Memory of Nation


Josef Kovalčuk (1948)

  Josef Kovalčuk (1948)
We fought for a chance to speak up our minds

Lighting up candles the day of Palach's funeral

"After Palach's death, we decided to make an event. On the day of his funeral, we would all light up candles in our dorm rooms. But this information got leaked. Maybe we weren't too secretive about this whole thing. And so they gave out a strict ban: whoever would light up a candle in their room would be not only kicked out of the dorms but also from school, which was of course a very serious punishment. But we hadn't given up. In the end, we lit the candles in public spaces such as restrooms, shower rooms, staircases. So, the candles were really lit the day of his funeral."

  • born on 5 August 1948 in Trutnov
  • graduated from history and literature at the Faculty of Philosophy, Palacký University in Olomouc
  • later, studied at the Theatre Academy in Prague
  • co-founded the theatre association HaDivadlo
  • used theater to voice discontent with the communist regime
  • was in contact with dissidents and strived for democratic social change
  • actively participated in the 1989 November events
  • from 1990 till 1996 dean of the Theatre Faculty in Brno
  • from 1997 tull 2002 head of the dramatic company at the National Theatre in Prague
  • ever since 2002 has worked again at the faculty in Brno
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