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Dagmar Burešová

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Dagmar Burešová
Minister of Justice of Czechoslovakia
In office
Prime MinisterMarián Čalfa
Chairman of the Czech National Council
In office
Prime MinisterMarián Čalfa
Personal details
Born(1929-10-19)19 October 1929
Prague, First Czechoslovak Republic
Died30 June 2018(2018-06-30) (aged 88)
Prague, Czech Republic

Dagmar Burešová (19 October 1929 – 30 June 2018) was a Czech lawyer and politician. She specialised in labour law and her defence of Libuše Palachová, the mother of Jan Palach, was featured in the 2013 miniseries Burning Bush. As a politician, Burešová served as the first Minister of Justice of Czechoslovakia, after the Velvet Revolution. She was the chair of the Czech National Council from 1990 to 1992.

Personal life and death[edit]

Burešová was born in 1929 in Prague.[1] Burešová's father was a lawyer during the First Czechoslovak Republic.[2] She studied law at Charles University in Prague,[3] and during that time, she hid a classmate who had escaped from a communist prison.[4] She put her friend in touch with Petr Kopta [cs], who helped him flee to Munich, West Germany. A recount of the events was featured in Petr Toman [cs]'s book Advokáti proti totalitě (Lawyers Against Totalitarianism).[4]

In 1950, she married Radim Bureš, a paediatrician,[2] and they had two daughters.[1] Burešová's father-in-law was also a lawyer.[1] Her youngest daughter could not go to school due to Burešová's controversial work.[3]

Burešová died on 30 June 2018 after a long illness.[2]


As a lawyer, Burešová worked in labour law.[1] Her motto was "Cowardice should be a criminal offence."[2] She defended over 100 people who lost their jobs or were persecuted after the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.[1] She also later defended writer Milan Kundera, Ivan Medek, who later served under Czech Prime Minister Václav Havel,[5][6] Karel Kyncl [cs], and Libuše Palachová, the mother of Jan Palach.[2] Palachová wanted to posthumously clear her son's name after lies from Communist Party of Czechoslovakia member Vilém Nový [cs] about Palach's death.[3] After defending Palachová, Burešová was watched by the StB.[1] The case was featured in the 2013 three part miniseries Burning Bush.[7]

After the Velvet Revolution, Burešová served as the first Minister of Justice of Czechoslovakia, from 1989 to 1990.[5][8] Burešová supported judicial reform.[1] From 1990 to 1992, she was chairperson of the Czech National Council.[8] Between 1990 and 1991, Burešová held negotiations on a peace treaty and land division settlement between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. She initially opposed the idea of a treaty between the countries.[9][10]

In 1996, Burešová was a KDU-ČSL candidate for the Senate of the Czech Republic. She was not elected,[8] and was second of 10 candidates.[11] Burešová also worked as a chair of the Czech-German Fund for the Future, which gives money to Czechs who were affected by the Nazis,[8] and was the leader of the scouting organisation of Junák.[1][12]


In 2002, Burešová was awarded the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Palachovu matku jsem hodiny ubezpečovala o významu Janova činu, říkala Dagmar Burešová". ČT24 (in Czech). 18 January 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Zemřela "první dáma české justice" Dagmar Burešová. Statečné advokátce bylo 88 let". Aktuálně (in Czech). 2 July 2018. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Zemřela Dagmar Burešová. Advokátka, která hájila matku Jana Palacha i disidenty". (in Czech). 2 July 2018. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Hájila Palacha, riskovala život kvůli vězni. Burešová byla statečnější, než jsme tušili" (in Czech). 8 November 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b First post-communist justice minister Dagmar Burešová dies at 88
  6. ^ "Zemřela Dagmar Burešová. „Zbabělost by měla být trestná," říkávala advokátka disidentů i dělníků". Reflex (in Czech). 2 July 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  7. ^ Rich, B.Ruby (2014). Film Quarterly Spring 2014. University of California Press.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Dagmar Burešová: Life-long optimist". Prague Tribune. January 2003. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  9. ^ Bakke, Elisabeth; Peters, Ingo (2011). 20 Years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Transitions, State Break-Up and Democratic Politics in Central Europe and Germany. BWV Verlag [de]. pp. 165–168.
  10. ^ Ilie, Cornelia (2010). European Parliaments Under Scrutiny: Discourse Strategies and Interaction Practices. John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 279–281.
  11. ^ "Volby do Senátu Parlamentu ČR konané dne 15.11. – 16.11.1996" (in Czech). Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  12. ^ "V zámku a v podzámčí - skauti versus stát" (in Czech). un. 2002. Retrieved 30 April 2020.

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