Mass commemorates Ryszard Siwiec’s self-immolation

Roman Catholic Bishop Václav Malý on Sunday served a special mass at Prague St Vitus Cathedral for the Czech and Polish nations. The mass also commemorated Ryszard Siwiec, the Polish man who set himself alight on September 12, 1968 in protest at his country’s participation in the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. The name of Ryszard Siwiec was unknown for decades after his self-immolation, as Poland’s communist government tried to erase his act from the public consciousness. A monument to the Polish protester was unveiled in 2010 in front of Prague’s Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.