Prague names two streets for freedom fighters murdered by Nazis

The Scholl siblings, both executed in their early 20s, opposed fascism during World War II; the Troja footbridge has also been given an official name.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 16.03.2021 15:04:00 (updated on 16.03.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague City Hall has given official names to new streets and a bridge. Two streets in Prague’s northern Čakovice district will be named for student resistance leaders Sophie and Hans Scholl, who were executed in Germany in 1943. A street extension in Žižkov was named for Olga Havlová, the first wife of late president Václav Havel, and the new footbridge at Troja got an official name.

The Scholls have no direct connection to Prague, but it is not unusual for streets to be named after people from abroad. The two streets in Prague 13 will be Sophie Schollové and Schollova.

Čakovice Mayor Jiří Vintiška suggested the names to Prague’s Topographical Commission on Jan. 21, and agreed that further street names in that part of the district will follow along a similar thematic line to give cohesion to the area. The two names were approved by the full City Council on March 15.

Sophie Scholl and her brother were involved in the White Rose resistance group, made of students the University of Munich. The group was nonviolent, and opposed the Nazi regime via anonymous leaflets and graffiti. They were responsible for distributing 15,000 copies of six different pamphlets. The first, circulated in 1942, drew attention to the mass deportations of Jews.

Several group members were arrested on Feb. 18, 1943, and faced show trials. Hans and Sophie Scholl, as well as another White Rose member named Christoph Probst, were executed by guillotine on Feb. 22, 1943.

Sophie Scholl would have turned 100 years old on May 9. She was 21 years old at the time of her execution, while Has Scholl was 24, and Christoph Probst was 23. Sophie’s last words have become famous over the years:

“How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”

This was not the only recent honor for Sophie Scholl. The European Parliament in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8 announced it would rename a building in Brussels after her. There are also many schools, streets, and squares named for her in her native Germany.

The street section named for Olga Havlová is just an extension of a street already named for her, Olgy Havlové, in the area around the Žižkov Freight Station (nákladové nádraží Žižkov). Earlier this year the city also announced a new bus stop on the street would also bear her name. Havlová was born and raised in Žižkov.

Finished Troja footbridge / via Raymond Johnston
Finished Troja footbridge . (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

The new footbridge at Troja will officially now be known as the Císařský ostrov (Imperial Island) footbridge. It had previously been designated as NN 2172, but people referred to it and its predecessor as the Troja footbridge. But there is another Troja Bridge, called Trojský most in Czech, nearby. It opened in 2014 and is used for car traffic, trams, and pedestrians. Clearly differentiating the two helps to end confusion.

The Císařský ostrov footbridge opened in October 2020. It replaced a bridge that collapsed in December 2017, injuring four people. The steel-reinforced structure has a service life of 100 years. The footbridge makes it possible to walk from Stomovka park to Prague Zoo, the Prague Botanical Gardens, and the Troja Chateau.

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