Memorial Day Commemorates Victims of Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968

In Brno, the memorial day on August 21st will be marked by the commemorative laying of flowers at memorial plaques in honor of the victims. The memorial day was approved by the Czech Senate in December 2019, in an effort to counter perceived attempts by Russia to rewrite history. Photo credit: ZM / Brno Daily.

Czech Rep., Aug 18 (BD) – The Czech Republic will commemorate the victims of the Warsaw Pact invasion and subsequent occupation of Czechoslovakia with a memorial day on Friday, August 21st.

The invasion, which successfully halted the liberal reform efforts of Alexander Dubček’s government, is considered to be among the most tragic events in the modern history of Czechoslovakia. 137 Czech citizens were killed in the invasion and more than 500 wounded, and around 370,000 emigrated between the invasion and 1989. 

The bill establishing the memorial day was proposed by Jiří Mihola, deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic Party, in an attempt to correct what the Czech Government perceived as a Russian attempt to rewrite history. The Russian Government had proposed an amendment to its law for veterans to claim that the invasion of Czechoslovakia was intended to prevent a pending coup and stabilize the country.

On Friday, Brno City officials will mark the memorial day by laying flowers at memorial plaques in honor of the memory of the victims from August 21st 1968. Mayor Markéta Vaňková (ODS) and secretary Oliver Pospíšil (CSSD) will be laying flowers on the memorial plaques of Danuša Muzikářová and Stanislav Valehrach, and Deputy Mayor Jiří Oliva (CSSD) will be laying flowers on the memorial plaques of Josef Žemlička and Viliama Debnára. Muzikářová, Valehrach, Žemlička and Debnára were four of the victims of the invasion in Brno.

While the day is now officially commemorated as a memorial day, August 21st will remain a regular working day, and has not been declared a public holiday.

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