Showing posts with label Czechoslovakia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Czechoslovakia. Show all posts

Prague in the Third Reich

Nazi Map of Prague
Although outside the intended scope of this site, I thought I'd add a page to Prague given the time I spent investigating its recent past associated with the Nazis.
One can't go anywhere in Prague without coming across such memorials to those killed in the last few days of the war. These, literally a corner from each, remember two killed on May 5, 1945.
Staromestske Namesti Then and Now 
Staromestske Namesti on that day and today
If hell on earth existed, than it existed in Prague after May the 5th. 1945. Old men, women and children were beaten to death and maimed. Rapes, barbaric cruelties, horror-scenarios of hellish proportions - here they had been let loose.
Luděk Pachman, Czechoslovak-German chess grandmaster, chess writer, and political activist.
Czech Invasion 1939 
German motorcycle division crossing the Charles Bridge March 15, 1939 in scenes Vladimir Putin's fascist regime is now re-enacting in 2014 using the same language Hitler had made earlier (replacing 'Germany' and 'Czechs' with 'Russia' and 'Ukraine':
- We will never attempt to subjugate foreign peoples. speech of May 27, 1933.

- We have no territorial claims to make in Europe. speech of March 7, 1936

- The German Reich Government shall thus unconditionally abide by the other articles governing the coexistence of the nations, including territorial provisions, and put into effect solely by means of peaceful understanding those amendments which become inevitable by virtue of the changing times. speech of May 21, 1935.

- It is the last territorial demand I shall make in Europe... I repeat here before you, once this issue has been resolved; there will no longer be any further territorial problems for Germany in Europe! speech of September 26, 1938.

- We do not want any Czechs at all. ibid.
Swastika Charles Bridge 
Looking towards St. Vitus cathedral from the bridge

Wenceslas Square
Wenceslas Square Then and Now
The feelings of Czechs as the Germans annexed their country can clearly be seen in their expressions of hatred and anger
Left: Outside the Bata shop where the Gestapo displayed evidence and the offer of a reward for information leading to the assassins of Reinhard Heydrich (see below). Right: Makeshift memorial to the victims of communism at the site where student Jan Palach set himself on fire to protest the regime.
The Old Town Square when the Germans entered in 1939 and in the last days of the war and today.
Nazis Swastikas Tyne Church 
Tyne Church unter dem hakenkreuz and today
Jan Hus Memorial Then and Now
The Jan Hus Memorial at the Prague Old Town Square during the occupation and today

Deutsches Theatre (Prague State Opera)
Prag Deutsches Theatre Einst und Jetzt
In the 1930s, with the growing Nazi threat, the New German Theatre in Prague was among the bastions of democracy, serving as a refuge for artists fleeing from Germany. Political developments shortly before signing of the Munich Agreement along with financial problems however led the German Theatre Association to close the theatre in September 1938. The Czechoslovak state expressed an interest in the building. But the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939 and establishment of the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia" thwarted its plans. Under the new title Deutsches Opernhaus, the theatre served for political assemblies of the Nazi Party, and for the occasional guest presentations by ensembles from the Reich.

Former Gestapo HQ
The Gestapo headquarters of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was seated in this building, the Petschek Palace, during the war where many Jews and suspected members of the resistance were interrogated and tortured. Today it is used by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
A plaque attached on the outer wall commemorates the Gestapo victims who were murdered in this building whilst inside implements of torture are kept on display.

Hradcany Castle

Hitler at Hradcany Castle 
Standing where Hitler set up German headquarters.
At 2:03 P.M. Hitler’s train reached the little Bohemian frontier station of Leipa, where Panzer Corps Commander General Erich Hoepner awaited him with Colonel Erwin Rommel (who was to command the ‘Führer HQ’). To the consternation of Himmler and the security staff, Hitler decided to drive right on to Prague. At four P.M. the frontier barrier was raised for him to cross into Czecho-Slovakia, and in a snowstorm his convoy headed on to the capital. He stood in his open car, saluting as he passed his regiments. It was dusk when he arrived in Prague. At first nobody knew where Hácha’s official residence, the Hradcany Castle, was. Hitler’s drivers finally entered it through a gate in the rear. A palace flunky was found to guide them to a wing where these unexpected visitors might sleep, but Hitler did not rest yet. He began dictating a law establishing a German ‘Protectorate’ over Bohemia and Moravia. At two in the morning a cold buffet arrived, provided by the local German Centre. There was Pilsen beer: Hitler was prevailed upon to sample a small glass but he grimaced, did not finish it, and went to bed. The first that the citizens of Prague knew of his presence in their midst was next morning, when they espied his personal swastika standard beating from a flagpole atop the snow-bedecked palace roofs.
from David Irving's Hitler's War and The War Path, page 162
Hitler is shown addressing a crowd from a second-floor window. Hitler's invasion took place after having repeatedly pledging himself and his movement to respect the right to self-determination of other ethnic groups:
   We will never attempt to subjugate foreign peoples. speech of May 27, 1933. 
   We have no territorial claims to make in Europe. speech of March 7, 1936 
   The German Reich Government shall thus unconditionally abide by the other articles governing the coexistence of the nations, including territorial provisions, and put into effect solely by means of peaceful understanding those amendments which become inevitable by virtue of the changing times. speech of May 21, 1935. 
   It is the last territorial demand I shall make in Europe... I repeat here before you, once this issue has been resolved; there will no longer be any further territorial problems for Germany in Europe! speech of September 26, 1938. 
   We do not want any Czechs at all. ibid.
Heydrich at Hradcany Castle Then and Now
Heydrich taking up his position as 'protector' of Bohemia and Moravia

The Protectorate government was required to attend Heydrich's funeral. Remarkably, David Irving actually claims that Heydrich had been genuinely mourned by the Czech population:
Surprisingly, the ‘protectorate’ brought blessings for the Czechs as well. Their economy was stabilised and unemployment vanished. Their menfolk were not called upon to bear arms in Hitler’s coalition. Their armed forces were dissolved, and their officers were given state pensions on Hitler’s orders, to purchase their dependence and complicity. The industrious Czechs accepted rich contracts from the Reich and learned eventually to cherish the pax teutonica enforced by Reinhard Heydrich in 1941. It was the peace of the graveyard, but Heydrich won the affection of the Czech workers to such an extent – for instance, by introducing the first ever Bismarckian social security and pension schemes – that 30,000 Czechs thronged into Wenceslas Square in Prague to demonstrate against his murder in 1942. The Czechs had not been required to sell their souls, and this was what Hitler had promised Hácha in Berlin. Hácha himself never felt any grievance. He inquired of Morell about the prescription he had been injected with and thereafter obtained a regular supply from Morell’s pharmacy. He would die, forgotten, in an Allied prison in 1945; Tiso and Tuka were bo th hanged.
   (163) Hitler's War

Operation Anthropoid
On May 27, 1942, at 10:30 AM, Obergruppenführer-ϟϟ Reinhard Heydrich proceeded on his daily drive from his home in Paneneske Brezany to Prague Castle. Warrant Officer Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš waited at the tram stop on the curve near Bulovka Hospital. Valčik was positioned about 100 metres north of Gabčík and Kubiš as lookout for the approaching car. As Heydrich’s open-topped Mercedes-Benz approached, Gabčík stepped in front of the vehicle, trying to open fire, but his Sten gun jammed. Heydrich ordered his driver, ϟϟ-Oberscharfuehrer Klein, to stop the car. When Heydrich stood up to try to shoot Gabčík, Kubiš threw a grenade at the vehicle, and its fragments ripped through the car’s right-rear fender, embedding shrapnel and fibres from the upholstery into Heydrich’s body. Kubiš was also injured by the shrapnel. Heydrich, apparently unaware of his shrapnel injuries, got out of the car, returned fire and tried to chase Gabčík but soon collapsed. Klein returned from his abortive attempt to chase Kubiš, and Heydrich ordered him to chase Gabčík. Klein was shot twice by Gabčík (now using his revolver) and wounded in the pursuit.

The assassination site is located at V Holesovickach at the junction with Zenklova; today this bizarre memorial marks the site.

Heydrich was taken here to Bulovka Hospital where, after a week when his condition appeared to be improving, he collapsed whilst eating lunch and went into shock, dying the next morning. His physicians concluded that he had died from infection of his wounds. On the right is the stamp issued on the first anniversary of Heydrich's death, June 4, 1943 on the commission of Karl Hermann Frank. The design is taken from the death mask of Heydrich created by Berlin Professor Franz Rotter.
Heydrich's coffin in Bulovka hospital
Heydrich's coffin in Bulovka hospital, attended by an ϟϟ honour guard
You can download a scanned copy of Reinhard Heydrich - Ein Leben der Tat (Walter Wannenmacher, 1944)

During the savage repression unleashed by the Nazis immediately after the assassination, the paratroopers – thanks to the representatives of the Orthodox Church – found safe refuge in the Church of Ss. Cyril and Methodius (during the Occupation it was known as St. Charles Borromeo) in Resslova Street in Prague. Under the pressure of the raids all seven paratroopers staying in Prague eventually gathered in the church building: Josef Bublík, Josef Gabčík, Jan Hrubý, Jan Kubiš, Adolf Opálka, Jaroslav Švarc and Josef Valcík. The combination of terror generated by the massacre of entire families and the annihilation of Lidice, and the promise of pardons and huge financial rewards, eventually bore results. The paratrooper Karel Curda from the OUT DISTANCE unit, who left Prague immediately after the assassination and hid out with his mother in Nová Hlína near Trebon, finally gave in to his own fear and the reproaches of those closest to him. He betrayed. First, on June 13, 1942, he wrote a traitorous letter in which he identified Gabcík and Kubiš as the assassins. When the expected reaction did not materialize, he personally set out for Prague on 16 June 1942, and, shortly before noon, reported to the Gestapo administrative headquarters in Petschek Palace. There he caused a sensation with his all-encompassing testimony, because up to that point, all of the Nazis’ efforts to find the assassins had proved fruitless. Curda betrayed to the Gestapo everyone he knew personally who had assisted the paratroopers, not only in Prague but in Pardubice, Lázne Belohrad and Pilsen. Through his betrayal he caused the deaths of dozens of patriots and their families. The very next morning, the Gestapo began extended raids on the apartments of the people who had assisted the paratroopers. The first in line was the Moravec family in Biskupcova Street in Prague. More and more patriots followed. By using the most brutal interrogation techniques, the Gestapo succeeded in the afternoon of June 17, 1942, in finding out where the paratroopers were hiding. At 3:45 am on June 18, 1942, the Commander of the ϟϟ forces in Bohemia and Moravia, ϟϟ-Brigadeführer Karl von Treuenfeld, issued an order to the Reserve Battalion Deutschland and the Guard Battalion Prag to surround the area around the Church of Ss. Cyril and Methodius. The inner and outer perimeters closed at 4:15 a.m.
Church of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Then and Now
The church surrounded by German soldiers in 1942 and me standing in front today.
The inner sanctum where Adolf Opálka, Josef Bublík and Jan Kubiš were keeping guard in the gallery and the choir.
German soldiers and fire brigade members try and flood the crypt
The same spot today with a memorial to the heroes.

The attackers tried to reach the choir through a narrow staircase, defended by the gunfire of Adolf Opálka. There is a museum inside the church dedicated to them as national heroes.
The dead laid out for identification by Karel Čurda, a former member of the OUT DISTANCE unit who had left Prague immediately after the assassination and hid out with his mother in Nová Hlína near Třeboň, was captured by the Gestapo and betrayed the names of the team’s local contact persons for the bounty of 1 million Reichsmarks. I'm standing on the site today
Kubis and Gabcik
Kubis and Gabcik, and their severed heads presented to their relatives. The heads of Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis were preserved whole, while the flesh of the other five heads was removed and the heads made into skulls. None knows the final fate of the heads, although it is likely that the Nazis cremated them in Strasnice crematorium shortly before the War ended. The director of Strasnice crematorium described how one day several SS men arrived with several barrels full of human heads and tossed them into the furnace like footballs. He also mentioned that one of the heads looked very much like that of bishop Gorazd who was executed after Heydrich's assassination. More than 1350 people were executed in the aftermath of the assassination, and hundreds died during interrogation. The villages of Lidice and Lezaky were levelled after all male inhabitants were shot and women and children deported.
First Lieutenant Adolf Opálka
Between 1937 and 1938 First Lieutenant Adolf Opálka studied at the Military Academy in Hranice and graduated with the rank of Lt. of Infantry. In July 1939 he left for France through Poland, served in the Foreign Legion in Sidi bel Abbes ́and later in Oran. He enlisted in Agde in September 1939. He progressively went through all the regiments of the 1st Czechoslovak Division. He participated in battles on the French front. Upon arrival in Britain he served in a machine gun company. He volunteered for missions behind enemy lines. He was sent to the occupied homeland as a commander of OUT DISTANCE. He established contact with Capt. A. Bartoš, whereupon he was sent to Prague to become the Commander of the “Prague Paratroopers”. He participated in preparations of Heydrich’s assassination. He died in the Church on Resslova Street when, finding himself in a hopeless situation with a shattered-bone fracture in his right arm, he took poison and simultaneously ended his life with a pistol shot to the left temple.
Josef BublíkJaroslav Švarc
Sergeant Cadet Josef Bublík (left), wounded by many fragments, ended his life with a bullet from his own pistol. Staff Sergeant Jaroslav Švarc (right) took poison and simultaneously ended his life with a shot from his pistol.
 Jan HrubýJosef Valcík
Sergeant Jan Hrubý (left) ended his life with a shot from his 9 mm Browning pistol whilst Second Lieutenant Josef Valcík (right) ended his life with a pistol shot.
One can enter the crypt where the last moments of the siege took place. The tombs intended for coffins became the last refuge of the paratroopers. In the hopeless situation they all chose a heroic death. The two photos on the right I took show busts of the seven martyrs, and the hole they tried to dig to escape

The ventilation window as seen from inside the crypt
Across from the church/museum is this restaurant that doubles as a shrine.

First time I've had a pint under the saluting images of top ϟϟ officials and Nazi posters
After the assassination the parachutists were looked after by families. Here plaques can be seen honouring the Moravec family on Biskupcova 7 and Jan Zelinky on Biskupcova 4. The apartment of the Moravec family was the paratroopers’ main Prague sanctuary. It was located at 1795/7 Biskupcova Street (Biskupec Strasse). Marie Moravcová was able to obtain aid for the paratroopers through former colleagues from the Volunteer Sisters of the Czech Red Cross. Her son Vlastimil acted as a messenger for the paratroopers and was actively involved in setting up of the assassination. Her second son, Miroslav, fought as a pilot of the No 310 (Czechoslovak) Fighter Squadron in Britain; he died on June 7, 1944 in a plane crash. Marie Moravcová committed suicide during her arrest by the Gestapo on June 17, 1942. Vlastimil Moravec and his father Alois were executed in Mauthausen on October 24, 1942.
Jan Zelenka-Hajský was one of the leading supporters of the paratroopers. This teacher, a former station leader of the Krušnohorská Sokol Group and a member of the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service, unreservedly supported plans to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich. Along with his son, Jan Milíce, and his wife, Františka, he helped the paratroopers in every way possible, and supplied them with accommodation in his apartment at 1837/4 Biskupec Street(across from Moravec’s apartment). Jan Zelenka and his son, Jan Milíce, committed suicide on June 17, 1942. Františka Zelenková was executed in Mauthausen on October 24, 1942.
Hitler ordered the ϟϟ and Gestapo to “wade in blood” throughout Bohemia to find Heydrich’s killers. More than 13,000 people were ultimately arrested. The most notorious incident was in the village of Lidice, which was destroyed on June 9, 1942: 199 male residents were executed, 95 children taken, 8 of which were taken for adoption by German families, and 195 women arrested
Nerudova ulice and Mariánské námestí then and now
 Church of St. Norbert and Celetná ulice

The Hotel Flora, formerly at Schwerinstraße 121, now Vinohrdska 121 

Vitkov National Memorial
The National Liberation Memorial was built between 1928 – 1938 in honour of the Czechoslovakian legionaries and later extended after the war to commemorate the anti-Nazi resistance. After 1948, it was used to promote national ideology and regime. Prominent representatives of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia were buried here:
The mausoleum of Klement Gottwald was established here in 1953. After 1989, all of the remains buried here were taken away; his nondescript grave can be seen below. After over two years of reconstruction, the Memorial was opened to the public on October 29, 2009.

