institutions were closed down; more then 1200 students were taken and sent to concentration camps; and the most hideous crime of all: nine students / professors were executed without trial on the 17th of November. Due to this the date of 17th November has been chosen to be the International Students' Day. The following is the full list of the nine students / professors executed on the 17/11/1939 in Prague – Ruzyne: • Josef Matoušek • Jaroslav Klíma • Jan Weinert • Josef Adamec • Jan Cerný • Marek Frauwirt • Bedrich Koukala • Václav Šafránek • František Skorkovský

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