International Students' Day and its blood-soaked history

Speed News Desk | First published: 17 November 2016, 13:20 IST
Representative Image: JNU students protesting at police headquarters / Photo by Ipsita Sarkar / Catchnews

Today, 17 November, is celebrated as International Students' Day. But do you know the story behind this Day? Did you know this is not a day to celebrate but to commemorate students' deaths in many revolts and protest over the years?

The History

On 28 October, 1939, students and faculty of Medical Faculty of Charles University held a demonstration in Prague to honour the anniversary of the Czeck Republic's independence. The Nazis - members of National Socialist German Workers' Party, which controlled Germany from 1933 to 1945 under Adolf Hitler - tried to suppress the students' demonstation. In the process, one student - Jan Opletal and a worker - Václav Sedláček - were killed.

On 15 November, university students held a funeral procession from Prague to Moravia. Thousands of students participated in the procession, turning the event into an anti-Nazi demonstration.

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On 17 November, 1939, the University of Prague held demonstrations against Opletal and Sedláček's deaths as well as against the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.

After protests, the Nazis marched into the Varsity, rounding up all the students, murdering nine of them as well as professors. Over 1,200 students were sent to concentration camps.