The Munich Agreement
A Czech television commercial featuring a cleaner with a strong sense of memory.

Prague Military Museum (Armadni Muzeum)

Beside a T-34 tank at the entrance whilst inside one of Heydrich's Mercedes 320 Convertible B cars, similar to the one in which he was mortally wounded, is exhibited. 

Other exhibits pay tribute to the British Empire and its allies against worldwide fascism

Jewish Ghetto
Pinkas Synagogue Then and Now
The Pinkas Synagogue, dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust from Bohemia and Moravia.
Maisel and Klausen synagogues
The Maisel Synagogue where Hitler intended to establish his "Museum of the Extinct Race" and on the right the Klausen synagogue, the largest in the ghetto and the seat of Prague´s Burial Society.

The Old Jewish Cemetery, the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe, is located on a small plot of land between the Pinkas Synagogue and the Klausen Synagogue. Because the cemetery was only capable of holding around ten percent of the amount of Jews buried there, the graves spanned about twelve tombs deep. The most famous tomb belongs to Rabbi Loew, legendary creator of the Golem. Surprisingly, the cemetery and ghetto itself would not be intact today, if Hitler hadn't ordered it to be saved to serve as part of a museum after all the Jews were extinguished.

Olšany Cemeteries
Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery

264 soldiers are buried here, the majority of which - 188 graves - were members of the ground forces captured by the Germans who died in prisoner-of-war camps. The cemetery also holds the graves of 39 airmen who died in the area during the period of November 1 - 3, 1944 while they were supplying weapons and material to the Warsaw Uprising. Besides the 198 British graves are those from the Empire of Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Cypriots, and one Indian. The graves were brought into the cemetery from 73 small cemeteries scattered all over the Czech Republic. Many of those buried here died as Prisoners of War. There are also eight Polish war graves. At the entrance is the inscription: "The land on which this cemetery stands is the gift of the people of Czechoslovakia for the perpetual resting place of the sailors, soldiers, and airmen who are honoured here." The British had to trust the communist regime to establish this cemetery along their plans.
The stones differ in colour to those usually found in CWGCs as seen in my other site Echoes of war.

Soviet Cemetery

Prague Soviet Cemetery  
This graveyard holds the remains of 436 Soviet soldiers, among them soldiers of the First Ukranian Front under Generals Jeremenko, Rybalko and other commanders, who liberated Prague under the command of Marshall Konjev.
Left: Memorial to Bulgarian soldiers who were killed in the liberation of Prague in May 1945. Right: Memorial to the members of the First Czechoslovak Army Corps in the USSR who died after the war as a result of wounds.
A remarkable set of graves belonging to members of the Roesskaja Osvoboditelnaja Armija (Russian Liberation Army), established by Russian officers whilst in German captivity under former Red Army general Andrey Vlasov, who tried to unite anti-communist Russians opposed to the communist regime and wanting to liberate Russia from the Stalin dictatorship. During the Prague uprising of 1945, the ROA was thrown in battle by the Germans against Czech insurgents. At the most critical moment of the battle, the ROA turned on the Germans and joined the insurgents.The former soviet soldiers soon left the city towards west to escape future Russian captive. Nevertheless they were handed over to the Soviets by he American army and shot in the woods around Prague.
Left: Jan Palach's grave. Right: Klement Gottwald's, a far cry from his previous resting place

New Jewish Cemetery
A couple of the many such memorials found on the south wall of the cemetery.
Franz Kafka's Grave. A Jewish German in Czechoslovakia, he would not be recognised until after his death. The plaque below the grave commemorates his three sisters, victims of the Holocaust.

Near Kafka's grave to the east of the cemetery is this forlorn area that should give even Holocaust-deniers pause for thought- a large area left unfilled by the generation that had been annihilated by the Nazis. If no Holocaust, where are the missing graves?

Cernínský Palác

Cernínský Palác Then and Now
This was the seat of the Reich Protector from 1939 to 1944. After the war, foreign minister Jan Masaryk (son of Czechoslovakia's first president) lived in a flat on the top floor of the palace. On March 10, 1948 he was found dead in the courtyard below his window, assumed to have been defenestrated, paving the way for forty more years of oppressive rule.

Jan Masaryk’s limp body, shown here lying in state, was discovered wearing his silk pyjamas. Despite the frigid temperatures on this winter morning, a single window two stories up, above the body, was wide open, and seemed to indicate whence Masaryk had fallen. In the tradition of Prague’s gruesome defenestrations dating back to the beginning of the 15th century, he was most likely thrown from the window.When the communists, under their chairman and prime minister, Klement Gottwald, started to lose support, they acted quickly with the help of the Soviet Union and seized power in a stunning coup at the end of February 1948. Within two weeks, Masaryk was found dead, and the country was quickly disabused of any notion that the communists would behave any less brutally than the Soviets under Stalin. Masaryk’s funeral took place three days later, and was attended by President Edvard Beneš, for all intents and purposes a lame duck who no longer wielded much power and had suffered two strokes the year before, who would resign his post less than three months later.
Across from the building (now serving the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is this statue of Beneš. Both men received a state funeral, though under very different circumstances. While resistance within Czechoslovakia was neither intense nor extensive, Edvard Beneš successfully established a very active Czech government in exile in London. In Great Britain, Beneš formed a Czech legion, a unit of brigade strength, consisting of 5,000 men equipped with tanks, which served in the Normandy landings (D- day) and in subsequent engagements. Three Czech fighter squadrons and one Czech bomber squadron flew with the Royal Air Force, and Czech intelligence operatives served with the British throughout the war. In July 1941, the Beneš's government concluded a treaty with the Soviet Union by which the USSR recognized the legitimacy of the government in exile and, with the United States and Great Britain, upheld its status as an Allied power.
Alan Axelrod (263) Encyclopedia of World War II Bavaria's state premier Edmund Stoiber said at a meeting of the Sudeten German Landsmanschaft that the statue was a provocation given the so-called Beneš decrees which formed a legal basis for the expulsion of over 2.5 million Sudeten Germans from post-war Czechoslovakia.

Former Site of World's Largest Statue of Stalin
Stalin's Monument was a massive granite statue honouring Stalin, unveiled in 1955 after more than 5½ years of work. It was the world's largest representation of Stalin, and was destroyed in 1962. The monument was located on a huge concrete pedestal, which can still be visited in Letna Park and was the largest group statue in Europe, measuring 15.5 metres in height and 22 metres in length. The sculptor was Otakar Scec who, under pressure from the government and secret police whilst receiving hate mail from Czech citizens, killed himself three weeks before the unveiling. The process of deStalinisation began shortly after the unveiling of the monument. The monument, therefore, became an increasing source of embarrassment to the Czech Communist Party which blew it up with 800 kg of explosives.
In 1996 the pedestal was briefly used as a base for a 35 foot statue of Michael Jackson whose ego at the time rivalled that of Stalin's at the height of the latter's Personality Cult as a promotional stunt for the start of his HIStory European tour.
Then and now, standing in front of the site November 2010

Paying my respects at Winston Churchill Square

Winston Churchill’s statue is located at Winston Churchill’s square Zizkov district in front of the Prague Economic University. This statue is a replica of the statue of Sir Winston Churchill by Belsky from 1969 that stands in London’s Parliament Square and it was unveiled in Prague on 17 November 1989. In the opening ceremony of his monument in Prague there were many the guests including former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Czech Chamber of Deputies Chairman Vaclav Klaus and Churchill’s grandson, Rupert Soames. The statue of Churchill reminds us that the price of freedom can be high, that it may indeed require the sacrifice of “blood, toil, tears and sweat” and that liberty must never be allowed to perish from the earth; it must forever endure.

