In 1939, students in Prague headed a demonstration against the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, and some of them - such as Jan Opletal - paid with their lives. The colleges were closed on 17 November 1939 as a direct order from Adolf Hitler. Czech students in Prague and other cities were arrested and 1200 of them were taken to the Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg concentration camp.

These half-century old events were remembered by the citizens in 1989, when a peaceful student demonstration in Prague grew in an anti-regime demonstration brutally suppressed by the police. The event triggered the Velvet Revolution, which led to the collapse of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.