Matiční gymnasium now with Rudolf Tlapák commemorative plaque

Matiční gymnasium now with Rudolf Tlapák commemorative plaque

The celebrations of the 750th anniversary of the first written mention of Ostrava are accompanied by a series of anniversaries revolving around number seven, including the 120th anniversary of the founding of Matiční grammar school in Ostrava. It was ceremonially opened as the first Czech high school in the Ostrava region on 16 September 1897. On Thursday, 28 September, a commemorative plaque of Rudolf Tlapák, organizer of the cultural life in the Ostrava region during the First Czechoslovak Republic and director of the grammar school, was unveiled on the corner of Matiční and Šmeralova Street. The place was symbolically named Tlapák’s corner as a reminder of the fact that Šmeralova Street used to be called Tlapákova. The commemorative plaque was created in the studio of Jaroslav Koléška from the University of Ostrava. The city of Ostrava contributed 135 thousand Czech Crowns to its creation. The ceremony was attended by Mayor of Ostrava Tomáš Macura.

Rudolf Tlapák was born on 27 August 1884 in Zaječice near Chrudim and came to Ostrava in 1905 to live with his beloved future wife. He started to teach in 1908. In the pre-war times, he was a member of the Sokol movement and organization Matice ostravská, and he spent the First World War in Russia, where after almost four years of imprisonment he joined the Czechoslovak legions. After his homecoming he returned to teaching, and in 1934, he became the director of the Czechoslovak gymnasium in Moravian Ostrava. His name is linked to activities in cultural and educational institutions, such as Public Masaryk University, Cultural Council for the Ostrava Region, Regional Group for Public Education, Central Library Board, Society for Construction and Maintenance of the Exhibition Hall, which was later renamed Art House Society, or Masaryk Aeronautical Society. Between 1924 and 1939, Tlapák acted as a chairman of the Moravian Ostrava branch of the Association of Czechoslovak Legionaries.

In September 1939 he was arrested for his national consciousness and political orientation, and he died in Oranienburg concentration camp near Berlin in October 1940. In 1948 he was awarded in memoriam the Czechoslovak War Cross 1939 by the President of the Republic. One of the streets in Ostrava Hrabůvka is named after him.