Throughout Prague are found numerous references to the saviour of Western civilisation.
рейхсканцелярия Фюрербункер Καταφύγιο του Χίτλερ 総統地下壕 제1차 세계 대전 제2차 세계 대전 홀로코스트 뉘른베르크 전범 재판 하인리히 히믈러 나치 신나치주의 신비주의 히틀러 암살 미수 사건 독일 에바 브라운 겔리 라우발 브론 location of hitler's bunker    “body man”K元首地堡 Michal BURIAN, Aleš KNÍŽEK Jiří RAJLICH, Eduard STEHLÍK PRAGUE 2002Jaroslav Tvrdík Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic 3 march 1938 – september 1941 Czechoslovak Republic march – september 1938 The year 1938 found the Czechoslovak Republic standing at a fateful crossroad. In the first few weeks of that year it was becoming obvious that Hitler’s Germany had decided once and for all to solve the problem of its southeastern neighbour. After the “Anschluss”(annexation) of Austria, on March 12, 1938, the Czechoslovak Republic’s already incredibly complicated strategic situation dramatically deteriorated. Only five weeks later Adolf Hitler, together with top commanding officers, devised a detailed plan of attack on Czechoslovakia code-named “Fall Grün” (The Green Plan). Simultaneously in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), Konrad Henlein publicly proclaimed his party’s demands for Federative Autonomy at the Sudeten-German Party Congress, (Sudetendeutsche Partei, henceforth SdP). He did this exactly in line with the strategy he had devised in detail with Adolf Hitler at a meeting in Berlin on March 28, 1938, and a day later with the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. It was decided at these meetings that the SdP would make entirely unacceptable demands of the Czechoslovak government. This was designed to lead to an escalation of international political tension and mutual confrontation. And this is precisely what happened. On Friday, May 20, 1938, the Czechoslovak government reacted to news of German military units moving towards Czech borders by summoning the first year of army reserves, closing its state borders and placing the air force on alert. In the evening of the same day the military high command was put on a ‘state of alert’. Throughout the night border posts and fortified gun placements were manned. For a while, these unexpected military measures - despite being recalled later - impressed the domestic enemy led by the SdP. Then came that fatal September. The enthusiasm with which the army reservists joined their units after the announcement of general mobilization, on September 23, 1938, testifies to the readiness with which the country and the Czechoslovak Army were ready to defend the Republic. During the first weeks the Czechoslovak Armed Forces were able to mobilize almost their entire first and second waves of reserves. At the end of September the Czechoslovak Army, ready to face the enemy, had at its disposal forty divisions and two brigades supported by artillery, air force, tank units, and lines of border fortifications. But instead of receiving a command to fight, they were ordered to capitulate and withdraw from the border. 6 october – november 1938 Czechoslovak Republic On September 28, 1938, news reached Prague of the approaching “Four Power Conference” in Munich, to be attended by Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Edouard Daladier, and Neville Chamberlain. This information was not received with much enthusiasm at a time when no one even remotely suspected the extent of the tragic consequences this meeting would have for the Czechoslovak Republic. The outcome of the conference was announced before midnight on Thursday, September 29. Although the negotiations had not finished, the result was an order to hand the disputed borderlands over to Germany. The order came into effect between October 1 and 10, 1938. The government – ignoring insistent pleas by the Czechoslovak generals and certain representatives of several political parties – in the end accepted the outcome of the Munich Agreement. Soon after the units of the German Armed Forces crossed the border, Adolf Hitler made a triumphant visit to the border areas (pictured above). At the same time (October 5, 1938), President Dr. Edvard Beneš handed in his resignation and, on October 22, accompanied by his wife Hana, he flew from Prague to England (see next picture). In Vienna 11 days later, (November 2, 1938), Joachim von Ribbentrop and the Italian Foreign Secretary, Count Galeazzo Ciano, presented final statements concluding the lengthy arbitration on the Czechoslovak-Hungarian border, making Hungary the beneficiary. The Viennese arbitration simultaneously finalized the division of post-Munich Czechoslovakia. As a result of these land divisions, Czechoslovakia lost 41,098 km2 of state territory, along with 4,879,000 of its citizens. Yet there were more changes to come. On November 19 the National Assembly declared Slovakia and Carpathian Russia autonomous. The official name of the state was changed to Czecho-Slovak Republic. On Wednesday, November 30, 1938, the National Assembly elected the Supreme Court President, Judge Emil Hácha (in the centre of the picture), as President of the Republic. He was accompanied to Parliament by Army General Jan Syrový (on his left). EMIL HÁCHA (12. 7. 1872–1. 6. 1945) Between 1898-1916: official of the Bohemian Land Committee. 1916- 1918: at the Supreme Executive Court, Vienna. 1919-1925: Second President of the Supreme Executive Court, Czechoslovak Republic (CSR). 1925-1938: First President of the Supreme Executive Court, Czechoslovak Republic. Associate Professor of Comparative Law, Charles University, Prague. November 1938-March 1939, President of the CSR. On March 15, 1939, he was brutally forced to declare the acceptance of the Republic’s occupation by Germany. Thereafter, until May 1945, formally President of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. From 1941 maintained contacts with E. Beneš; forced into isolation after the arrest of A. Eliáš. Due to poor health, he gradually became a puppet in the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. Arrested after liberation, he died in custody in Pankrác prison. 7 Czecho-Slovak Republic march 1939 During the night of March 14-15, 1939, at a meeting with President Emil Hácha, Adolf Hitler handed down an ultimatum stating that the German Army would enter Bohemia and Moravia (the Czech Lands) at six a.m. the following morning. Under massive pressure and threats, President Hácha finally gave in and “entrusted the fate of Bohemia and Moravia to the hands of the Führer”. A day earlier, the Slovak senate had voted for the establishment of a new independent state of Slovakia. A group of 11 intelligence officers, headed by GS Colonel František Moravec, left the country on the eve of the Nazi invasion, taking with them part of the precious archives of the General Staff’s 2nd Department to London. On Thursday, March 16, 1939, in Prague, Adolf Hitler issued a decree establishing the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Hitler was accompanied on a sightseeing tour of the capital by Heinrich Himmler and 35-year-old Reinhard Heydrich. Two days later Hitler named Baronet Konstantin von Neurath Protector of the Reich’s Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (pictured below on his arrival in Prague). Karl Hermann Frank was appointed his deputy in the role of State Secretary. 8 march – june 1939 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia KONSTANTIN VON NEURATH (2. 2. 1873–14. 8. 1956) Foreign Service officer from 1901. 1914–1916: Ambassadorial Attaché in Turkey; 1919–1922: German Ambassador in Denmark. 1922–1930: German Ambassador in Italy, 1930–1932 German Ambassador in Britain. From 1932 Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs. Joined the NSDAP in 1937. From 1938 Reich Minister without portfolio. On March 18, 1939, became Reich Protector of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and remained formally in this post until 1943. In September 1941 released on leave of absence for “convalescence”, to be substituted by R. Heydrich and then K. Daluege as his acting deputies. In 1943 appointed SS- Obergruppenführer. In 1946 sentenced to 15 years in prison in Nuremberg. Released in November 1954 for health reasons. On March 21, 1939 the Nazi occupation authorities issued a decree on the use of German as the official language in the Protectorate. From that day on, all signs on public buildings and official documents were to be bilingual. Five weeks later (April 27, 1939) a new Protectorate government was named, headed by the new Prime Minister, former Division General Alois Eliáš. Outwardly appearing to cooperate with the Germans, he in reality kept close ties with resistance representatives as well as former President Dr. Edvard Beneš’ government in exile. By a Reich Protector Decree of June 21, 1939, some of the Nuremberg anti-Semitic laws were enacted in relation to property held by Jews. On July 4, 1939, the Protectorate government joined in with its own directive, adjusting the legal status of Jewish citizens in public life. 9 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia 1939–1940 From the opening days of the occupation various illegal organisations sprang up, the most significant of which was the “Nation’s Defence”, which consisted mostly of former professional soldiers and reserve officers. Other organizations included “Political Headquarters” and “The Petitionary Committee Faithful We Shall Remain”. As early as March 1939 the first issue of an important clandestine magazine “To Fight!” was published. The German security forces did not sit idly by. As early as August 25, 1939, the Gestapo broke up an intelligence organization made up of former army officers headed by Dr. Zdenĕk Schmoranz. A week later the Gestapo arrested 3,000 leading figures in Czech public and cultural life (Operation “Albrecht I”). On October 28, 1939, the Nazi security forces also brutally suppressed a demonstration honouring the anniversary of the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic. The funeral of one of the victims – Jan Opletal – sparked new protests. The Nazis followed this up by executing nine student leaders on November 17, 1939, and ordering the closure of all Czech universities. About 1200 students were deported to concentration camps. At the end of 1939 and the beginning of 1940 the Gestapo dealt a hard blow against the Nation’s Defence organization, followed by mass arrests. Nevertheless, at the start of 1940, the leading groups of the home resistance movement were able to form Home Resistance Headquarters (ÚVOD). From the beginning of the occupation, hundreds of former military officers joined the Nation’s Defence. Many paid for it with their lives. Testimony to this is a photograph of a reunion of fourth year graduates from the University of War Studies taken in October 1935. Of the sixteen officers on the photo, seven laid down their lives fighting the Nazis. First row, from the left: GS Col. Josef Dvořák (2nd), Brig. Gen. Václav Volf (3rd), GS Lt. Col. František Mašek (6th), GS Lt. Col. Rudolf Feistmantl (7th). Second row, from the left: GS Lt. Col. František Chládek (2nd), GS Col. František Pohunek (4th), GS Col. Josef Kohoutek (5th). SERGEJ INGR (2. 9. 1894–17. 6. 1956) During WWI, member of the Czechoslovak Legions in Russia, France, and Italy. 1921–1923: Assistant Commander of the University of War Studies, Prague; 1923–1928: member of the ZVV Staff, Prague. 1929–1933: head of the GS Dept. of Operations. 1933–1935: Commander of the 16th Infantry Brigade. 1935–1936: Commander of the 8th Division. 1936–1939: Commander of the 3rd Army Corps. Founding member of the Nation’s Defence. In June 1939 E. Beneš summoned him to France. 1939–1940: member of the Czechoslovak National Council in Paris. 1940–1944: Defence Minister of the Czechoslovak Government in exile in London. 1944–1945 Commander-in-Chief of Czechoslovak Army. Forced to retire by the USSR. 1947-1948: Czechoslovak Ambassador in the Netherlands. Went into exile after February 1948, lived in Britain and the USA. Was active in intelligence services against the Communist regime in the CSR. GS Lt. Col. Josef Vais, together with Dr. Zdenĕk Schmoranz, organized an intelligence organization of press confidants. Both were executed for their activities at Plötzensee on August 19, 1942. One of the first officers to fall on the home front was GS Maj. Bohumil Klein, a member of Schmoranz’s organization made up of ex-officers. He was tortured to death by the Gestapo as early as October 14, 1939. GS Lt. Col. Tomáš Houška also worked as intelligence officer against the Nazis. After his arrest he committed suicide by leaping out of a window in Petschek Palace in order not to betray his comrades (on December 21, 1939). 10 1939–1940 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Notwithstanding official propaganda about problem-free life in the Protectorate, previously common foodstuffs were becoming scarce. Representatives of the Protectorate government liked to be seen with popular film stars, such as Vlasta Burian and Adina Mandlová. The Protectorate was gradually being integrated into the economy of the Third Reich. On October 1, 1940, a Customs Union with the Third Reich came into effect. The Czech crown ceased to be a independent currency. In order to prevent an uncontrolled outflow of goods to Germany, where prices were higher, prices in Protectorate rose considerably, leading to inflation and currency devaluation. Several remarkable buildings were erected during the first years of the occupation, based on plans dating back to the years of the First Republic. One of them was this road bridge near Podolsko in Southern Bohemia called “Gate to Heaven”. 11 France 1940 Following the invasion in March 1939 hundreds of young men left the country in order to form – as they hoped – Czechoslovak armed forces abroad, as in the first years of WWI. The first military group of this kind was formed in Cracow, Poland as early as April 30, 1939. Most Czechoslovak army volunteers simply crossed Poland to continue their journey to France. However, in peacetime France it was illegal to form military units composed of foreigners. The Czechoslovaks had no other recourse but to join the French Foreign Legion on condition that if war were to break out, they would be released to serve in the Czechoslovak army abroad. And that is precisely what happened. As early as September 1939 the French government set up the 1st Infantry Battalion of the Czechoslovak Armed Forces abroad in Agde, southern France. On October l6, 1939, the battalion expanded into a regiment and, a month later, the 2nd Infantry Regiment was formed from new arrivals. On January l5, 1940 the 1st Czechoslovak Division was established in Agde, which counted 11,495 men by the end of May 1940. Of these, 3,326 volunteers were from the homeland and 8,l69 were mobilized expatriates living abroad. In mid-June, as France’s situation was becoming critical, 5,000 members of the Czechoslovak Infantry Division fought the Germans along with the French. They fulfilled their duty with honour, even in critical situations. Members of the Czechoslovak National Council were honoured by the French government on November 17, 1939. Pictured from left to right are: Msgre. Jan Šrámek (Prime Minister), Dr. Hubert Ripka, Div. Gen. Rudolf Viest, Div. Gen. Sergej Ingr, Dr. Štefan Osuský, Dr. Juraj Slavík, and Dr. Eduard Outrata. The Commander of the 1st Czechoslovak Division in Agde, Div. Gen. Rudolf Viest (centre), accompanied by the Chief Commander of the French Military Mission, Army Gen. Louis E. Faucher. The business card of Div. Gen. Sergej Ingr from his service time in France, with the message “Best wishes for the New Year 1940”. Czechoslovak military pilots contributed meaningfully during battles for France, shooting down – or taking part in shooting down – 129 enemy aircraft. Probably 25 more aircraft were destroyed. The photograph captures the members of the Fighter Pilot Training Centre in Chartres. 12 1939–1940 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Immediately after the occupation, Czech Fascist groups such as The National Fascist Community, The Flag and The National Revival Campaign were activated in an attempt to gain power. The Germans’ priority was to maintain both peace in the country and stability in politics. The Protectorate government made strenuous efforts to create the illusion of independence in the occupied lands. As early as March 21, 1939 President Dr. Emil Hácha named a Preparatory Committee of the National Confederation, a newly formed unifying political organization. Simultaneously he dissolved all other political parties. The agenda of the National Confederation was based on national unity, social justice and Christian morals – in other words, terms that could be freely manipulated. By achieving ethnic cohesion, the nation tried to maintain unity against the occupiers and their efforts to stifle the movement. In the end almost all the male members of pre-Munich political parties, including the Communists, joined the National Confederation. Only Jews were forbidden to join. By the end of 1939 the National Confederation had more than 4 million members. The Nazis had no interest in an organization with a clearly nationalistic agenda. After reorganization in 1940 a new stream of aggressive anti-Semitism, combined with open cooperation with the Germans, began to assert itself on the National Confederation’s agenda. Its political influence, nonetheless, gradually waned. An extremely assertive activist movement in Czech society emerged shortly after the occupation, leading to open collaboration with the Germans. This involved mainly members of fascist and extreme nationalistic organizations. The Bohemian and the Moravian Fascists united in 1939, forming a new movement called The Czech Association of National Unity – otherwise known as The Flag – which copied similar uniformed formations in Germany such as the SA, also known as “Svatopluk’s Guards” (SG). Their uniform featured the brigadier’s hat of their commander-in-chief and leader of The Flag, Josef Rys-Rozsévač. The fascist organization, The Flag, derived its principles from German and Italian Fascism. It became a synonym for Czech collaboration. The Nazis’ intention was for this group to act as a disruptive entity in the political life of the Protectorate and foster a pro-German spirit. The Flag never reached the level of political influence that their members had hoped for. For the invaders, however, the active cooperation of The Flag with the Gestapo was important (see p. 19). An intelligence section was created for direct cooperation between The Flag and the Gestapo. The Flag’s leadership ordered all its members to inform on the Jews, Communists, followers of Beneš, illegal leaflets and whispered propaganda. 