Evzen Plocek was born on October 29, 1929 in Jihlava to a working-class family.
His parents, Frantisek and Marie, were catholics. His brother, older by a year,
was named after his father.
Both boys attended the Orel (Eagle) physical education society and a
working-class scout troop as children.
In 1943, after finishing elementary school, Evzen Plocek began studying to be
a tool-maker. After the war he entered into the profession at the Jihlava
company Motorpal. He worked a variety of positions and functions at this
company his whole life. In 1955 he joined the Communist Party od Czechoslovakia
and went from the tool room to a paid position as chairman of ROH
(Revolutionary Trade-Union Movement). He completed his diploma and in 1958
he began to study by correspondence at the Prague School of Economics. Thanks
to the education he completed and his personal abilities, he became the head
of the business section and later even deputy director.
Success at work also brought with it a peaceful family life. In 1953 Plocek was
married. His wife Zdena worked at the same company as an administrative -
technical employee. After a year of marriage, the Ploceks had a son, Jiri.
The father and son became very close.
Evzen Plocek enthusiastically supported the changes of 1968. As a party
functionary, he looked forward with confidence. At the regional conference in
Brno he was elected a delegate to the 14th party congress. His participation
supported his decision to continue the reform activities even after the
invasion by Warsaw Pact forces. After the April plenum, however, he realized
the infeasability of his efforts. He was apprehensive of a return to the
On April 4, 1969, Good Friday, Evzen Plocek left his work on the Jihlava main
square. He dropped in on his parents. Around six in the evening he poured
paint thinner on himself in a passageway and went out into the square again.
He made his way toward the building of the regional party committee. By the
road he left two papers with the text: "Truth is revolutionary - wrote Antonio
Gramsci" and "I am for a human face - I can't stand the unfeeling ones -
Evzen". In front of the party headquarters he struck a match. The thinner
caught fire. Because there were still swings and merry-go-rounds on the square
for St. Matthews' festivities, people thought they were watching some kind of
attraction. They didn't hurry off for help until some moments had passed.
Evzen Plocek was taken to the Jihlava hospital, where he died on April 9.
In spite of a number of difficulties, the workers at Motorpal were able to hold
a public funeral in Jihlava. Not a word of Evzen Plocek's self-immolation made
it into the central press, however. His sacrifice remained under wraps. It
didn't come out until the humbling consequences of the intervention had been
accepted by the nation.
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