Czech Republic - European Sabbatical

Operation Anthropoid in Prague

While in Prague we made sure to stop at the Sts Cyril and Methodius Church which houses the National Monument to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror.  The church was the last redoubt of the Czechoslovakian Resistance fighters after the successful assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in 1942.  The assassination was dubbed Operation Anthropoid and was depicted in the novel HHhH by Laurent Binet as well as the film Anthropoid.


Operation Anthropoid, Window where the Nazi's attempted to breach the Crypt
Window where the Nazi’s attempted to breach the Crypt.

National Monument to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror

Parachute and shovel belonging to the resistance fighters
Parachute and shovel belonging to the resistance fighters
Weapons that belonged to the resistance fighters
Weapons that belonged to the resistance fighters

The Monument was recently rebuilt and the information at the entry is really well done.  The Church above is still in use and is located very centrally in the city.  The crypt is completely accessible and quite moving.  There is a very detailed exhibit explaining the Czech experience which led to the Assassination of Heydrich and includes several artifacts of the resistance team.

Related: Sightseeing in Prague

The Parachutists

The resistance fighters are known as The Parachutists as they were parachuted into occupied Czechoslovakia in small teams with various missions to disrupt the Nazi occupying force.  The last team led by Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš were tasked with the ultimate task of assassinating Heydrich, dubbed Operation Anthropoid. You can easily see how these men more or less fought until the last bullet before killing themselves rather than be captured.  There were more than 750 German’s attempting to dislodge them from the crypt as well as the Prague Fire Department flooding the space with water.

Busts of resistance fighters Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš.
Bust of resistance fighter Adolf Opálka.
Monument to the resistance fighters.

In the Crypt there are busts of each of the resistance fighters who perished there as well as the stone tile that covered the entry stairwell into the space.

Operation Anthropoid, Stairs where Nazi's finally entered the crypt
Stairs where Nazi’s finally entered the crypt.

The stairwell was how the German’s eventually breached the crypt but by that point the resistance fighters had taken their own lives.  There were horrible reprisals for the families of these men, as well as the church leaders who helped shelter the men. Additionally, there were reprisals on the public, nearly 300 people were executed in the aftermath.  This act of resistance is considered a moment of national pride and the second birth of the Czech nation.

We visited by coincidence on National Day of the Czech Republic (which is like the 4th of July.) The monument had many visitors but was easily accessible (and for free.) It was really worth the visit to learn about Operation Anthropoid in Prague.


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