13 Britain 1940–1941 After the fall of France, exhausted from retreating battles and adventurous sailing from the ports of southern France, the Czechoslovaks finally made a landfall on British soil. The next photograph shows one of the Czechoslovak military units marching through the streets of Liverpool. The bottom picture captures Czechoslovak soldiers (still in French uniforms) in a muster being inspected by a British General and the then Commander of the 1st Czechoslovak Division, Brig. Gen. Bedřich Neumann-Miroslav (3rd from left). In this unique photograph, you see both future members of the ANTHROPOID Operation standing side by side: Jan Kubiš (1st row, to the left of the British General) and Josef Gabčík (1st row, to the General’s right). JAN KUBIŠ (24. 6. 1913–18. 6. 1942) Born in Dolní Vilémovice near Třebíč. He completed his apprenticeship as a boilerman. After completing basic military service at the 31st Infantry Regiment in Jihlava he stayed in the army as an NCO. He served extended active duty with the 13th Guard Battalion in Northern Moravia. In June 1939 he left the Protectorate, crossed Poland and went to France where he was forced to join the Foreign Legion. Once the war broke out, he presented himself to the 1st Reserve Battalion in Agde. For his heroic conduct during retreating battles he was decorated with the French War Cross. While in Britain, he served in the 1st Mixed Brigade as 2nd Commander of the 1st Platoon, 3rd Company. He volunteered for special assignments behind the frontline. After passing all the necessary training sessions he became a member of the ANTHROPOID Operation of paratroopers, replacing flight sergeant Karel Svoboda, who was wounded. JOSEF GABČÍK (8. 4. 1912–18. 6. 1942) Born in Poluvsie near Žilina. He learned to be a blacksmith and locksmith. During the years 1934–1937, he served in the army as an NCO with the 14th Infantry Regiment in Košice. From 1937 he was employed in a chemical warfare factory in Žilina. Towards the end of 1939 he crossed the border to Poland and then left for France, where he had to join the Foreign Legion. During the first days of WWII he left Algeria to join the Czechoslovak Foreign Army in Agde. He took part in French war campaigns and was awarded for bravery. Upon arrival in Britain he was assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 1st Czechoslovak Mixed Brigade, where he served as 2nd Commander of the 2nd Platoon, 3rd Company. He was among the first men to volunteer for assignments in the occupied territory. Following a special training session he was assigned to Operation ANTHROPOID. 14 1940–1941 Britain After arriving in Britain, the remnants of the former members of the 1st Czechoslovak Division gathered in a camp in Cholmondeley near Chester. Out of these remnants the 1st Czechoslovak Mixed Brigade was formed on August 12, 1940, with Brig. Gen. Bedřich Neumann-Miroslav as Commanding Officer. This brigade numbered 3,276 men and was composed of the headquarters, two infantry battalions, a machine gun company, an artillery division, an anti-aircraft battery, an anti-tank battery, engineer and telegraph platoons, a motorized company, a motorcycle platoon, a heavy equipment repair shop and a replacement unit. In the autumn of 1940 this brigade relocated to Leamington Spa, where it was stationed until the spring of 1942. Most of those who went through the camp of Cholmondeley in the summer of 1940 never forgot the local fairy-tale château (at the top) and the vast tent city in the park surrounding the château. The British Lee-Enfield rifle was part of Czechoslovak units’ equipment. The activities of the Czechoslovaks during their stay in Britain were not limited to training - soccer was played during leisure time. The photograph captures the Czechoslovak team on November 20, 1941, as they played against Belgium in the Allied Army League. The photograph shows parachutist Ludvík Cupal, second from right, later a member of Operation TIN. 15 Britain 1940–1941 The unique colour photograph on the right captures a colours of the 1st Czechoslovak Division in France. After reorganization it became the colours of the 1st Czechoslovak Mixed Brigade in Britain. The next two photographs were taken on Monday, October 28, 1940, showing the President of the Republic, Dr. Beneš, visiting members of the brigade on the occasion of the state holiday (Day of Independence). On this occasion he decorated several of our soldiers with the Czechoslovak War Cross of 1939 for valour shown in combat during the retreating battles in France. Among the decorated were two future paratroopers deployed in Operation ANTHROPOID: Josef Gabčík (2nd from left) and Jan Kubiš (being decorated by Dr. Edvard Beneš). This is a rare photograph of the then completely unknown Jan Kubiš. Neither he nor his comrades could possibly have suspected that, within a few months, he would enter history books. As in France a few months earlier, the burden of combat in our army in Britain rested on the Czechoslovak pilots, who immediately joined the battle that raged over the British Isles. By the end of 1940 Czechoslovak fighter pilots had shot down 72 enemy aircraft, plus 16 probable hits, and seriously damaged 14 German aircraft. The photograph shows Hurricanes of No 312 (Czechoslovak) Fighter Squadron, entrusted with the defence of Liverpool. 16 1940 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Part of the illusionary autonomy of the Czech Lands (Bohemia and Moravia) was the governmental army that had been created by Hitler’s Decree on the Establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. In the resistance plans the greater part of the army was to rise up, in the event of an uprising, against the German invaders. The political allegiance of members of the governmental army was inconsistent. Besides nationalist- oriented groups and individuals, there were some outright collaborators. The Reich’s Protector Office tried to disperse this army. From the year 1940, the governmental troops were assigned to guard the Protectorate’s railways. State President Dr. E. Hácha with members of the governmental army’s guard unit in Lány. Czechoslovak helmet, model 32, used by the governmental army. The governmental army’s dagger. Due to concerns on the part of the Germans, the nearly 7,000-strong governmental army units were equipped merely with pistols and Austrian Mannlicher rifles - made in l895 and used in WWI - and supplied with limited ammunition. The governmental units were originally meant to wear German military uniforms with special markings on the sleeves. In the end they kept the uniforms of the Czechoslovak type - with certain distinguishing symbols and rank distinctions. The Czech Uniformed Police were part of everyday life in the Protectorate. Shortly after the beginning of the occupation, a German commanding officer of the German Disciplinary Police was entrusted with overseeing the Czech Uniformed Police. There were a total of 5,430 police and gendarme officers in the Protectorate. Many gendarmes were active in the resistance, on the other hand some collaborated with the Gestapo. For many of the Czechoslovak parachutists, encounters with these gendarmes had fatal consequences. A helmet of a member of the Protectorate Gendarme Force. 17 �� Britain 1941 GS Col. František Moravec in a circle of his friends. On the very right of the photograph is the Chief of Staff of the 1st Czechoslovak Mixed Brigade, GS Lt. Col. Karel Lukas (died May 19, 1949, in Pankrác prison as a consequence of brutal torture by members of the Communist Police). FRANTIŠEK MORAVEC (23. 7. 1895–26. 7. 1966) During WWI he served in the Czechoslovak Legions in Russia, France, and Italy. 1927–1929: studied at the University of War Studies in Prague. 1929–1930: head of the Operations Dept. of the 2nd Division. 1930–1934: head of the Intelligence Dept. ZVV in Prague. 1934–1939: head of Search Branch of the 2nd GS Department. On March 14, 1939 he flew to London, along with 10 other officers, where he was in charge of the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service from 1940 to 1945. During 1944 and 1945 he was 2nd Commander-in-Chief of the Czechoslovak Army. After liberation he was assigned to the General Staff but was released on special leave of absence for political reasons. In 1947 and 1948 he was a Division Commander in Mladá Boleslav. Went into exile after 1948 where he was active in intelligence services against the CSR. He settled in the USA where he died. As a result of war developments and the situation on the home front representatives of the 2nd MOD Department in London, under the command of GS Col. František Moravec, started to negotiate with the British over the possibility of sending Czechoslovak parachutists from Britain to the Protectorate. The British side was represented by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the Secret Intelligent Service (SIS). These specially selected soldiers were to collect intelligence, conduct sabotage, commit terrorist acts and function as liaison officers. The Czechoslovak intelligence officers’ suggestion met with extraordinary understanding on the part of the British, and the plan was put into action in short order. Within the framework of our 2nd MOD Department, the plan’s implementation was assigned to its 1st Section (offensive) and the newly established Special Group D. On March 17, 1941, the Chief of the British Ministry for Economic Warfare, Sir Hugh Dalton, who was in charge of SOE, inspected the Czechoslovak army units in Britain accompanied by the Minister of National Defence, Div. Gen. Sergej Ingr. Note that even on this occasion Minister Dalton is carrying a case containing a gas mask. It was generally expected that Germany would use chemical warfare against Britain. On the extreme right of the photograph is Artillery Lt. Col. Jan Studlar (wearing glasses), a former member of the Nation’s Defence and close home-front colleague of Artillery Lt. Col. Josef Mašín, who will be mentioned further on. On April 19, 1941 Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, accompanied by President Dr. Edvard Beneš, visited the Czechoslovak soldiers. In the photograph you can clearly see the Commander of Czechoslovak brigade, Gen. Bedřich Neumann-Miroslav, standing between them. COLIN McVEAN GUBBINS (2. 7. 1896–11. 2. 1976) During WWI served in the British army in Europe as an artillery officer. During the period of 1919–1922, he was active in northern Russia and, later on, in Ireland. During the period between WWI and WWII he held a number of command and intelligence posts in Britain and India. In 1938 he joined MI(R) – the predecessor of SOE. In the autumn of 1939 he became Chief of the British Military Mission in Poland. During battles in Norway he was in command of special British units there. In November 1940 he joined the SOE as a specialist in training and management of operations. From September 1943 he was SOE’s executive director. After the end of WWII and the dissolution of SOE he retired but continued to work in managing positions in the textile industry. 18 1941 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Shortly after the invasion of the Czech Lands, the Germans started seeking out illegal transmitters used to maintain contact between Resistance members at home and abroad. From 1937 the Third Reich had within its borders transmission signal detectors (Funkmesstellen) and mobile search units under the direct control of the Reich’s Main Security Office (Reichssicher- heitshauptamt – RSHA). The headquarters for radio signal detectors were located in Berlin (Funkmessleitstelle Berlin-Spandau). In the Protectorate two stations were built: Funkmesstelle Süd-Ost Prag, which was based in the former Institute for Gentle Women at Prague Castle, and a subsidiary in Brno. In the Prague headquarters there were 40 radio operators and 20 searchers equipped with state-of-the-art hardware for radio signal detection, registration, telemetry and final locating of illegal transmitters. Part of the equipment of these radio detection units was a goniometer EP 2 with stationary directional equipment and a short-wave receiver Fu.H.Ec for monitoring. THE GESTAPO The Secret State Police (Geheime Staatspolizei) were originally founded by H. Göring in Prussia on April 26, 1933, to persecute adversaries of the Nazi regime. Simultaneously, H. Himmler founded a similarly structured Political Police force in Bavaria on April 20, 1934. Appointments included R. Heydrich, head of the Gestapo, which was formed through the restructuring of all of Germany’s former Political Police units. On September 27, 1939, the Gestapo was incorporated into the RSHA as Office IV. The Gestapo’s Special Division followed all adversaries of the regime (the underground, church denominations, Communist movement, Jewish population) and organized a terror campaign with the aim of reinforcing the Nazi dictatorship in Germany and the occupied territories. The Gestapo used inhumane interrogation methods, torture and “protective custody” in concentration camps. The Gestapo was directly responsible for the murder of millions of people. During the Protectorate the Gestapo had branches (Staatspolizeileitstellen) in Prague and Brno, which controlled regional branches (Aussendienststellen) in smaller towns. In 1946 the International Military Court declared the Gestapo a criminal organization. Getting to see this Gestapo badge very often equalled a death sentence. Radio detection units during the first years of war in 1939-1942 used the following strategy: 1) Operators in the headquarters were equipped with wide spectrum receivers that monitored all short-wave bands. 2) When an unknown radio station was detected, the operators of several directional detectors determined the azimuth, from which the signal was received. With the aid of the intersection of these azimuths, the approximate location of the illegal transmitter could be determined. 3) The information was given to a search unit responsible for the particular area where the transmitter was located. 4) Search units were sent out into this area with mobile goniometer search vehicles. 5) With successive measurements and closing in on the location, they honed in on the transmitting station. 6) To pinpoint a particular apartment, there were foot searchers equipped with backpack locating devices (see page 32) 7) The actual destruction of the illegal radio station proceeded under the direction of the relevant Gestapo department. RSHA The Reich’s Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt) – Nazi Germany’s central authority, established on September 27, 1939, with the aim of coordinating the Nazi terror system during WWII. Located on Prinz-Albrecht-Straße, Berlin, it consisted of the former Main Security Police Office (Hauptamt der Sicherheitspolizei) and the Main SD Office (SD-Hauptamt). It brought together and controlled all the SD’s and state’s repressive bodies. Headed by R. Heydrich, the RSHA answered to H. Himmler. Following Heydrich’s death, the RSHA was run by Himmler personally until 1943 when it was taken over by E. Kaltenbrunner. The RSHA comprised seven departments: personnel, organization and administration, security services (SD), internal and external affairs, the Gestapo, criminal police, and others. In February 1944 one of the SD departments was put in charge of Abwehr (counter-intelligence). To receive and record news emitted by illegal transmitters, a short band receiver Spez.860 Bs. and tape recorder AEG, model Ton. S.b. were used. 19 Britain 1941 Here is one of the inconspicuous-looking farms at Garramor. �� During the year 1941 Special Group D headed by GS Capt. 1st Class Jaroslav Šustr began to recruit suitable men from the Czechoslovak Brigade in Britain for secret operations planned to take place in the occupied homeland. They were trained in specialized training centres created by the SOE for its partners. These extremely specialized Special Training Schools (STS) were located mainly in remote parts of the English and Scottish countryside, usually on old farms, at castles or country estates. The training of the Special Forces units had three stages: basic, sustaining, and special. The basic training that took place in the individual STS consisted of an assault course and a para course. For the assault course, the SOE formed training centre STS 25, which was stationed on farms Garramor and Camusdarrach in Scotland. The course itself lasted four weeks and was conducted for groups of 20 men. The parachutists learned the basic theory and practice of assault combat, and were instilled with habitual reactions to critical situations. The goal of the training was an overall increase of physical and psychological endurance. The objective of this unusually demanding course was physical fitness, field training, sharp shooting, direct man-to-man combat, use of explosives, radio-telegraphic training, intelligence gathering and topographical training. The graduates of the first course in STS 25. From the left: Corporal Cadet Václav Málek, Corporal Cadet Libor Zapletal (operation BIVOUAC, executed September 27, 1944, in the concentration camp of Mauthausen), Staff Sergeant Josef Gemrot (operation CALCIUM), Lance Corporal Cadet František Pavelka (operation PERCENTAGE), First Lieutenant František Lopaur, Warrant Officer Josef Gabčík (operation ANTHROPOID), Warrant Officer Leopold Musil (operation TUNGSTEN), and Corporal Vojtěch Lukaštík (operation INTRANSITIVE). British hand grenade, model 69. JAROSLAV ŠUSTR (18. 