On Sept. 8, 1968, 59-year-old Ryszard Siwiec set himself on fire to protest the aggression of the Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact forces against Czechoslovakia, with the Polish hero performing his self-immolation at the 10th Anniversary Stadium in Warsaw during the Harvest Festival event.
An estimated 100,000 people were in the stadium and many hundreds surrounded Siwiec as he burned, but very few learned the reasoning behind his actions. Before he set himself on fire, the former soldier gave out several pamphlets criticizing the intervention in Czechoslovakia, but many at the stadium that day never received one.
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