Jan Palach’s Grav
Prague, Olšany Cemetery
“Artistically, I first considered a vertical design, but after the cemetery caretaker limited the height to 160 cm, I abandoned the vertical design since a standing human figure is higher.”
From a police statement of Olbram Zoubek, 28 July 1970 (Source: Security Services Archives)
Already by the end of the 1960s, Jan Palach’s grave at Olšanské hřbitovy (Olšany cemetery) had become a place of pilgrimage, and many people had been coming there to pay tribute to Palach’s memory. This situation caught the attention of the secret police, who focused their efforts on trying to remove the grave.
First, in July 1973, a bronze headstone made by the sculptor Olbram Zoubek was removed (and subsequently melted down) shortly after it was installed. In October 1973, after prolonged pressure from the secret police, Libuše and Jindřich Palach agreed to the exhumation and cremation of Jan Palach’s remains.
The grave of Jan Palach had not been restored until 1990. Since then, annual commemorative gatherings are held in Olšany cemetery