3. 1908–6. 11. 1988) Graduated from the Military Academy in Hranice. During 1935–1937 he studied at the University of War Studies in Prague. In 1938 he joined the staff of the 1st Division. After the invasion he joined the Nation’s Defence; fled to France via Yugoslavia to avoid Gestapo persecution. Following the fall of France he was evacuated to Britain. He was appointed Head of the Special Group D of the 2nd MOD Department. In March 1943 he was transferred to the ŠVBM (3rd Section). From June 1944 Czechoslovak military attaché in China. Returned to his homeland after the war, assigned to the 8th Section of the GS. From November 1946, he was MOD’s representative with the Military Mission of the Allied Control Commission in Berlin. Went into exile in 1948, from where he conducted anti-Communist activities in the CSR. Died in the USA. 20 1941 Britain Communications training formed an important part of the course in STS 25. Compulsory for all the graduates, it consisted mainly of learning the Morse code and working with radio transmitters. Among the transmitters used by the paratroopers was this MARK V model. The handbook “Silent Killing”, published by the leadership of the Czechoslovak independent brigade, was based on experiences gleaned from the STS 25 training centre. Josef Gabčík was among the first Czechoslovaks to graduate from the assault course in STS 25 in the summer of 1941. His graduation report states: “A smart and well disciplined soldier. He has not the brains of some of the others and is slow at acquiring knowledge. He is thoroughly reliable and very keen, and has plenty of common sense... He is a good leader, when sure of his ground, and he obeys orders to the last detail.” The second group of trainees went through STS 25 from August 16 to September 12, 1941. Jan Kubiš was also one of the trainees who received the following evaluation from Maj. J.T. Young: “A good reliable soldier, quiet ... comes in for a certain amount of good natured teasing. Classification ‘D’, might work up to ‘B’.” The assault course was followed by a para-training course in STS 51 close to Ringway airport near Manchester. The two-week course focused on parachute jumps from affixed balloons and aeroplanes. After graduation from basic training the parachutists returned to their home base units from which they were called, according to requirements, for sustaining or special courses. 21 september 1941 – december 1941 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia september 1941 On September 27, 1941, the Czech Press Agency released the news that the Reich Protector Konstantin von Neurath had fallen ill, and named a substitute Reich Protector, Reinhard Heydrich. What lay behind this change was the Nazi’s concern about future developments in the Protectorate. In addition to burgeoning strikes and sabotage that plagued mainly railway transport, open demonstrations and resistance against the occupying forces were becoming more frequent. Between September 14 and 21, 1941, the Protectorate’s press boycott was the most significant protest action that was organized with the aid of foreign radio broadcasts. Adolf Hitler accused Neurath of not being tough enough with the Czech resistance movement. In an effort to reverse this development he came to a radical solution. Konstantin von Neurath was sent away to recuperate and, on the same day, an aeroplane arrived in Prague with Reinhard Heydrich on board. Heydrich immediately put a plan into effect with the objective of annihilating resistance in the Czech Lands. The surprise elements in this intervention were to be speed and cruelty, calculated to have a strong psychological effect on the population. On September 27, 1941 the rule of terror and fear cast a shadow over the country. A day later, on September 28, 1941, Heydrich announced a martial law for the “Oberlandrats” (regional governors) in Prague, Brno, Moravská Ostrava, Olomouc, Kladno and Hradec Králové. The martial law courts had only three options – carry out the death sentence, hand the accused over to the Gestapo and/or vindicate the person. The sentences of the martial law courts were irrevocable and were executed immediately. Along with the news of Heydrich’s taking office in the Protectorate, the press released shocking information about the arrest of Prime Minister Eliáš. Blood-red posters announcing martial law were posted all over the Protectorate territory. 24 september 1941 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia On September 28, 1941, at 11 am, the official inauguration began at Prague Castle. Reinhard Heydrich most certainly did not waste time in his new position. A testimony to this was a teleprint sent off shortly after his arrival on September 27, 1941, to the Reich SS Leader, Heinrich Himmler: At 15:10, the arrest of former Prime Minister Eliáš was carried out, as planned. At 18:00, also according to plan, the arrest of former Minister Havelka was carried out. At 19:00, Czech radio announced my appointment by the Führer... The interrogation of Eliáš and Havelka is underway... For the benefit of international politics I am asking President Thierack (of the People’s Court) to put Prime Minister Eliáš before an extraordinary Senate of the People’s Court in the shortest time possible... The speed and brutality of Heydrich’s intervention, especially in instituting martial law, the mass arrests of thousands of Czech citizens, the setup of martial law courts, and the immediate implementation of executions created an atmosphere of fear and terror amongst the population of the Protectorate. In this atmosphere, Gen. Alois Eliáš was sentenced to death on October 1, 1941. Thus began an era of the bloodiest terror in the Czech nation’s recent history. REINHARD HEYDRICH (7. 3. 1904–4. 6. 1942) After graduating from secondary school in 1922 he served in the Navy, from which he was discharged at the end of 1930. In 1931 he joined the NSDAP and the SS. In July 1932 he founded and thereafter headed the Security Service (SD). He became the “right hand” of the Reich SS leader, Heinrich Himmler. In 1936 he was appointed to head the Security Police (in addition to the SD). From September 27, 1939 he headed the newly established RSHA. He was directly responsible for the terror against adversaries of Nazism in Germany and all the occupied territories. In 1939 he was asked to prepare a so-called “final solution to the Jewish problem”. From 1941 he personally supervised the creation of a system of extermination concentration camps. On January 20, 1942, he presided over a conference in Wannsee, where the “final solution” was adopted. From August 1940 he was President of Interpol. ALOIS ELIÁŠ (29. 9. 1890–19. 6. 1942) During WWI he was an officer of the Czechoslovak Legions in Russia and France. 1920–1921: head of the Defence Minister’s Office. 1921–1923: studied at the University of War Studies in Paris. 1924–1929: head of the GS Organizational Department. 1929–1931: 2nd Commander of the GS and head of the Czechoslovak military delegation to the UN Commission on Disarmament in Geneva. 1931–1933: Commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade; 1933–1935: Commander of the 3rd Division. 1935–1938: Commander of the 5th Corps; thereafter Minister of Transportation. From April 27, 1939, to September 27, 1941, he presided over the Government of the Protectorate. During the occupation he closely cooperated with the Nation’s Defence and maintained contact with E. Beneš. Arrested after Heydrich’s arrival, sentenced to death and executed in June 1942. A Czechoslovak army brigadier’s hat and sword, model 24A, from the estate of Div. Gen. Alois Eliáš. 25 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia september 1941 The day after Heydrich’s inauguration into office on September 28, 1941, two acting leaders of the military resistance organization, the Nation’s Defence, were sentenced under martial law and executed by a firing squad at Ruzyně Barracks. The officers executed were: Gen. Josef Bílý and Div. Gen. Hugo Vojta, Commander of the Bohemian Provincial Headquarters. These brutal measures were meant to break anti-German resistance in the Czech Lands. The last words of Gen. Bílý were: “Long live the Czechoslovak Republic! Fire, you dogs!” JOSEF BÍLÝ (30. 6. 1872–28. 9. 1941) Graduated from the Imperial Cadet School in Trieste and the University of War Studies in Vienna. During WWI he was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army, in command of a regiment on the Russian and, later on, Italian front. 1917–1918: Commander of the Special Group “Oberstleutnant Bily” on the Asiago front. During the years 1918–1920 he was in charge of Garrison Commander in České Budějovice. 1920–1922: Commander of the 16th Infantry Brigade in Frýdek. 1923–1928: Commander of the 6th Division in Brno. During the years 1928–1935 he was Commander of the Bohemian Provincial Headquarters. Retired in July 1935. After the invasion and occupation of the ČSR he took part in the establishment of the Nation’s Defence. Following the departure of Gen. S. Ingr into exile, he became the organisation’s leader. From 1939 he lived underground. On November 14, 1940, he was arrested by the Gestapo in Southern Bohemia, where he was in hiding. Gen. Josef Bílý’s copper nameplate from his apartment on Mikulandská Street. HUGO VOJTA (11. 4. 1885–28. 9. 1941) During WWI he was an officer in the Czechoslovak Legion in Russia, returning home as Commander of the Artillery of the 2nd Division. During the years 1920–1922: Commander of the 8th Artillery Brigade. 1922: Head of the 17th MOD Department (Artillery). 1923–1925: Deputy Head of the 2nd Section of the MOD (Artillery & Armaments). 1927–1930: Commander of the ZVV Artillery in Košice. 1930–1939: Commander of the ZVV Artillery in Bratislava. During mobilization in September 1938 he was Commander of the Artillery of the 3rd Army. After the occupation of the Czech Lands he was one of the founders of the Nation’s Defence. 1939–1940: Head of the Bohemian Provincial Headquarters of the Nation’s Defence, coordinated cooperation with the Sokol organization. In 1940 he was arrested by the Gestapo. 26 september 1941 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Immediately after his arrival in Prague Heydrich began to implement his idea of “the final solution to the Jewish problem”. One of his first decrees, dated September 29, 1941, concerned measures against Czech Jews in mixed marriages, Czechs who were friends of Jews, and the closing of synagogues. It stated, among other things: “...Jewish synagogues and places of prayer have not been used for religious purposes for some time. Instead, they have become centres for all kinds of Jewish subversive elements and focal points of illegal whispered propaganda. For this reason I have ordered the closing of all Jewish synagogues and places of prayer. This is to take effect immediately... Certain Czech circles are behaving in a very friendly manner toward the Jews, especially in recent times. They are mainly the Czech elements that are trying to demonstrate their anti-Reich thinking. I am ordering the State Police to intervene against the Czechs who openly demonstrate their friendship with the Jews in the streets and public places (protective custody!).” This measure was brought about because of gestures of support from some Czechs towards Jews after all Jewish citizens were forced to wear the yellow Star of David from September 1941. Some people had started demonstratively to wear the Star of David, thus openly showing friendship to the Jews. At the same time Heydrich started preparing to establish a Jewish ghetto in Terezín. The German army left the town as early as October 1941. The first prisoners arrived in Terezín on November 24, 1941. From January 9, 1942, a total of 86,934 prisoners were shipped out from Terezín to extermination camps set up in the former Polish territory. Only 3,097 lived to see the end of the war. On September 30, 1941, Reinhard Heydrich advised the Commander of the Berlin headquarters of the Gestapo, SS-Brigadeführer Henrich Müller that all persons sentenced by martial law courts should be placed exclusively in the Mauthausen concentration camp. In Mauthausen a total of 4,473 of Czechoslovak citizens were tortured to death or executed. pistols and machine guns and throwing hand grenades. First Lt. Hrubec with the STEN Mk II gun in front of Villa Bellasis. The British 9mm STEN Mk II machine gun fitted with a silencer, developed specially by the SOE for the purposes of paratroopers. RUDOLF HRUBEC (15. 11. 1914–11. 9. 1944) In the years 1937 and 1938 he studied at the Military Academy in Hranice, which he left as a cavalry lieutenant. In June 1939 he crossed the border to Poland and then left for France. Upon joining the French Foreign Legion he was posted to Africa. In September 1939 he enlisted with the 1st Czechoslovak Division in Agde and fought with it at the front. After the capitulation of France he was evacuated to Britain. For health reasons he was not enrolled in the Air Force. In May 1941 he attended the para course and, in the autumn of 1941, an assault course. Thereafter he was assigned to the 2nd MOD Department, Special Group D. He became an instructor of the para course and accompanied some of the paratroopers on their flights. From October 1943 he commanded a detached section of the Special Group D in Algeria. He was selected to take part in Operation SILICA II. His aircraft crashed into a mountain in Northern Italy. His entire family was executed at Luby near Klatovy on July 2, 1942. Protectorate documents were counterfeited in Britain for the needs of the paratroopers. Nearly perfect counterfeits were created with the aid of false stamps. The army ID of WO Josef Gabčík with the inserted photograph of his British girlfriend, Lorna Ellison. 39 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia december 1941 Hitler’s friend and chief architect, Albert Speer (second from right), upon arrival in Prague, on December 4, 1941, to negotiate with Reinhard Heydrich details of employing l6,000 Czech construction workers in the Reich. After a two-hour sightseeing drive around Prague Speer discussed with Prof. Hermann Wonderlich, Vice President of Prague’s planning commission, his “suggestions” for the improvement of the architectural appearance of the capital city. Among his “suggestions” were the demolition of the Petřín lookout tower, the construction of a new German university in Strahov, the monumental rebuilding of the Vltava riverbank, and the building of new German government quarters in Letná. The dinner seating arrangements modified by Heydrich at Prague Castle on December 4, 1941, on the occasion of Albert Speer’s visit. Dress code: Men in uniform, women in short evening dresses. Albrecht Speer announced to Reich Marshal Hermann Göring that only a workforce from the Protectorate could replace the departing Italian workers on the construction sites of aircraft factories. The entire matter had earlier been discussed with K.H. Frank, who started preparing a mandatory workforce deployment order. 40 december 1941 Britain Special Training School 25 Assault Course Buildings: Garramor House (STS 25a) Camusdarrach House (STS 25b) Traigh House (STS 25c) Commander: Major J. T. Young Special Training School 21 Assault Course Building: Arisaig House Commander: Lt. Col. A. D. Balden Special Training School 51 Para Course Buildings: Dunham House (STS 51a) Fulshaw Hall (STS 51b) Commander: Major C. J. Edwards Station XVII Special Diversion Course Building: Brickendonbury Manor Commander: Lt. Col. G. T. Rheam Special Training School 2 Graduate Course Building: Villa Bellasis Commander: Major A. M. Boal The training centres of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) which were used in the training of the ANTHROPOID Group. 