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Meeting with Eliyahu Rips, 45 years after protest (3. 4. 2014)

Meeting with the Israeli professor Eliyahu Rips, one of those who protested against the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Rips, a student at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics in Riga, was deeply impacted by the news of Jan Palach’s self-immolation and several months later, on April 13, 1969, decided to follow him, dousing himself with petrol and setting himself on fire at the Freedom Memorial in central Riga. He placed a poster beside himself reading “I am protesting against the occupation of Czechoslovakia”. A passerby extinguished the flames and Rips was arrested by the KGB. After six months in prison, he was sentenced on the basis of a “psychiatric analysis” to two years in a psychiatric clinic. After his release he emigrated to Israel where he is today professor of mathematics at the Hebrew University. The evening was organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, the Czech Centre in Tel Aviv and the Jewish Community in Prague.