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Updated: Apr 4

The 17th of November marks the monumental anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and so much more…

On this day, 33 years ago the Iron Curtain came crushing down in the Czech and Slovak Republics, on a day that was already written into history.

On November 17th 1939, Czech students stood up against the Nazi regime that was occupying the Czech lands half a century prior.

Armed to their teeth, the elite SS commandoes lashed out on the protesters. Two people were killed, hundreds of others were hurt and arrested. Eight students and one professor were executed. Another, 1,200 others were deported to concentration camps.

The bloody tragedy and the sacrifice of the students were never forgotten.

The 17th of November was declared International Student’s Day in other nations, as early as 1941, to commemorate the student lives lost in German-occupied Czechia.

Remarkably on the very same day, 50 years later, Czechoslovak students rose again.

But, this time it was against another totalitarian government, the Soviets.

Czechs and Slovaks were tired of living in fear and administrative terror. Taking their lives into their own hands, 1 million people took to the streets of Prague to protest and to demand change.

However, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia would not go down without a fight. The daring demands of the Czech students, were met by a cordon of riot police. The protesters were attacked, beaten and handcuffed.

But there was no stopping the revolution …

The state’s unrelenting brutality against the idealistic students unintentionally opened the floodgates of the Velvet Revolution.

The story of Friday November 17th spread fast across the country.

Very soon, theatres, actors and artists joined the Czechs, but also Slovak students in their protest. Their combined allegiance sent ripples throughout the entire collective.

The rest is history. 240 hours of protests brought down 41 years of communism.

Nov 17th marks the return to freedom in the region.

Thank you to everyone that helped to bring about change, our parents and grandparents. We are grateful for your courage.

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