The 80th anniversary of Operation Anthropoid in Czech History

Today, eighty years ago, Reinhard Heydrich drove through Prague in an open-top Mercedes.

The 80th anniversary of Operation Anthropoid in Czech History

Today, eighty years ago, Reinhard Heydrich drove through Prague in an open-top Mercedes.

Heinrich Himmler's deputy and principal architect of Holocaust, Heydrich was also considered a potential successor to Adolf Hitler. Heydrich was also the acting Reichsprotektor for the Protectorate in Bohemia and Moravia.

Two British-trained paratroopers stepped onto the road as Heydrich's Mercedes drove through the district of Liben.

Jozef Gabcik (a Slovak) fired on the vehicle, but his gun jammed. Jan Kubis, a Czech companion, fired a grenade. Heydrich was injured when the grenade exploded underneath his car. The paratroopers managed to escape. Heydrich was taken to the hospital but died a week later from his injuries.

Hitler called Prague from his office and ordered the executions of 10,000 Czechs as a retaliation. Gabcik and Kubis, the murderers, were finally found at St Methodius and St Cyril in Prague. Gabcik committed suicide. Kubis was also killed.

The Nazis murdered an estimated 340 people in Lidice, near Prague, on June 10, believing they were part of a conspiracy. The entire village was set on fire, with all the male residents aged 14-84 being killed. The Nazis executed the same thing in Lezaky, central Ukraine, a few days later.

Today, Operation Anthropoid is firmly embedded in Czech national consciousness as the codenamed assassination attempt on one of the most senior Nazis.

Filip Kostelka, a professor from the European University Institute, said that "it is perceived as heroic and, together with the deeds the resistance movement, it's a source of pride." It helps to erase the humiliation caused by Czech passive submission to the Nazi occupation.

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the National Museum in Prague's opening of a new exhibit called "Nikdy se nevzdame!". This is the last cry that the paratroopers made before their deaths. A monument to Jindriska Nova, a 14 year old girl who helped hide Gabcik, Kubis, and Heydrich, will be unveiled in the capital.

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