The idea of creating a special mask was not new. In school, Olbram Zoubek had already constructed a tableau with face-prints of students and professors. The famous death mask of Jan Palach was inspired by impulse - he believed it was the best thing he could do for the brave student.
One of Czechoslovakia's most important contemporary sculptors, Olbram Zoubek was born on 21st April 1926 in Prague. As a student he fought on the barricades in Prague. After the war, he continued studying with Professor Josef Wagner at the School of Industrial Arts. Following graduation he began working as restorer and sculptor.
His work was influenced by a visit to Greece at the end of the 1950s, where he fell in love with ancient art. He knew he had chosen the right path when he saw the sculptures of the Swiss sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti. Giacometti's work, like that of Zoubek's, is characterized by abnormally elongated shapes.
He has two children from his first marriage to sculptor Eva Kmentova. His son Jasan is also a sculptor, following in his father's footsteps. In addition to Jan Palach's death mask, Zoubek is also famous for creating the death mask of Jan Zajic and the Monument to the Victims of Communism at Petřín in Prague. Zoubek currently lives in both Prague and Litomyšl and still works actively on his art.
The Faithful I Remain website captures authentic and unique testimonies from witnesses of Palach’s sacrifice and presents fascinating stories from people who were inescapably affected by political trials, Soviet occupation and the subsequent “normalization”.
We invited publicly known figures to share their recollections of an historic and challenging time, resulting in a series of interviews full of intimate memories, experiences and impressions that illustrate critical turning points in the period of Communist rule.
The website was created by 2FRESH for HBO Europe s. r. o. to support the Burning Bush, a three-part drama from world-renowned Polish director Agnieszka Holland.The project was completed with assistance from the Prague City Council and Mayor of Prague MUDr. Bohuslav Svoboda.
HBO Europe's three-part drama Burning Bush, directed by world-renowned Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, premiered on the HBO film channel on 27th January 2013.
Both the most extensive and ambitious project in the history of HBO Europe, the film recalls a period of Czech modern history which had been ignored in Czech cinema until now.
The film begins with the reconstruction of the shocking act of Jan Palach, who set himself on fire on 16 January 1969 in protest against the Soviet occupation
The story follows the young lawyer who represents Jan Palach’s mother against an influential Communist official and serves to describe the transformation of the Czechoslovak society at the time – from the silent protest culminating at Palach’s burial to growing resignation and the upcoming period of “normalization.”