Jakub Polák, doyen of the Czech anarchist scene, dies aged 60


Czech anarchist, Anti-Racist and Squatter Jakub Polak passed away after a long term illness last week on Tuesday 25th September. Jakub Polák was born in Czechoslovakia in 1952. He became a political dissident as a teenager during the Prague Spring (1968). Because of his political activity Jakub wasn’t allowed to study in university. This made him even more involved in the various underground and dissident movement activities.

Jakub Polák was actively participating in numerous anarchist activities after the fall of “Communist” regime in 1989. Polák Joined Left Alternative with other left oriented dissidents and members of the underground. Polák joined LA’s anarchist wing which shortly became an independent organisation called Československé anarchistické sdružení ČAS; transl. Czechoslovak Anarchist Association. In 1991 ČAS started publishing an anarchist magazine called A-KONTRA which became notorious amongst left wing oriented activists back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Polák remained involved with A-kontra until his final days.

Jakub was one of the first promoters of squatting in the former Czechoslovakia. He was actively involved in one of the first squats (Sochorka) back in 1990. Jakub was the last tenant resisting an eviction with other activists signing up for residency. The squat was resisting the organised attacks of right wing extremists and the outrage of Prague 7 authorities until 1997 when the city council decided to evict Sochorka. Squatters from Sochorka took defence positions barricading themselves inside with the wide support of other activists whom gathered outside. The police were unsuccessful, and the city council offered the squatters a deal. Squatters were allowed to move in to a different house called Papirna where the Anarchist magazine A-kontra had its office and press room until 2004.

A few months before his death, Polak was involved in the case of the relocation of inhabitants, moustly Roma from a house in Prednadrazi in Ostrava-Privoz, north Moravia.

To the general public Polák was well known for his anti-racist activities. Polák was enthusiastically defending the Roma community, in many cases he was acting as "attorney-in-fact," with numerous victims of racist and neo-Nazi attacks. Because of his involvement with the 1993 case of Tibor Danihel who drowned as a consequence of an attack by a group of Nazi-skinheads those Racist murders were brought to justice after never-ending appeals initiated by Polak himself. Polák was working as an editor for various Romani publications, including the Romano gendalos (transl. "Romani Mirror"), from 1993-1995, and with a news server Romea.cz until the end of his life.