Scientists discovered a burial site of political prisoners in the Pankrác prison

Scientists discovered a burial site of political prisoners in the Pankrác prison

Scientists discovered burials of political prisoners in the prison on Pankra< /p> Illustrative photo – A memorial service to honor the memory of Milada Horáková and other victims of the political processes of the communist regime took place on June 27 in Prague's Pankrák prison at the authentic place of Milada Horáková's execution.

Prague – A cemetery where the cremated remains of more than 80 political prisoners who died between 1948 and 1965 are located, was discovered by scientists at the Pankrác remand prison in Prague. Among the dead were both executed opponents of the regime from various prisons in the Czech Republic, as well as people who died in the Pankrák prison hospital. Among them were also soldiers who participated in the anti-communist resistance. The results of the archaeological survey were presented today at a press conference by Prison Service historian Aleš Kýr, Alena Šimánková from the National Archives and Jan Mařík, director of the Archaeological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

Advertisement'; }

According to Kyr, scientists found the remains of burnt bones in the ground at the site of the former gallows, where the death penalty was carried out between 1947 and 1954. “The area was then cleared, the gallows from both gallows were removed. The site was then left fallow until 1992, when a place of worship was created there,” the historian told reporters. The survey of the soil took place last October, archaeologists found fragments of organic material in it. They did not show human protein in them, but by microscopic analysis, when compared with other samples, they determined that they were actually fragments of burned bones. “We can assume that these are the remains of people whose urns were dumped here,” Mařík said.

Scientists do not have an exact list of the victims who are buried at the site, when determining the deceased whose remains could be in the cemetery at Pankrác, they rely on historical records. Šimánková mentioned, for example, resistance fighters Václav Švéda or Zbyňek Janata. She also recalled that the remains of journalist Závis Kalandra, sentenced to death together with Milada Horáková, have not yet been found. “His urn was undoubtedly brought to Pankrác. But we can only say maybe. And from the remains that were found, you cannot identify specific people,” she added. But according to her, scientists are looking for relatives and informing them about where their ancestor's ashes are most likely to lie.

The aim of the project was to find out what happened to the remains of political prisoners that were not buried in the Đáblické cemetery or the cemetery in Motola. First, the researchers had to look for cremation numbers, which prove that the deceased was cremated. “Furthermore, we had to find out whether or not the urn was given to relatives or family,” Kýr described. According to him, however, the remains were handed over to the survivors only exceptionally. Most of the urns were taken to the prison in Pankrác, where they were stored.

Part of the stored urns was transported to Motolo in 1965, but the rest were never found. In some of them, the researchers found a protocol about the destruction of the urn in the records. From archival documents, they discovered that in 1961, the then Minister of the Interior issued an order that the remains from the urns should be mixed with the ground. “We don't know why some urns were destroyed and some remained until 1965, when they were brought to Motol,” Šimánková said.

Kýr added that the remains of political prisoners are not the only ones in the area that the archaeologists examined. “Of course, the ashes of all the executed were dumped in that area, that is to say also of criminal offenders or those who were executed after the war for Nazi crimes or collaboration. But we concentrated on those who were executed for resistance against the communist regime, or who they died as political prisoners in the Pankrák prison hospital,” the historian explained.

According to him, a memorial gathering could be held at the site in the future. He also drew attention to the fact that, due to the fact that there are remains of soldiers, the space has the character of a military burial ground. Šimánková added that a commemoration of all the people whose remains were buried in the ground should be organized in the autumn. what ideology he professes. And we were very keen to make it clear and to show how people can be cruel and rude to each other. Until recently I thought that this was a matter of history, but unfortunately today we can see that such things are still happening in other countries,” said Director of the Prison Service Simon Michailidis