hucks216

Operation Anthropoid - Prague 2017

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ID: 1   Posted (edited)

Last week I took a 4 day break to visit some places in Germany & also Prague which is where I flew in to and out of. On the last day I went for a walk around that beautiful city to take in some of the WW-2 related sites such as those relating to Reinhard Heydrich and Operation Anthropoid. The first image is taken from Google Earth to show the lay out of the city in relation to some of the spots I visited. Unfortunately I didn't find out the location of the Gestapo HQ until after I got home and frustratingly at one point I was less than 200m from it when I took a coffee break! (As I missed it, it isn't shown on the image here and likewise for the 'Adolf Hitler' SS Kaserne which was across the river and just too far for me to get to in the time I had.)

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 The first place I visited was one that I had wanted to see for some time. I have been to Prague 3 times now but previously I never had time to explore so I wasted no time to go to the site of the attack on Reinhard Heydrich by the SOE trained Czech agents. The corner has been modernized since the war so the actual turn in the road where his car was blown up no longer exists and was between the current corner and the memorial statue.

These images show the memorial statue for the men involved in the planning and attack. What was interesting was something within the underpass next to the memorial. It serves no purpose that I could see and there are no plaques to tell what it is for but I have a theory that it is a memorial marker for the actual spot of the attack, either where the car was when attacked or where the bomb was thrown from. My thoughts were based on the location being halfway from the current corner and the memorial statue, the remains of what looks like the original road surface as seen in the photos of Heydrich's car and also the ripples on the top possibly symbolising the shock waves of a bomb blast. The underpass isn't well looked after with graffiti, a broken pushchair left on a walkway and broken bottles around the marker which is a shame if it is what I think it is.

 

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This Google Earth shot shows the area of the attack and the possible memorial marker can just be made out in the underpass to the left of the statue.

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After the attack, one of the agents ran off down the hill to the left where the butchers shop was located while Heydrich was rushed to the Bulovka Hospital. The first image is another Google Earth image showing the overall area while the photo shows the actual hospital that Heydrich was taken to, and it is still a hospital today.

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Moving on, this Google Earth image shows the main area of Prague with the relevant locations  The photo shows the Rudolfinum Concert Hall and it was here that on the night before he was attacked, Heydrich attended a performance of his late father's opera, Amen.

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These photos show a large building that is just behind the concert hall and while it is now a university, during the German occupation it was the Headquarters for the SS.

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The agents eventually sought to hide out in St Cyril and Methodius Cathedral until they could escape from the city. For anyone who has seen the films or knows the story, this is where they were located by the Germans and where the heroes met their end, in the crypt of the cathedral, but not before engaging the Germans sent in to capture them. In the first photo the entrance to the vault and crypt can be seen next to the white minivan. The outside of the crypt is now a memorial and the bullet marks are there for all to see.

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Edited by hucks216

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 Inside the cathedral you can see the restored balcony area where some of the SOE agents defended themselves against the Germans as they entered through the doorway. Unfortunately access to the actual balcony wasn't possible as the stairs were behind a locked gate.

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Inside the vault is a small museum which has some interesting items including some fixtures and fittings that were in the cathedral at the time of the attack and also the paybook of one of the Czech agents, Josef Gubcik.

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You then proceed through a doorway and in to the crypt itself which is very well presented. In the first photo you can see close up the part of the wall where they tried to knock their way through in an attempt to escape and I was surprised at just how much they had achieved with the basic tools they had. The second photo shows the opening which forms the memorial on the outside and where the water was pumped in from.

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The first photo here shows the opening in the roof of the crypt through which the agents first descended in to the crypt from the cathedral above with the help of a ladder. It is also where the Germans dropped smoke bombs through and where the Czech SOE agent turned traitor Karel Curda shouted out for the agents below to give themselves up.

The second image shows the steps which were originally covered by a large tombstone but down which the German's eventually entered the crypt, while the last image shows that tombstone with the damage caused by the Germans when they removed it.

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Finally, also within the crypt are busts of the heroes who were killed in the cathedral and crypt.

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Thanks for the interesting tour. This op has always interested me. I just watched the latest film, and while it a vast improvement on Operation Daybreak from the 70's (?), I have to say I found it pretty flat and uninspring as a piece of historical cinema. Just me?

These guys certainly deserve the memorials that have been put in place.

thanks again for the excellent virtual tour.

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I quite enjoyed the film to be honest. I thought  they did well to make Heydrich a marginal figure and concentrate on the agents and plan instead.

It is just a shame that Gabcik & Kubis are buried in unmarked graves. Not a fitting resting place if you ask me.

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Thank you for the tour!

Here is the description and symbolism of operation "Anthropoid" monument, erected 2009: https://www.praha8.cz/file/dOh/Anthropoid.pdf  Scroll for English.

The round stone is not part of the monument (at least according to the description). It existed at least from 2003 (checked historical Google Earth maps). It is not maked as a monument on the online resource I managed to find... Maybe it is just recreational object?

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8 minutes ago, Egorka said:

The round stone is not part of the monument (at least according to the description). It existed at least from 2003 (checked historical Google Earth maps). It is not maked as a monument on the online resource I managed to find... Maybe it is just recreational object?

Thank you for the link.

That is the thing with the round marker, there just isn't anything to say what it is or what it isn't. It could well be just a piece of modern art to liven up an otherwise ordinary underpass but being so close to the spot where the attack took place could be intentional.

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50 minutes ago, Jock Auld said:

Looks like you had some quality time Kev!

It was indeed a good 4 day break.

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