On October 28, 1939 (anniversary of the independence of the Czechoslovak Republic), there were anti-Nazi demonstrations and riots in Prague, which were suppressed by Nazi forces. Jan Opletal was seriously wounded by a shot to his stomach, and later died on November 11. His funeral on November 15, attended by several thousands of students, turned into another anti-Nazi demonstration. As a result, the Reichsprotektor (Nazi-representative in the puppet-state Bohemia and Moravia) Konstantin von Neurath closed all Czech universities and colleges, sent over 1200 students to concentration camps, and had nine students executed (on November 17).
Opletal's remains were transferred into his native village of Náklo in the Olomouc Region, where there is also a monument to him. Many Czech cities have streets named after him.