Olga Hepnarová

Born on June 30th, 1951 - executed on March 12th, 1975, Prague

On July 10th, 1973, Olga Hepnarová, as a driver of a Praga RN lorry, wittingly drove into the people standing at a tram stop intending to kill as many of them as possible. Eight people died and eleven people were seriously injured. She was executed on March 12th, 1975.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is not just a letter, it is my declaration. I am writing it as I do not want you to depreciate what I am going to do. I do not want you to doubt about my sanity... I am going to steal a bus today and run into a crowd of people at full speed. It will happen somewhere in Prague 7. I intend to kill people. I know I will be on trial and punished".
(The letter written by O. Hepnarová, June 7th, 1973)

Three days later, Olga Hepnarová sends her letter to the editor's office of Svobodné slovo and Mladý svět magazines. The same day she does it. At about 13:45 o'clock, she rents a lorry and in Prague 7, Obránců míru Street (nowadays Milady Horákové Street), drives on the pavement in front of the house No. 9, which is used as a tram stop. About 25 people are waiting for their tram there. The number of people killed there might have been even higher. Motive: her hate for the society. The extensive enquiry excludes both the driver's and the car failure as well as her political motive.

Hepnarová is born to a well-off family. Her father works as a bank clerk, her mother si a dentist. Hepnarová is doing well at basic school. She grows older and she does not talk the same language with her parents and her heighbourhood as well. She can hardly approach people. She says, the world is her enemy. In June 1964 she takes pills in order to commit a suicide. She spends one year in mental home.

"It would be easy to leave this world as an unknown self-murderer. The society is too poshy and it is too difficult to judge... Here is my judgement: I, Olga Hepnarová, the victim of your beastliness, sentence you to death by runnig over."
(a paragraph from the letter written by O. Hepnarové on July 7th, 1973)

Hepnarová behaves in cool blood. When she arrives at her would-be scene of crime, she can see a tram standing at the tram stop and she is sure there are not enough people there. So, she just passes by. But a few minutes later, she returns to execute her judgement.

The scene of crime

The scene of crime

"There were no trams, no cars, nothing was in my way. I said to myself that was the right to do it. I drove on the pavement, went on and ran into the crowd of people knocking them down."(Hepnarová claims)

Although Hepnarová has a very experienced solicitor, she refuses to cooperate with him. She feels no sorrow over the crime. She insists on her sanity. When in court, she tries to make a speech accusing the society.

"If the society destroys individuals, individuals can destroy the society."

"I wanted to take my revenge on the society, including my family, because they are my enemy".

"Knowing that I managed to do it, I felt a kind of release and satisfaction."

(Excerpts from her statement)

On April 6th, 1974, the Municipal court in Prague finds Olga Hepnarová guilty for a eightfold murder and thus she is sentenced to death. Hepnarová accepts the sentence. Her mother initiates the appellate procedure at the Supreme Court. The sentence is confirmed. Because of the capital punishment, the Supreme Court of the Czechoslovak Socialistic Republic does the judicial review. The result is as follows: the court changes the eightfold murder into the endanger of public security. On March 3rd, 1975, Gustáv Husák, the President of the Czechoslovac Socialistic Republic, refuses her mother's plea for mercy.

"I am not affraid of the death sentence, I do accept it"
(Olga Hepnerová says after adjudgement and repeats it several times).

Olga Hepnarová was executed on March 12th, 1975 in Pankrác prison, Prague. She was terribly affraid of dying. She put up a physical resistance and she had to be dragged to the place of execution...

I myself am against hanging. It was me who hanged the beautiful woman. She had been driving around till there had been enough people at the tram stop. Enough for her to run them over... Before I dragged her to the scaffold and hanged her, she vomitted and made a mess in her pants in such a terrible way that I became disgusted with my job... That is why I am against the death sentence."
(the executioner describes hanging Hepnarová, written by B. Hrabal)

© Miloslav Jedlička, D. C. L.
Translated by inspector WO Pavel Vršovský, M. A.