Olga Hepnarová: Remembering the Tragic Massacre in Prague

It has been 50 years since Olga Hepnarová committed the mass murder of eight people with a truck on Milada Horákové Street in Prague 7. The tragedy has since been forgotten by many, with some residents of the area only learning about it through news articles, movies, or documentaries. The lack of a memorial plaque or any commemoration at the site is also a contributing factor.

Hepnarová’s crime occurred on July 10, 1973, when she drove a borrowed Praga RN truck into a crowd waiting at a tram stop. The area has changed significantly in the 50 years since the massacre, with the tram stop having been moved several meters down Milada Horákové Street toward Strossmayerovo náměstí. The building where a children’s clothing store and dairy used to be has since been replaced by a restaurant and a pizzeria.

Despite the presence of eyewitnesses who still live in the area, the memories of the tragedy have faded over time, especially among newer residents. The lack of a memorial plaque or other remembrance at the site has also contributed to forgetting the incident. However, a recent poll showed that over 60% of respondents believed a memorial plaque should be installed at the site to honor the victims.

The Prague 7 city council has no plans to install a memorial plaque at the site. According to a spokesperson for the council, such an initiative would have to come from citizens, relatives of the victims, or those directly affected by the tragedy. However, the spokesperson did not rule out the possibility of a memorial plaque in the future, stating that it would have to be done sensitively and respectfully, especially about the families and loved ones of the victims.

The lack of a memorial plaque at the site has also raised concerns about the potential for a cult of the perpetrator to form. While it is important to remember the victims of the tragedy, it is also essential to avoid glorifying or celebrating the perpetrator. This sentiment was echoed by Prague 7 mayor Jan Čižinský, who stated that it is necessary to approach the issue with caution and sensitivity.

Despite the passage of time, the tragedy of Olga Hepnarová’s mass murder still resonates with many Czechs. It serves as a reminder of the importance of remembering the victims of violent crimes and the need to approach such issues with sensitivity and respect.