41 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia december 1941 On December 5, 1941, Reinhard Heydrich received a delegation of Czech farmers. He listened to their assurances of willingness to cooperate, but at the same time reprimanded them for sabotaging the inventory of cattle and grain. This move was part of Heydrich’s fight against the black market, which reached such proportions in 1941 that a special agricultural police squad had to be established. The Czech farmers were threatened with the confiscation of their farms if they failed to report their true output. In the spirit of his speech of October 2, 1941, Heydrich demanded that farms be confiscated only from farmers unsuited for Germanization. Reinhard Heydrich combined the fight against the black market with terror directed against the entire population. The Martial Law Courts began to carry out dozens of death sentences on butchers, grocers and pub owners to a certain extent with the silent consent of the population. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Air Force attacked the American Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands. On December 11, 1941, Germany – as an ally of the Japanese Empire – declared war on the U.S.A. The following night, the order was given to demolish the memorial to American President Woodrow Wilson, which stood in front of the main railway station in Prague. The text on the plaque states: “Here stood the Wilson memorial, which was removed upon the order of Reich Protector, SS-Obergruppenführer Heydrich.” 42 december 1941 Britain In London on December 1, 1941, Warrant Officers Jan Kubiš and Josef Gabčík signed a pledge stating: “The substance of my mission basically is that I will be sent back to my homeland, with another member of the Czechoslovak Army, in order to commit an act of sabotage or terrorism at a place and in a situation depending on our findings at the given site and under the given circumstances, and I will do so effectively so as to generate the sought-after response not only in the home country but also abroad. I will do it to the extent of my best knowledge and conscience so that I can successfully fulfill this mission for which I have volunteered.” Half a year later they both fulfilled this pledge to the last bit. WO Jan Kubiš WO Josef Gabčík Two photographs that entered history, taken on December l8, 1942, in the courtyard of the Porchester Gate Building in London, site of the Command Section of Special Group D. Before departure both paratroopers were given instructions as to how to proceed after landing with their false Protectorate documents: Gabčík as Zdeněk Vyskočil and Kubiš as Otto Strnad. The building and the memorial wall, in front of which the entire group of Czech paratroopers were photographed before their departure into action, are still standing. 43 Britain december 1941 On December 28, 1941, shortly before departure for the occupied homeland, Josef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš made out their last will. On the same day at 22:00 hours, a heavily laden aeroplane carrying 15 men took off from Tangmere Airport in Sussex in southern England. The historic air-drop was carried out during the night of December 28-29, 1941, by the crew of a four-engine Handley-Page Halifax Mk.II/srs. (serial number 1a L9613 with the code NF-V) from the No 138 Special Duties Squadron under the command of F/Lt. Ronald C. Hockey. In addition to the seven- member crew on board were a dispatcher, GS Capt. 1st Class Jaroslav Šustr, and seven Czechoslovak paratroopers. In order to maximise the full capacity of this powerful plane, ANTHROPOID was joined by groups SILVER B and SILVER A (their flights into the homeland in the nights of November 7 and 30, 1941 on the underpowered Whitley Mk. VZ9125 NF-A, piloted by P/O Leo Anderle, had been unsuccessful). The Halifax flew over the French coast to the Le Crotoy area, and from there headed for Darmstadt, where they arrived at 00:42 hours. During their flight they twice met enemy night interceptor planes, which the Halifax was able to shake off. Orientation for the crew was made very difficult because most of the reference points, such as railroad tracks, rivers, and even small towns, had disappeared under heavy snow cover. This fact contributed to a navigation mistake as the crew mistook Prague for Pilsen (from which they were shot at by an anti-aircraft battery at 2:12 a.m.). As a result, the ANTHROPOID group was air-dropped at 2:24 a.m. close to Nehvizdy, a village near Čelákovice, east of Prague, instead of east of Pilsen. At 2:37 a.m. group SILVER A was air-dropped (First Lt. Alfréd Bartoš, WO Josef Valčík, and Lance-Corporal Jiří Potůček). According to the navigator this happened east of Čáslav but, in reality, it was between Poděbrady and Městec Králové. The SILVER B crew (Staff-Sergeant Jan Zemek and Sgt. Vladimír Škácha) was air-dropped at 02:56 a.m. but, instead of landing NW of Ždírec, they landed near Kasaličky, not far from Přelouč. After finishing this dangerous and demanding mission, the Halifax headed for Darmstadt and was shot at twice by anti- aircraft batteries. The Halifax flew over the French coast at 07:20 hours and the English coast at 08:07 and finally touched down at Tangmere Airport at 08:19. The four-engine Handley-Page Halifax Mk.II/srs. 1a L9613 (NF-V) plane, from which the paratroopers of Groups ANTHROPOID, SILVER A and SILVER B, were air-dropped during the night of December 28-29, 1941. 44 december 1941 Britain The special night-time flights over occupied Europe were among the most dangerous missions undertaken by the RAF during WWII. The Halifax took off alone, with the prospect of ten or more hours of night-time flying over half of occupied Europe. Searchlights, anti-aircraft batteries, night-time interceptor aircraft, bad weather, and possible mechanical failures were all real dangers lying in wait. There was a heavy responsibility on the navigator’s shoulders as the success of the entire mission depended on him. The crew had to find a good drop zone for the planned jump of the paratroopers or the dropping off of supply containers. Orientation was hard not only because of night-time darkness and imperfect navigation equipment but also because landing points were usually chosen in forested regions away from large cities. These points were illuminated only by barely visible landing lights or fires (in the Protectorate, this system of receiving paratroops was never used in practice and the jumps were done blindly as a rule). Air-drops had to be carried out from a height of only 150-200 metres at the speed of about 200 km/h. This required total professionalism and teamwork on the part of the crew and the paratroopers under the constant danger of detection by the German defence. After completing their mission the crew had to endure the long hours of an exhausting return flight. Part of the ANTHROPOID equipment consisted of British Mills hand grenades, model 36M Mk.I, and what are called timing pencils. They were pencil fuses with different delay times. The crew that accomplished this historic flight. From the left: F/Lt Hockey, P/O Wilkin, F/Sgt. Holden, F/Sgt. Burke, Sgt. Hughes, Sgt. Berwick, Sgt. Walton, and an unknown crew member. For its mission, ANTHROPOID was equipped with two containers with operating material. The containers included, among other things, two pistols, a 38 COLT – with four full spare magazines and 100 bullets – six armour-piercing bombs filled with plastic explosives (one of which was ready for its target), two magazines of fuses, two model Mills grenades, one Tree Spigot bomb launcher with one bomb, four electric fuses, one STEN Mk.II machine gun with 100 bullets, 32 lbs. of plastic explosives, two yards of fuse rope, four smoke bombs, a reel of steel string and three timing pencils. On December 29, 1941, at approximately 2:30 a.m., Jan Kubiš and Josef Gabčík landed on a snow-covered field near Nehvizdy not far from Prague. RONALD CLIFFORD HOCKEY (4. 8. 1911–21. 2. 1992) Graduate of the Imperial College, London. In 1933 he attended a pilot course and was employed with the RAF in Farnborough. Following the breakout of the war he enlisted for military service in Hendon with the No 24 Squadron, a special unit designated for transporting VIP’s (he flew with W. S. Churchill After the defeat of France he was transferred to the No 1419 Special Duties Flight, later on transformed to the No 138 Special Duties Squadron, becoming its commander in April 1942. From April 1943 he performed secret missions with the No 334 Wing at the Brindisi Base in southern Italy. From February 1944 he was Commander of the No 38 Wing in Britain. He took part in the organisation of paratrooper operations as part of the invasion of Normandy by the Allied Armies. In 1946, he was transferred to the reserves. NO 138 SPECIAL DUTIES SQUADRON On August 21, 1940, a special unit was established for the purposes of the SOE agenda (No 419 Special Duties Flight) at North Weald Airport. To start with, all this unit had was three single-engine upper-winged aircraft, type Westland Lysander Mk.III, designated for taking and picking up agents to/from occupied France. Later on the Flight obtained three twin-engine aircraft, type Armstrong-Whithworth Whitley Mk.V, for the dropping off of agents in more distant areas. From March 1, 1941, the number of the Flight was changed to No 1419 and again six months later (25. 8. 1941), as there were a large number of special tasks. The formation had to be expanded yet again as the No 138 Special Duties Squadron. At first it was stationed in Newmarket, then from January 18, 1942, in Stradishall, and finally from March 11, 1942, in Tempsford. In June 1944 the Squadron was equipped with new aircraft, type Stirling Mk.IV, whereupon it continued to perform special duties until March 9, 1945. It was dissolved on September 1, 1950. 45 december 1941 – may 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia december 1941 It is December 29, 1941, a day like any other. The Protectorate has seen its third wartime Christmas. The state of civil emergency is still in effect and fear is omni-present among the people. Those who want to forget reality can go to watch a hockey match, for example. Yesterday the LTC Prague played against the SSC Říčany and won 21-0. Zábrodský scored four goals. Or one can go and buy tickets to the theatre. The Prozatímní Divadlo (Temporary Theatre) in Karlín will present a play with the attractive name, “A Sharp Curve”. But at this very moment, a short distance from Prague, two men are hiding who, less than five months later, will orchestrate a play that should have the same title. This time it will be a life-or-death play. It is going to be about the life of the Reich’s No. 3 and about the lives of thousands of Czechoslovak fellow citizens. After landing Jan Kubiš with Josef Gabčík hid their personal operation equipment and sabotage material in Antonín Sedláček’s garden shed, where they spent their first night in the Protectorate. In the morning they were to discover in the local parish house that there had been a great navigational error. Instead of the Pilsen area they had jumped near Nehvizdy, a short distance from Prague. Following the original instructions they departed for the region of Pilsen, where they searched out their contacts. Addresses of reliable members of the home resistance movement was an important component in the armoury of all parachutists. In many cases, unfortunately, air-dropped paratroopers ended up at the doors of already executed resistance members. In the case of the ANTHROPOID Group, the addresses proved to be good, and Josef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš received the help they needed. Gabčík, who had injured himself during the jump, even received medical treatment. The leading illegal JINDRA organization was headed by Prof. Ladislav Vaněk. This man was a controversial home resistance figure. After being arrested by the Gestapo, on September 4, 1942, he made a full confession, helped indict all others, and was even willing to participate in a planned radio counter-campaign against London. “We are ready for 1942!” A New Year’s greeting card of the Czechoslovak Army stationed in Britain. The first people to help the paratroopers were State Secret Police Inspector Václav Král in Pilsen (password: “Adina greets Pilsen – March 8th is good”) and the retired railway man Václav Stehlík at Rokycany (password: “Greetings from Hradecký”). Václav Stehlík was executed with his entire family in Pilsen-Lobzy on May 28, 1942. Václav Král was executed with his entire family in Mauthausen on October 24, 1942. Václav Stehlík Václav Král Both members of ANTHROPOID headed through Prague back to Nehvizdy from the Pilsen area where they gathered up their hidden material, gradually relocated it into hiding places in Prague and the surrounding area. With the help of the local miller, Břetislav Bauman, they established contact with the Sokol resistance organization, JINDRA. This organization, jointly with a few members of the former Masaryk League Against Tuberculosis, provided both paratroopers with hideout flats in Prague and any help they needed. This proved crucial for the success of Operation ANTHROPOID. Břetislav Bauman and his wife Emilia were executed in Mauthausen on October 24, 1942. This printing machine used by the underground JINDRA organization. Břetislav Bauman Ladislav Vaněk 48 december 1941 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia The arrival of the Czechoslovak parachutists did not escape the attention of the well-organized monitoring service of the Luftwaffe (Flugmeldedienst) that watched the airspace over the Protectorate. Reinhard Heydrich was immediately informed of the flight’s route and also, almost simultaneously, of the paratroopers’ moves in the homeland. Because an air-drop of paratroopers had been anticipated, the Wehrmacht units searched the areas of their overflight. BEDŘICH HOMOLA (2. 6. 1887–5. 1. 1943) He was a member of Czechoslovak Legion in Russia during the years of WWI. In 1920 and 1921 he was assigned to the General Staff in Prague. 1922-1923: 2nd in command at the Military Academy in Hranice. 1923-1925: Chief of Staff of the 7th Infantry Division. 1925-1928: Commander of the 27th Infantry Regiment. 1928-1934: Commander of the 14th Infantry Brigade, 1934-1935: Commander of the 1st Division. 1935-1939: Commander of the 7th Corps in Banská Bystrica. In March 1939 he directed a military intervention against Slovak Separatists (the “Homola Putsch”). From the beginning of the occupation, one of the leading actors of the Nation’s Defence, he headed the Special Regional Command – Greater Prague. Became Chief Commander of DoN after the arrest of Gen. Bílý. He was betrayed, arrested, sentenced to death and executed. Shortly after the arrival of the paratroopers, the Police Search Division Centre issued a confidential memorandum to all police stations, containing orders to search the entire Protectorate for suspicious persons who appeared after December 29, 1941. On December 31, 1941, the home resistance movement was dealt another cruel blow. Div. Gen. Bedřich Homola, who headed the resistance organization, the Nation’s Defence, after the arrest of Army Gen. Josef Bílý, fell into the hands of the Gestapo. With his arrest the Gestapo finalized the annihilation of the second level of the Nation’s Defence. On January 5, 1943 Div. Gen. Bedřich Homola was executed in Berlin-Plötzensee. In his last letter he wrote: “I am not writing about my sacrifice, it is a matter of course.” 49 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia december 1941 ALFRÉD BARTOŠ (23. 9. 1916–21. 6. 1942) Was a graduate of the Military Academy in Hranice, from which he graduated as a Cavalry Lieutenant. In May 1939 he left the Protectorate for France, where he joined the Foreign Legion. Until the start of the war he served in Tunis. In October 1939 he was stationed in Agde, where he served as 2nd Adjutant of the Commander of the 2nd Infantry Regiment. In the battles on the front he worked as an Intelligence Officer. In Britain he was given the position of Commander of the 1st Troop of the 2nd Infantry Battalion. He volunteered for special missions in the homeland, where he departed as Commander of the SILVER A air-drop. During his mission he achieved outstanding success in his assignment in the Protectorate. He committed suicide in order not to be captured while being pursued by the Gestapo. JOSEF VALČÍK (2. 11. 1914–18. 6. 1942) Upon completing apprenticeship as a tanner, he worked in the Ba a Shoe Factories in Zlín. Between 1936-1938 he completed his conscription duty with the 22nd Infantry Regiment. Through Yugoslavia, Turkey, and Syria he arrived in France where he was placed in March 1940 with the 2nd Czechoslovak Infantry Regiment, with which he lived through the entire French campaign. In Britain he served as a Company Sgt. Maj. of the 1st Company of the 2nd Battalion. He volunteered to be deployed behind enemy lines and after graduating from the training course, he was put 2nd in command of SILVER A. In the Protectorate he took part in the creation of a widely branched intelligence organization. After his hideout was discovered as a result of betrayal, he escaped to Prague, where he took part in the assassination of R. Heydrich. He shot himselve in the crypt of the church on Resslova street. JIŘÍ POTŮČEK (12. 7. 1912–2. 7. 