November 17th: International Students Day

Zum Hintergrund des International Students Day

November 17th is seen worldwide as the ‚International Students Day‘ because on this day in 1939 the Czechoslovakian students fell victim to the Nazis. On 17 November 1939 the Nazis stormed the dormitories of the University in Prague. More than 1200 students were send to concentration camps, 9 student representatives were executed on the spot, the university was shut down and the buildings were used by the German occupation forces. Students from all Europe fled to London and there the International Students Council, in accordance with the allies, declared 17 November as the ‚International Students Day‘.

Since then 17 November has marked important student events all over the world.

On 17 November 1973, the tanks and the armed forces of the Greek junta attacked the Greek students who barricaded themselves for four days and nights in the Technical University of Athens (Polytechneion). Nobody knows exactly how many students were killed during the attack or from the tortures during the following weeks. But, this uprising of the students was in fact the beginning of the fall of the dictatorship on July 1974. Because of this, in Greece, 17 November has officially been declared as the Day of the Greek Students.

On 17th of November 1989, fifty years after the Czechoslovakian students were suppressed by the Nazis, they rose up against another undemocratic government that wanted to suppress the students when they voiced their opinion and opposed the communist regime. This marks the start of the velvet revolution and in the end the regime fell. In both the Czech republic and in Slovakia the day is celebrated as the Struggle for Liberty and Democracy Day.

All these events are still inspiring students all over the world in their quest for truely democratic education and a democratic society. The International Students Day has become a symbol for the struggle of students all over the world.

Weitere Informationen findet Ihr auf den Seiten von ESIB. und auf den Seiten des Verbandes Schweizerischer StudentInnenschaften (VSS-UNES-USU) einem Partnerverband des fzs.