Illustrative photo – Mayor of Prague 1 Terezie Radoměřská (TOP 09) poses for a ČTK photojournalist, December 21, 2022.
Prague – Our current freedom can only be temporary, and in contrast to Jan Zajíc's sacrifice, we can judge the importance of our freedom, Prague 1 Mayor Terezie Radoměřská (TOP 09) told ČTK today at a memorial service to honor his memory. The hare demonstratively set himself on fire on February 25, 1969. He wanted to express his disapproval of the coming normalization and the passivity of people. Radoměřská and representatives of the Senate laid flowers at the memorial plaque on Wenceslas Square today.
“What we perceive as a symbol today is not a symbol at all. It is a deep and forceful attack on the consciousness of the nation that Jan Zajíc attempted. Not as a symbol of national rebellion, but a manifestation of personal freedom to take one's own life,” said Radoměřská . “And that, in contrast to the lack of freedom at the time, was very rousing, and I think this appeal can be rousing to this day,” she added.
According to Radoměřská, commemorating the act of Zajíce is still important today, because human freedom is indivisible both in place and in time. And the fact that we have freedom today can change, according to her.
Jácíc studied at a technical school in Šumperk. He strongly experienced the events of the Prague Spring, the August occupation and the January self-immolation of Jan Palach deeply affected him. He participated in the protest hunger strike in Prague and Palach's funeral. Gradually, the idea that he would be torchbearer number two matured in him. Although he talked about his intention, no one could stop him, the family did not know about his plan.
On the day of the 21st anniversary of the communist coup, in the passage of house number 39, he was doused with flammable liquid and set on fire. He wanted to run out to Wenceslas Square, but he failed and died inside the house. At house number 39, people installed a temporary memorial plaque, where politicians honored his memory today.