1942) He was apprenticed as shoemaker in the rubber division with the Ba a Factory in Zlín, where he later on became an instructor in its rubber division. He had an outstanding aptitude for foreign languages. In the year 1938 he was sent as franchise director to Ba a’s subsidiary in Osiyek, Yugoslavia. In the year 1939 he left employment in Yugoslavia to go to France where on January 14, 1940, he joined the Czechoslovak Army. In Agde he was placed with the GS communications unit. After evacuation to Britain he was placed in the communications squad of the GS platoon. He volunteered to be air-dropped into the homeland. He attended special training in communications and other special courses. He was sent into the Protectorate as radio telegrapher with the SILVER A group. He accomplished his mission in an outstanding manner. On the run from the Gestapo he was killed by a Protectorate gendarme. During the night of December 28 and December 29, 1941, simultaneously with ANTHROPOID, the SILVER A group was air- dropped. SILVER A was composed of First Lt. Alfréd Bartoš, WO Josef Valčík and Lance- Corporal Jiří Potůček. Their mission was to search out members of the home resistance movement and to renew radio-telegraphic communication with London. SILVER A operated primarily in the area of Pardubice. Here they could rely on a wide illegal network of colleagues, who not only helped them to hide but also supplied them with the information that was awaited by London headquarters. All the news sent out from the occupied homeland was received by military radio headquarters, set up on Duke’s Hill in Woldingham, approximately 50 km from London. An experienced radio telegrapher, Jiří Potůček, with the help of the radio transmitter model MARK III, code named LIBUŠE, was able to establish contact with the military radio headquarters at Woldingham as early as the night of January 14-15, 1942. SILVER A was very successful in gathering intelligence and organizing tasks. Its activities were disrupted by Karel Čurda’s betrayal. Karel Čurda, from the air-drop OUT DISTANCE, informed the Gestapo about the hiding places of other paratroopers. First Lt. Alfréd Bartoš, on the run from the Gestapo, shot himself in Pardubice on June 21, 1942. On July 2, 1942, Lance-Corporal Jiří Potůček also died on the run after being shot to death, while sleeping, by a Protectorate gendarme, Sgt. Karel Pulpán, near Rosice. WO Josef Valčík was forced to leave SILVER A earlier and went into hiding in Prague, where he worked with the ANTHROPOID group. JAN ZEMEK (3. 5. 1915–6. 7. 1994) In the years 1935-1937 he did his military service with the 15th Infantry Regiment. He remained in the army as a professional soldier. From August 1939 he was placed with the 11th Battalion of the governmental army. In December 1939 he unsuccessfully tried to leave the country and spent three months in a Hungarian prison. He succeeded the second time around. He arrived in Agde through the Balkans and Syria, where he was recruited in May 1940. He went through the French campaign. He missed the boat to Britain but arrived on his own through Africa, Martinique and Bermudas in March 1941. He volunteered to be air-dropped into the homeland and was placed into the SILVER B group. He was unable to establish contact. He was hiding from the Gestapo and then, towards the end of the war, joined the guerrillas. After February 1948 he was expelled from the army. During 1950-1951, he was a prisoner in the forced labour camp at Mírov. At the beginning of the year 1942 London anxiously awaited dispatches from LIBUŠE. On the same night that groups ANTHROPOID and SILVER A were air-dropped, SILVER B also landed near Přelouč. The mission of the two-member team, Staff-Sergeant Jan Zemek and Sgt. Vladimír Škácha, was to deliver a radio transmitter to the home front resistance movement and help them maintain contact with London. The radio station was damaged during the jump and the group was unable to establish contact with London or with the local resistance movement. SILVER B was unsuccessful in its mission. Both paratroopers lived to see the end of the war: Zemek in the underground, Škácha (arrested by the Gestapo in January 1945) in the concentration camp of Flossenbürg. 50 january 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Emanuel Moravec On January 19, 1942, a new Protectorate government was named, replacing the old government (entirely according to Heydrich’s ideas), which was in effect non-functional from September 27, 1941, onwards. The reason behind the reorganization of the government was the destruction of the Protectorate’s autonomous administration. The number of ministries was reduced to seven. A single German minister in the Protectorate government, SS-Oberführer Walther Bertsch, directed a newly created key ministry of economy and labour. The greatest change to take place, apart from changes in personnel, was the establishment of the Office for People’s Enlightenment. The affairs of the press, theatre, literature, art, film and foreign tourism were subordinate to this office. The ministry, in turn, was subordinate to the newly named Minister of Education, Emanuel Moravec. This former Czechoslovak legionnaire and later General Staff Colonel and a professor of war history and strategy at the University of War Studies in Prague was – prior to Munich – the most ardent defender of fighting against Nazi Germany. After the occupation, however, he sided with the Nazis entirely and became a symbol of extreme collaboration. Moravec was, in Heydrich’s opinion, unusually well suited for collaboration. While being part of the government, he was to become the synonym for Czech collaboration. As soon as he took office as Minister of Education, he came to terms with the idea that the universities would never be reopened as was originally proclaimed in 1942, and admitted that: “...this question has become passé due to recent developments....” Whenever there were governmental appointments, Heydrich released some of the students who had been arrested during the demonstrations of November 17, 1939, and abolished the state of civil emergency. Less than four months after his arrival in the Protectorate, a cruel, bloody tax was paid. From September 27, 1941, after being sentenced by martial law courts, a total of 486 people were executed and 2,242 others were dragged away to concentration camps. VLADIMÍR ŠKÁCHA (17. 5. 1920 – 23. 3. 1987) Apprenticed as a mason and worked as a builder’s assistant until he left the country in the middle of 1939. From Poland he went to France, where he served in the Foreign Legion. In October 1939 he enlisted for military service in the Czechoslovak Army in Agde, where he joined his unit and was fighting on the frontline. Upon arrival in Britain he Operace Anthropoid byl krycí název pro parašutistický výsadek vyslaný během druhé světové války z Anglie na území Protektorátu Čechy a Morava. Byl organizován zpravodajským odborem exilového Ministerstva národní obrany a řazen byl do první vlny výsadků. Jednalo se o diverzní operaci, při níž byl uskutečněn atentát na zastupujícího říšského protektora a šéfa RSHA Reinharda Heydricha.  Obsah      1 Složení Složení výsadku Jan Kubiš rotmistr Jozef Gabčík  Do výcviku na provedení operace byli povoláni rotmistr Jozef Gabčík a rotný Karel Svoboda. Svoboda byl ale koncem roku 1941 z důvodu úrazu při cvičném seskoku z operace vyřazen a na Gabčíkův návrh nahrazen Janem Kubišem. Základním předpokladem pro úspěch celé operace bylo maximální utajení. Gabčík, Svoboda i Kubiš byli přeřazeni od svých jednotek k II. odboru (zpravodajskému) MNO bez sdělování podrobností. Výsledek celé akce měl působit dojmem spontánního aktu odporu domácího odboje. Celý plán znali v Londýně pouze čtyři lidé, další znali jen dílčí části plánu.[1] Organizátoři považovali celou operaci za víceméně sebevražednou a Gabčík s Kubišem na to byli několikrát upozorněni. Výcvik  Samotný výcvik byl zahájen v létě 1941 ve výcvikových školách a stanicích SOE ve Skotsku, ve kterých prodělávali výcvik i britští commandos. Vojenský výcvik a bojové nasazení, kterými českoslovenští vojáci prošli byly pro jejich příští úkoly nedostačující. Bylo nutné, aby prodělali výcvik v oblastech sabotáže, diverze a útočného boje.  Výcvik se skládal z ženijní části (ničení infrastruktury, komunikací, průmyslových objektů či transportních prostředků) včetně průzkumu, výroby a používání trhavých či hořlavých náloží a ručních bomb. Další částí byl vzdušný výcvik (seskok padákem, jeho balení, balení kontejnerů, jejich příjem ze vzduchu atd.) a výcvik ve střelbě (mířená i letmá střelba z různých druhů pěchotních zbraní včetně odstřelovací pušky či lehkého kulometu), v boji holýma rukama a výcviky topografický a spojovací (Morseova abeceda a Q-kód), vytyčování přistávacích ploch atd. Celý kurz trval 6 týdnů. Po jeho skončení se parašutisté vrátili zpět ke svým jednotkám, kde očekávali rozkaz k nasazení. Doba čekání závisela na technických možnostech SOE. V průběhu výcviku vypracovala SOE několik rámcových plánů atentátu na R. Heydricha, při kterém byly zvažovány různé možnosti prostředí, ve kterých bude čin proveden. Úkoly operace  Úkolem operace byl čin demonstrativního charakteru, kterým by Spojencům i světové veřejnosti bylo dokázáno, že československý národ se s německou okupací nesmířil a stojí plně na straně spojeneckého úsilí o porážku nacistického Německa. Podle názoru hlavních představitelů československé exilové vlády v Londýně tím mohla být likvidace některého z předních exponentů okupační správy či českých kolaborantů; v úvahu přicházeli R. Heydrich, K. H. Frank a E. Moravec (ten byl později vyškrtnut, neboť jeho význam a známost byla pouze lokálního dosahu)[zdroj?]. Členové desantu byli upozorněni, že konečný výběr cíle závisí na jejich uvážení. SOE, která prováděla výcvik příslušníků desantu ale veškerou tréninkovou a přípravnou činnost zaměřila na likvidaci R. Heydricha.[2] Nasazení  Desant byl vysazen na třetí pokus 29. prosince 1941. Společně s ním byly vysazeny desanty operací Silver A a Silver B. Vinou navigační chyby byli oba příslušníci desantu vysazeni v půl třetí ráno poblíž Prahy, u hřbitova obce Nehvizdy, přičemž plánované místo seskoku byly 100 km vzdálené Ejpovice u Plzně.[3] Při seskoku se navíc na noze zranil Gabčík. Po ukrytí materiálu se oba příslušníci desantu vydali směrem k Plzni, kde měli připravené kontaktní adresy. Díky nim se jim podařilo dostat se do Prahy, kde navázali kontakty s místním odbojem, zejména Obcí sokolskou v odboji (OSVO).  Přestože podle rozkazů se měli zabývat pouze přípravou atentátu na Heydricha, zúčastnili se díky naléhání příslušníků dalších výsadků navigační podpory, při níž britské letectvo bombardovalo Škodovy závody. Tato operace skončila neúspěchem. Poté se Gabčík s Kubišem začali podrobně zabývat plánem na atentát. Při plánování a přípravě se přes přísný zákaz ústředí podíleli další lidé z odboje, zejména učitel Jan Zelenka (původní rozkazy dokonce zapovídaly jakékoliv[4] kontakty s domácím odbojem či dalšími výsadkovými skupinami).  Přestože Gabčík s Kubišem o svém úkolu zástupcům domácího odboje nic neprozradili, ti odhadli, že se připravuje akce, která by mohla mít dalekosáhlé následky pro obyvatelstvo. Prostřednictvím vysílačky Libuše se pokoušeli přimět politické a vojenské vedení v Londýně, aby příkaz k atentátu zrušilo. To se ale nestalo. Gabčík a Kubiš provedli řadu pozorování a s pomocí informací dodaných učitelem Zelenkou připravili plán atentátu. Atentát na Heydricha V blízkosti místa atentátu stojí od roku 2009 památník Operace Anthropoid.      Podrobnější informace naleznete v článku Atentát na Heydricha.  Dne 27. května 1942 oba příslušníci desantu Anthropoid společně s rtm. Valčíkem, příslušníkem desantu Silver A a npor. Opálkou z desantu Out distance zaútočili na vozidlo zastupujícího říšského protektora Heydricha. V rozhodující chvíli sice selhal Gabčíkův samopal, ale Kubiš hodil na vozidlo nálož z upraveného protitankového granátu. Heydrich, který v rozporu s bezpečnostními předpisy nechal zastavit vozidlo, byl při výbuchu zraněn střepinou. 4. června 1942 přes veškerou péči lékařů na následky zranění zemřel.  Atentátníkům se díky pomoci odboje podařilo ukrýt a německé moci se jim ani přes rozsáhlé vyšetřování a represálie nepodařilo přijít na stopu. Teprve díky zradě jednoho z výsadkářů, rtn. Karla Čurdy z výsadku Out distance, se německé vyšetřovací orgány dostaly až ke kryptě pravoslavného chrámu svatých Cyrila a Metoděje v Resslově ulici, kde se atentátníci skrývali společně s příslušníky dalších výsadků. 18. června 1942 zde došlo k urputnému boji mezi výsadkáři a německými jednotkami, při kterém Kubiš s Gabčíkem a dalšími pěti výsadkáři padli. Výsledek operace  Přestože oba příslušníci desantu zahynuli, byla mise považována za úspěšnou, neboť zadaný úkol byl v plném rozsahu splněn. Samotná likvidace Heydricha se později stala předmětem řady sporů, neboť přes klady, které měla (zejména mezinárodní ohlas a následné odstoupení signatářských zemí od Mnichovské dohody, které přispělo k znovuobnovení poválečné ČSR v předmnichovských hranicích), přinesla i zápory. V reakci na atentát nacisté zavraždili několik tisíc Čechů, mj. vypálili obce Lidice (10. června 1942) a Ležáky (24. června 1942). Literatura      HANÁK, Vítězslav. Muži a radiostanice tajné války. Dvůr Králové nad Labem : ELLI print, 2002. ISBN 80-239-0322-5.     REICHL, Martin. Cesty osudu. Cheb : Svět křídel, 2004. ISBN 80-86808-04-1.     ŠOLC, Jiří. Přijdeme za svítání. Praha : Naše vojsko, Операция «Антропоид» — кодовое название операции по убийству протектора Богемии и Моравии Рейнхарда Гейдриха. Покушение провели 27 мая 1942 года два члена чехословацкого Сопротивления, Йозеф Габчик и Ян Кубиш, которые были подготовлены в Лондоне при участии британской спецслужбы Управления специальных операций. 4 июня Гейдрих скончался от полученных ран.  Содержание      1 Предпосылки и планирование операции     2 Покушение     3 Операция возмездия     4 Память     5 Примечания     6 Литература  Предпосылки и планирование операции  В 1939 году Чехословакия прекратила существование как самостоятельное государство, а её территория была разделена между Третьим рейхом, подконтрольным ему Протекторатом Богемии и Моравии, формально независимой Словацкой республикой, Польшей и Венгрией. В Лондоне было образовано правительство в изгнании под руководством Эдварда Бенеша. В сентябре 1941 года Гитлер, недовольный недостаточно решительными действиями оккупационных властей Протектората, отправил имперского протектора Константина фон Нейрата в «бессрочный отпуск» и назначил его заместителем (фактически — полноправным диктатором) обергруппенфюрера СС Рейнхарда Гейдриха. Под руководством Гейдриха прошла волна арестов и казней борцов Сопротивления и сочувствующих им, в результате деятельность Сопротивления в Чехии была сведена на нет[1][2].  В 1940 году после эвакуации из Франции остатки сражавшихся на стороне союзников чехословацких частей образовали тренировочный лагерь под Честером. В том же году лагерь переместился в Лимингтон-Спа, где и находился до весны 1942 года[3]. Начиная с 1941 года бывший высокопоставленный сотрудник чехословацкой разведки Франтишек Моравец, работавший в Министерстве обороны Великобритании, разрабатывал план заброса чехословацких диверсантов на территорию Протектората[4].  План убийства Гейдриха сложился в октябре 1941 года. Бенеш вёл переговоры с главами стран антигитлеровской коалиции за отмену Мюнхенского соглашения, поэтому ему было необходимо поднять престиж своего правительства и всего чехословацкого Сопротивления. Кроме того, убийство кого-либо из крупных нацистских политиков вызвало бы карательные операции немцев, которые, в свою очередь, ожесточили бы местное население[2]. Журналист Хайнц Хёне также указывает, что после репрессий в начале своего правления Гейдрих начал проводить политику умиротворения, которая была не в интересах Сопротивления[1]. Кроме Гейдриха в качестве мишеней рассматривались Карл Франк и местные коллаборационисты (например, Эмануэль Моравец)[2][5]. Датой убийства было назначено 28 октября — день независимости Чехословакии[5].  Моравец отобрал двух диверсантов, Йозефа Габчика и Карела Свободу, которые прошли курс подготовки под Манчестером. Ночью с 3 на 4 октября на территорию протектората был заброшен радист Франтишек Павелка, который должен был наладить связь с Лондоном. 6 октября Свобода получил травму головы, выполняя прыжок с парашютом с аэростата, и был заменён на Яна Кубиша. Из-за этого сроки операции пришлось перенести[6]. Тем временем немецкая контрразведка раскрыла налаженную сеть подполья, а 25 октября был арестован Павелка (казнён в январе 1943 года в тюрьме Плётцензее). В результате сроки ещё раз сдвинулись. Покушение  Доставка Габчика и Кубиша состоялась ночью с 28 на 29 декабря 1941 года. Самолёт Handley Page Halifax британских ВВС вылетел с аэродрома в Сассексе в 22 часа и в 2:12 выбросил Габчика и Кубиша. Из-за навигационной ошибки диверсантов высадили не под Пльзенем, как планировалось, а в пригороде Праги Негвизды[7]. Затем были сброшены ещё две группы чешских диверсантов, три и два человека соответственно. Габчик и Кубиш были экипированы револьверами кольт, ручными гранатами Миллса, бомбами разных видов и поддельными документами. Диверсанты спрятали снаряжение и, следуя полученным перед вылетом инструкциям, добрались до Пльзеня, где остановились в заранее определённых квартирах у участников Сопротивления Вацлава Краля и Вацлава Стелика. В дальнейшем они наладили контакты со многими другими активными деятелями подполья.  