Thursday, 30 May, 2024
28October 1939

Czech medical students protest Nazi occupation and encourage resistance

On this day, medical students, and others, in Czechoslovakia protested against the occupation of their country by Nazi Germany.

The students distributed leaflets throughout Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, an area in the south east of Czechoslovakia. Other Czechoslovakian citizens gathered in Prague and elsewhere, singing the Czechoslovakian national anthem and chanting anti-German slogans. Locals threw stones at German-owned shops and the Czechoslovakian police, who largely sympathised with the protesters, chose to stand back and not get involved. German police, angered by the protests, began firing into the crowds. Multiple people were injured, and some killed.

83 protestors were arrested by local police, and 400 were detained by the Gestapo.

Those killed included 24 year old medical student Jan Opletal. Opletal’s funeral in November would give the protesters another reason to gather and continue their resistance to the occupation. Jan Opletal would go on to become a national hero and symbol of resistance to the Czechoslovakian people during the rest of the war.

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