Jan Zajíc (July 3, 1950 – February 25, 1969) was a Czech student who committed suicide by self-immolation as a political protest. He was a student of the Střední průmyslová škola železniční (Industrial Highschool of Railways) technical college in Šumperk, specializing in railroads, and was also interested in poetry and humanities.
In 1969 he took part in a hunger strike and a commemoration ceremony by students for Jan Palach near the statue of Saint Wenceslas in Prague.
On the day of the twenty-first anniversary of the Communist takeover (25 February 1969), he travelled to Prague accompanied by three other students. His intention was to warn the public against the forthcoming political "normalization" of the country. He had several letters challenging the people to fight against the Warsaw Pact's military occupation of Czechoslovakia. Around 1:30 in the afternoon he walked into the passageway of the building at No. 39 on Wenceslas Square and ignited his chemical-soaked clothes. He was unable to run out of the door, and collapsed and died in the hallway.
In a letter he left behind he wrote:
Mom, dad, brother, little sister!
When you read this letter, I will already be dead or close to death. I know what a severe blow my act will be to you, but don't be angry at me. Unfortunately, we are not alone in this world. I am not doing this because I would be tired by life, on the contrary, because I cherish it too much. Hopefully my act will make life better. I know the price of life and I know it is the most precious thing. But I want a lot for you, for everyone, so I have to pay a lot. Do not lose your heart after my sacrifice, tell Jacek to study harder and Marta too. You must never accept injustice, be it in any form, my death will bind you. I am sorry that I will never see you or that, which I loved so much. Please forgive me that I fought with you so much. Do not let them make me a madman.
Say hi to the boys, the river and the forest.
Funeral Jan Zajíc in his hometown of Vítkov
The police prohibited his burial in Prague because they feared demonstrations, such as the ones that followed the burial of Jan Palach. He was later buried in his hometown of Vítkov.
After the Velvet Revolution, a bronze cross was set into the ground in front of the National Museum in Wenceslas Square to honour both Palach and Zajíc.
His death mask by sculptor Olbram Zoubek is situated at his high school (now Vyšší odborná škola a střední průmyslová škola Šumperk).
Evžen Plocek (29 October 1929 – 9 April 1969) was a Czech man (reform communist) who committed suicide by self-immolation as a political protest.
Evžen Plocek, was a toolmaker by trade, but by 1968 had become deputy director of the car-parts company Motorpal and a candidate to the extraordinary meeting of the Czech Communist Party (see Prague Spring). On Good Friday, 4 April 1969, several months after the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, Plocek set himself on fire in Main Square (now called Masarykovo nam.) in Jihlava, Czechoslovakia, in protest at what he saw as Soviet aggression. His was the fourth suicide by self-immolation after an accountant, Ryszard Siwiec, set himself on fire in Warsaw on 8 September 1968 dying four days later in hospital, and two Czech students, Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc, who burned themselves to death in Prague on 16 January 1969, and 25 February 1969, respectively. Just before his immolation he dropped a paper with the text: "Truth is revolutionary – wrote Antonio Gramsci" and "I am for a human face – I can't stand those without any feelings. Evžen". Evžen Plocek was taken to the Jihlava hospital, where he died on 9 April. Only on that day did the local media announce that "somebody immolated himself and is in a critical condition".
In spite of a number of difficulties, the workers at Motorpal were able to hold a public funeral in Jihlava. Not a word of Evžen Plocek's self-immolation made it into the central press, however. Today, there's a simple plaque on the ground near the place of Plocek's death.