Prague's butcher and Operation Anthropoid


One of the things that fascinate me most in history is that which surrounds the Second World War and an example is the anthropoid operation. Not only because they learn from the atrocities that are committed in any war, the characters so picturesque that they appear, the technological advances that are developed or simply because we are very close. This and some other things make me research a little on the subject every time I visit a European city.Prague It is no exception and what has been experienced during the Second World War is worth visiting and remembering.

Anthropoid Operation: Visits with history in Prague

Before visiting the city of Prague, it occurred to me to read a little about the Anthropoid operation or Anthropoid. In fact, months before they had released the film Anthropoid about this same story and this only pointed out the main place where such an event occurred on my itinerary, the St. Cyril and Methodius church.

Visits with history, Prague and the anthropoid operation

The Anthropoid or Anthropoid operation

In the toughest years of World War II, Adolf Hitler put one of the most important people under his command, control over the regions of Bohemia and Moravia where the city of Prague was located. Your name, Reinhard Heydrich, a bloodthirsty SS Obergruppenführer or what is the same, a high-ranking general only below the head of the SS,Heinrich Himmler.

Reinhard Heydrich was sent to Prague by his immediate superior, Himmler, fed up with the soft hand of his former regent. It was a double game, firm Prague and at the same time take off a competent fort in order to replace Hitler.

It didn't take long until Heydrich lived up to his fame by being quickly nicknamed as the butcher of Prague. So serious were his atrocities that the british army He took action on the matter, training a group of Czechs, connoisseurs of local language and customs, to enter Prague and killReinhard Heydrich

Richard Heydrich - Wikipedia

The reaction of the British a priori might seem humanitarian but it had a political mark. The resistance was almost annihilated and the citizens of Prague gradually began to welcome Heydrich by offering employment and other benefits.Czechoslovakia He was an ally and that this change of side was something that could not be allowed.

Anthropoid did not start well. Two Czech commands, together with British soldiers, were launched by mistake 20 kilometers from Prague and under winter conditions of hell. Fortunately, after an odyssey of several days they arrived in Prague and contacted what was left of the resistance.

The resistance did not agree with the operation as this could bring numerous reprisals. However the decision came from very high and was already taken. Heydrich had to be killed under any circumstances.

Heydrich was a special guy. Such was his power and the fear he produced that he barely changed his itinerary every day and did not carry much escort either. In fact he used to go in his brand new Mercedes Benz convertible.

On May 27, 1942, Heydrich was heading to the offices as an ordinary day. Almost without an escort and at almost the same time as always. The Czech command was waiting for him and after a rocambolesco attack with high doses of stress, a grenade was thrown into Heydrich's car. The Mercedes-Benz convertible was hit by an armored door opening a large hole. Heydrich badly injured could escape.

Mercedes convertible from Heydrich

With the mind set on a failed attack and with all the S.S troops deployed in Prague in search of resistance, the entire Czech command took refuge in the St. Cyril and Methodius church. 48h passed until the news came that they were not expecting. Heydrich had died in the hospital because of the injuries suffered in the attack and Prague was upside down in the meantime.

Unfortunately a resistance contact betrayed them after seeing that the S.S was making mass executions. His idea was to stop them, but all he got was for them to assault the church and the rest of executions would continue.

A fierce struggle was lived in theSt. Cyril and Methodius church.At the beginning the battle took place in the main ship, until finishing several dead German soldiers and 2 of the rebels. The rest was in the crypt of the church, which the Germans detected after a few hours.

Anthropoid operation - Church of St. Cyril and Methodius

Knowing that they had no escape, they began shooting through a hole with no luck. The next idea was to drown them using this same hole through a hose connected to a fire truck. Several members of the resistance were killed and the rest shot by gunfire after flying the entrance hatch. However, the heroes of Prague had completed their mission successfully.

Anthropoid operation - Water inlet hole with shots

The church of St. Cyril and St. Methodius

TheSt. Cyril and Methodius church It has two access points. The one that takes us to the main entrance and another direct to the crypt, where the museum is reminiscent of the fallen soldiers on that sad night.

St. Cyril and Methodius Church - Source

The first room is informative. In it we will see in chronological order a series of photographs that tell the story of the butcher of Prague and his subsequent murder. In addition there are photographs of all members of the resistance group as well as a little history of each of them. The truth is that this part is really interesting and many people come here through guided groups to not miss any detail.

Visits with history, Prague and the anthropoid operation - Crypt

A door will take us to the crypt, preserved in perfect condition. It shows the hole through which the Germans introduced a hose to flood and makes us imagine such tragic images.

Visits with history, Prague and the anthropoid operation - Crypt Sale Prague About 5: 1 (Guides About Lonely Planet)
  • Marc Di Duca, Mark Baker, Neil Wilson
  • Publisher: GeoPlaneta
  • Issue no. 5 (06/03/2018)
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Practical data

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What time is the national monument to the heroes of the terror of Heydrich?

Monday is closed and the usual schedule is from 09:00 to 17:00. From November to February

How much does the visit cost?

The visit to the national monument to the heroes of the terror of Heydrich is free.

Nearby Tours

There is the option of the Prague Card, where you can access more than 50 places with savings and discounts.

See tour of the castle

What is the best way to arrive?

There are several tram stops very close to the church, such as lines 5,7,17 ​​and 25 attached to the Vltava river or lines 3,6,11,13,14,18,20,22,24,91-97, 99 on Karlovo Nám. It is easy to find since it is very close to this emblematic building, the Dancing House.

Visits with history, Prague and the anthropoid operation - Dancing House

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