В апреле 1942 года Гейдрих сменил резиденцию в Пражском Граде на замок Юнгферн Брешан в пригороде Праги[8]. Теперь он каждый день ездил в центр города на автомобиле без охраны, что позволяло совершить покушение по пути следования машины.  Вечером 26 мая Гейдрих открыл в Праге музыкальный фестиваль, который должен был стать традиционным. Главным событием стало исполнение произведений Бруно Гейдриха, отца заместителя протектора. На следующий день Гейдрих собирался уехать по делам в Берлин[9][10]. Утром 27 мая Габчик и Кубиш поджидали автомобиль Гейдриха на так называемом Кобылисском повороте в районе Либень[11]. На крутом и узком повороте машина должна была притормозить. Впереди стоял Йозеф Валчик, входивший в одну из двух групп парашютистов, сброшенных 29 декабря. Он должен был просигналить о приближении Гейдриха с помощью карманного зеркальца[12]. Габчик был вооружён складным пистолетом-пулемётом «STEN», а Кубиш держал при себе бомбу, оба агента имели также пистолеты.  Автомобиль Гейдриха подъехал к месту, где его ждали агенты, в 10:32. Когда машина затормозила у поворота, Габчик выхватил пистолет-пулемёт и попытался выстрелить в Гейдриха в упор, но патрон заклинило[9]. Гейдрих приказал водителю Кляйну, в тот день заменявшему постоянного шофёра Гейдриха, остановить машину и вытащил табельный пистолет. Тогда Кубиш метнул в машину бомбу, но промахнулся, и бомба взорвалась за правым задним колесом, ранив как Гейдриха, так и Кубиша (ему слегка задело лицо осколками). Гейдрих и Кляйн выпрыгнули из автомобиля. Кляйн случайно разрядил своё оружие и не смог помешать Кубишу скрыться на заранее заготовленном велосипеде, но по приказу Гейдриха продолжил преследование Габчика[9]. Тяжелораненный Гейдрих (он получил перелом ребра и осколочное ранение селезёнки, в которую попали металлические детали обивки автомобиля и кусок мундира) упал около Мерседеса. Его доставили в госпиталь в грузовике, который остановил случайно оказавшийся на месте покушения чешский полицейский[13].  Около полудня Гейдрих был прооперирован в госпитале Буловка. Гейдриху была удалена селезёнка, в которой оставались металлический осколок и фрагменты обивки автомобиля[14]. 27 мая в госпиталь прибыл личный врач Гиммлера Карл Гебхардт. Он прописал больному большие дозы морфина. Утром 3 июня состояние Гейдриха улучшилось, но уже около полудня он впал в кому и умер на следующий день. Причиной смерти было указано заражение внутренних органов, ослабленных из-за удаления селезёнки[15].  Существует распространённая теория, что причиной смерти Гейдриха был токсин ботулизма, которым была заражена граната. Британский микробиолог Пол Филдс (англ.), в годы войны занимавшийся исследованиями бактериологического оружия, якобы утверждал, что участвовал в подготовке «Антропоида» и Гейдрих стал его первой «зарубкой на пистолете»[16][17]. Современные исследователи подвергают теорию сомнению, указывая на то, что отсутствуют какие-либо документальные подтверждения использования токсинов ботулизма, и ни у Гейдриха, ни у раненного тем же осколками Кубиша не было выявлено типичных для ботулизма симптомов[16][17]. Операция возмездия См. также: Бой в соборе Святых Кирилла и Мефодия  Уже в день покушения, 27 мая, статс-секретарь Протектората Карл Франк ввёл на его территории чрезвычайное положение. Гиммлер отдал приказ о проведении карательных мероприятий[18]. 3 июня гестапо получило сведения о том, что к убийству могли быть причастны два чешских пилота, которые бежали в Великобританию, но родственники которых жили в деревне Лидице. Несмотря на то, что эта информация не подтвердилась, было принято решение об уничтожении деревни[19].  Вечером 9 июня деревня была окружена немцами. Все мужчины старше 16 лет (172 человека) были заперты на одной из ферм и утром расстреляны, 195 женщин были отправлены в концентрационный лагерь Равенсбрюк, дети доставлены в Центральное бюро по делам переселенцев города Лицманштадт (нем. Umwandererzentralstelle Litzmannstadt) и впоследствии распределены по немецким семьям, следы большинства из них были потеряны[20]. Большинство построек были сожжены.  После убийства Гейдриха часть бойцов Сопротивления, включая всех парашютистов, укрывались в крипте кафедрального собора святых Кирилла и Мефодия Чешской православной Церкви в Праге. 16 июня один из участников Сопротивления, Карел Чурда, выдал гестапо имена и места жительства десятков борцов и членов их семей. В ходе допросов немцы узнали, что парашютисты укрываются в соборе. 18 июня войска под командованием бригаденфюрера СС Карла фон Тройенфельда провели штурм церкви. Оказавшись в безвыходной ситуации, защитники церкви покончили с собой (Ян Кубиш умер от ран позднее)[21]. 4 сентября были расстреляны священники кафедрального собора Вацлав Чикл и Владимир Петршик, староста храма Ян Сонневенд и добровольно присоединившийся к ним епископ Пражский Горазд. 27 сентября Чешская православная церковь была запрещена, её имущество конфисковано, духовенство подвергнуто арестам и заключениям[22]. Были расстреляны и многие арестованные участники Сопротивления, члены их семей и сочувствующие. В одном из докладов гестапо говорится о расстреле 1331 человека, в том числе 201 женщины[23]. Память  В первую годовщину смерти Гейдриха на месте покушения был установлен его бюст, который уничтожили советские войска при освобождении Праги. 27 мая 2009 года в Праге на месте покушения был открыт памятник участникам операции «Антропоид».[24].  Об операции «Антропоид» было снято несколько фильмов, включая созданную менее чем через год после покушения, когда многие подробности операции не были известны, картину Фрица Ланга «Палачи тоже умирают». Об убийстве Гейдриха рассказывает песня «SS-3» с альбома Divine Intervention американской группы Slayer. מבצע אנתרופואיד הוא שם הקוד למבצע ההתנקשות בריינהרד היידריך, ראש המשרד הראשי לביטחון הרייך והרייכספרוטקטור של אזור בוהמיה ומורביה (צ'כוסלובקיה), אשר לאחר כיבושו בידי הנאצים כונה "הפרוטקטורט". המבצע יצא אל הפועל בפראג ב-27 במאי 1942, לאחר שאנשי ממשל צ'כים הגולים בבריטניה, ובראשם ראש הממשלה הצ'כית הגולה, אדווארד בנש, קיבלו החלטה אסטרטגית לערער את השליטה בצ'כוסלובקיה הכבושה בידי הנאצים. היידריך נפצע במהלך ההתנקשות והובהל לבית החולים. לאחר מספר ימים, ב-4 ביוני 1942, מת מפצעיו. מותו היכה בתדהמה את צמרת השלטון הנאצי‏[1] ועורר תגובות נזעמות כלפי האוכלוסייה המקומית, אשר בשיאן בוצע הטבח הנורא בכפר לידיצה‏[2].  תוכן עניינים הערות שוליים  רקע  ריינהרד היידריך היה מבכירי הקצינים הנאציים אשר פעלו לצידו של אדולף היטלר. הוא שימש כסגנו ויד ימינו של היינריך הימלר כראש המשרד הראשי לביטחון הרייך. לימים הטיל עליו היטלר את המשימה למצוא פתרון ל"בעיית היהודים", תפקיד אשר היידריך, כבירוקרט, ביצע בדיוק רב. היידריך היה מי שכינס את "ועידת ואנזה" בינואר 1942 ועמד מאחורי שואת יהודי אירופה, הוא אדריכל הפתרון הסופי ואחראי על הוצאתו לפועל. יד ימינו בהוצאה לפועל של השמדת יהודי אירופה היה אדולף אייכמן. ב-15 במרץ 1939 נכנסו הנאציים לפראג והשלימו את השליטה בצ'כוסלובקיה שתחילתה היה בכיבוש חבל הסודטים בשנת 1938 בחסות הסכם מינכן. היידריך מונה על ידי היטלר לשמש כרייך פרוטקטור של אזור בוהמיה ומורביה, הלכה למעשה היה המושל מטעמו של הרייך הגרמני על צ'כוסלובקיה הכבושה בידי הנאצים.   תכנון המבצע  ברחבי הפרוטקטורט השליט היידריך טרור אכזר כלפי העם הצ'כי, תוך דיכוי ממשי של כיסי התנגדות וכוחות המחתרת באזור. שלטונו האכזר של היידריך ועצם השליטה הנאצית בפראג הובילו, בשנת 1941, את הממשלה הצ'כית הגולה, אשר מקום מושבה היה בלונדון, לפעול לערעור שלטון הנאצים בצ'כוסלובקיה. תחילה הוחלט להוציא אל הפועל מבצע התנקשות בחייו של קרל הרמן פרנק, מזכיר המדינה ומפקד המשטרה של הפרוטקטורט הנאצי, אשר פעל תחת היידריך. עד מהרה שונתה התוכנית ונפלה ההחלטה לכוון את המבצע אל ראש הפירמידה: יעד המבצע הפך להיות ריינהרד היידריך עצמו. מלבד חיסולו של היידריך הייתה להתנקשות מטרה נוספת - להוכיח לנאצים עצמם ולעולם כולו כי הנאצים אינם חסינים מהתקפה.  מבצע ההתנקשות בחייו של ריינהרד היידריך זכה לכינוי: "אנתרופואיד" (באנגלית: "דמוי אדם"). ההכנות למבצע החלו ב-20 באוקטובר 1941. יאן קוביש (בצ'כית:Jan Kubiš) וקארל סוובודה (בצ'כית: Karel Svoboda) נבחרו לבצע את פעולת ההתנקשות. לאחר פציעתו של סוובודה במהלך האימונים לקראת המבצע הוא הוחלף בחברו של קוביש מהשירות הצבאי, יוזף גבצ'יק (בצ'כית:Jozef Gabčík)‏[3].  בליל ה-28 בדצמבר 1941 צנחו קוביש וגבצ'יק יחד עם שתי קבוצות צנחנים, Sliver A ו-Silver B, ממטוס חיל האוויר המלכותי הבריטי, בכפר Nehvizdy, מזרחית לעיר פראג, לא רחוק מהעיר פילזן. עם הגעתם חברו למחתרת הצ'כית וב-8 בינואר 1942 הגיעו השניים לראשונה לפראג והחלו נטמעים באוכלוסייה. במרבית הזמן קיבלו סיוע ומסתור ממשפחת מורבאק, אשר סייעה למחתרת הצ'כית.  כעבור מספר חודשי התאקלמות החלו קוביש וגבצ'יק לתכנן את ההתנקשות בהיידריך. נשקלו מספר אפשריות: האחת הייתה לחסל את היידריך בעודו נוסע ברכבת, באמצעות רימון, אך היא נפסלה. נשקלה אפשרות לחסלו ביער, בדרכו מפראג, ולחלופין למתוח חבל לרוחב הכביש, בכל נקודה אחרת, דבר שיכפה על נהגו של היידריך לעצור את מכונית המרצדס, בעלת הגג הפתוח, באופן שיאפשר ליצור מגע עם היידריך ולחסלו.  תוכנית ההתנקשות שנבחרה לבסוף הייתה התקנתו של מארב מתוכנן להיידריך, בעודו נוסע ברכבו בדרכו מביתו שבפרבר צפוני של העיר פראג בשם Panenské Břežany, לעבר מצודת פראג (Pražský hrad), מעונו הרשמי של היידריך. לקראת המבצע החלו קוביש וגבצ'יק באיסוף מידע אודות סידורי האבטחה ושגרת חייו של היידריך. ההתנקשות בריינהרד היידריך המכונית של היידריך, שבה אירעה ההתנקשות ריינהרד היידריך  ב-27 במאי 1942, התמקמו קוביש וגבצ'יק בעיקול חד ברחוב הוולשוביצה (בצ'כית:V Holešovičkách) שברובע Libeň שבפראג. צנחן נוסף, יוזף ולצ'יק מהכוח Silver A שצנח עימם, התמקם בגבעה סמוכה כשתפקידו היה לאותת לשניים כאשר רכבו של היידריך מתקרב לעיקול. מעט אחרי השעה 10:00 בבוקר, בחלוף למעלה משעה מהמועד הצפוי, בעוד רכבו של היידריך בושש מלהגיע ונראה היה כי לא ניתן יהיה להוציא את המבצע אל הפועל, אותת וולצ'יק לשניים כי רכבו של היידריך מתקרב לעיקול. קוביש שעמד מן העבר השני של הדרך, חצה אותה לכיוונו של גבצ'יק כאשר בתיקו, אשר הוסתר במעיל שאחז, הוסתר מקלע מדגם סטן. בשניות שלפני הגעת הרכב הגיחו זוג קרונות של הרכבת החשמלית אשר חשפה אזרחים לסכנה ואיימה לשבש את התוכנית. בהחלטה מהירה ונחושה, כאשר רכבו של היידריך הגיע לעיקול, שלף גבצי'ק את מקלע הסטן במטרה לירות על היידריך היושב ברכבו לצד נהגו.  ברגע הקריטי סבל מקלע הסטן ממעצור ולא ירה. נהגו של היידריך בלם את רכב המרצדס ונעצר. היידריך התרומם ממקום מושבו תוך שהוא שולף את אקדחו. בתגובה מהירה שלף קוביש רימון בריטי נגד טנקים אשר הסתיר באמתחתו ויידה אותו לעברו של היידריך. הרימון פגע בצידו הימני אחורי של הרכב והתפוצץ - היידריך ונהגו נפגעו‏[4].  מיד לאחר הפיצוץ, קוביש, שנפצע אף הוא מהפיצוץ, החל להימלט מזירת ההתנקשות, רכוב על אופניו. גבצ'יק, גם הוא, פתח במנוסה רגלית. השניים ברחו לכיוון מרכז העיר פראג, כל אחד בכיוון שונה, שם מצאו מקלט בעזרתה של משפחת מוראבק המקומית.  לאחר ההתנקשות הובהל היידריך כשהוא פצוע במצב קשה אך בהכרה, לבית החולים הסמוך. הרופאים קבעו כי יש להביאו במהרה אל שולחן הניתוחים, אך הוא דרש להיות מנותח אך ורק על ידי רופא גרמני שיגיע מברלין. רק כאשר השתכנע כי יש לנתחו מיד ולא, תשקף סכנה לחייו, התרצה והסכים כי רק רופא מהמרפאה הגרמנית בפראג ינתחו.  היידירך נותח, הרופאים הצליחו לייצב את מצבו והוא החל מתאושש מהפציעות הקשות שספג. לאחר מספר ימים מצבו הדרדר ואובחן שהוא סובל מאלח דם. ההשערה היא כי נגרם כתוצאה משערות זנב הסוס אשר ריפדו את מושב הרכב וחדרו לגופו שעה שעפו לכל עבר עקב התפוצצות הרימון. לשם טיפול במצבו המתדרדר נדרש לרופאים פניצילין. אלא שחומר זה, שהיה באותה תקופה לאנגלים, אויביי הרייך, לא היה בנמצא ברחבי גרמניה. מצבו של ריינהרד היידריך הלך והחמיר וב-4 ביוני 1942 מת מפצעיו‏[5]. השלכות המבצע  ההתנקשות, ומותו מאוחר יותר של היידריך, הכו את המשטר הנאצי כרעם ביום בהיר. תגובתו של היטלר הייתה נזעמת והנקמה לא בוששה לבוא. במקביל לחקירה המאומצת ולחיפושים נרחבים של כוחות אס.אס בכל רחבי הפרוטקטורט הגיע אל הגסטאפו מכתב אשר הועבר ממנהל בית חרושת פרו-נאצי. המכתב, אשר נשלח בסמוך למועד ההתנקשות, היה ממוען לאחת מעובדות המפעל אשר לא הגיעה לעבודה באותו היום ובשל כך נקרא על ידי מנהלה. המכתב רמז על קשר רומנטי בין צעיר לאהובתו, אותה הוא חושש שלא יראה עוד לעולם. חוקרי הגסטאפו הנואשים לקצה חוט היו משוכנעים כי זהו מכתב מאחד המתנקשים. המשך החקירה הובילה לכפר לידיצ'ה שם מצאו אנשי הגסטאפו שני חיילים צ'כים מחיל האוויר הבריטי אשר אינם קשורים לאירוע ההתנקשות, אך לגסטאפו זה היה מספיק. האשמה הוטלה על הכפר לידיצ'ה כולו כמקום ממנו יצאו המתנקשים בהיידריך. כאשר הועבר המידע להיטלר הוא החליט כי הכפר ישלם את המחיר הכבד.  מיד לאחר פקודתו של היטלר נכנסו אל הכפר כוחות אס.אס וביצעו בו את אחת מפעולות הטבח המזוויעות ביותר שביצעו הנאצים ואשר היו ידועות לעולם, עד אותה העת. היטלר הורה לכוחותיו למחוק את הכפר מן המפה, הלכה למעשה, ולהחריבו עד היסוד. במהלך הטבח בלידיצ'ה הוצאו להורג מרבית תושבי הכפר, נשים, גברים, ילדים וזקנים כאחד ואילו חלקם הקטן נשלח למחנות. הגרמנים לא הסתפקו בכך, על השטח עלו כלים הנדסיים כבדים אשר לא הותירו כמעט אף מבנה על תילו ומתים הוצאו מקבריהם. הכפר לידיצ'ה נמחק ולא הותר ממנו זכר.  החדשות אודות הטבח המזעזע בכפר לידיצ'ה הגיעו למהדורות העיתונים המודפסות ברחבי העולם, חשפו את העולם לזוועות אשר ביצעו הנאצים ועוררו זעם רב ותחושות הזדהות. המרדף אחר המתנקשים הפתח בקיר דרכו הוחדר זרנוק המים בניסיון להטביע את הצנחנים. מסביב, פגעי הירי מנשקם של כוחות הס.ס.  המאמצים ללכידת המתנקשים הורגשו בכל הפרוטקטורט ובעיר פראג בפרט. על העיר הוטל עוצר בשעות הלילה ופרס של עשרה מיליון קרונות הוצע תמורת כל המוסר מידע אודות המתנקשים. כוחות אס.אס שטפו את העיר בחיפושים אחר קצה חוט אך לשווא.  קוביש וגבצ'יק יחד עם וולצ'יק וצנחנים נוספים בצוות After liberation he worked shortly with the Ministry of National Defence. In the year 1946, he left the army and worked as a manager of a food store in Brno. He left for Canada in 1968, where he died in Toronto in the mid 1980’s. Moravec’s Office for People’s Enlightenment was to oversee film production. Films were to make people forget the reality of everyday life. People were to work for the good of the Third Reich and not to worry about anything else. January 20, 1942, in Berlin-Wannsee, a secret meeting took place that was to coordinate the systematic extermination of European Jews. One of the leading architects of the “final solution to the Jewish problem (Endlösung der Judenfrage)” was Reinhard Heydrich. After the Wannsee meeting, which laid the foundations for the extermination of six million European Jews, he stated that the “final solution to the Jewish problem” would involve 11 million people, of which 74,000 were living in the Protectorate. Five days after the meeting in Wannsee, Reinhard Heydrich advised K. H. Frank that Göring, had appointed him on July 31, 1941, to take all the steps necessary for implementing the “final solution to the Jewish problem”. 51 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia february 1942 One the most important mission objectives of the SILVER A group was to establish contact with Capt. 1st Class Václav Morávek. Through this last member of the most famous section of the Nation’s Defence still on the run, whom the Gestapo called with respect “the three Czech kings of the resistance”, the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service in London was trying to reestablish the flow of information from Agent A-54, interrupted from October 4, 1941, by the confiscation of the last remaining transmitter, SPARTA I, in Jinonice . Agent A-54, with whom the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service had cooperated since as early as 1936, was – with an unsuspecting Intelligence Office Service – Paul Thümmel, the Chief Resident of the Counter Espionage Section, Dept. III.F, of the Prague Abwehr Station. This double agent supplied the Czechoslovak Intelligence with valuable information, for no small amount of money and also a lot of disinformation. Bartoš had been trying to make a contact with Morávek for a long time without any success. No one could suspect that the effort to gain more information from A-54 (otherwise known as RENÉ or EVA) as well as all other efforts were pointless because the Gestapo, along with the transmitter SPARTA I, obtained many dispatches which they were able to decipher. The Gestapo therefore knew already that the most important news sent by the home resistance movement to London was coming from someone sitting high up in German military circles and using the cover name RENÉ. On October 19, 1941, on the basis of uncovered facts, Paul Thümmel was arrested with Heydrich’s consent. Since they were unable to prove anything against him, he was released on November 25, 1941, following interventions from prominent representatives of the Nazi war machinery. After more evidence was gathered, Thümmel was arrested again on February 22, 1942. He confessed, trying to convince the Gestapo that his intent was to capture the entire leadership of the Czechoslovak resistance movement. On March 2, 1942, he was released on condition that he would bring Capt. 1st Class Morávek to a meeting. One of the “three kings” the Gestapo caught, apart from Capt. 1st Class Václav Morávek, was During the process of getting Lt. Col. Josef Balabán, who was arrested on April 22, 1941, with the aid of Gestapo informer rid of Lt. Col. J. Mašín the A. Nerad. He was executed by shooting in Ruzyně Barracks on October 3, 1941. The last Gestapo confiscated this of the trio was Lt. Col. Josef Mašín, arrested on May 13, 1941, during a transmission makeshift baton. to London. He was executed on June 30, 1942 in Prague-Kobylisy. Václav Morávek Sabotage was an important part of the activities of the members of the Nation’s Defence. Lt. Col. Josef Mašín’s group manufactured special bombs, masked as coal briquettes, which they would plant in the coal bins of target buildings. Walther PPK Cal. 7,65mm pistol used by Gestapo members. JOSEF BALABÁN (5. 6. 1894–3. 10. 1941) In the years of WWI he was a member of the Czechoslovak Legion in Russia. In the years of the First Republic he held many posts in various artillery formations and staffs (commander of a battery, commander of a division, 2nd in command of a regiment), He also held the position of head of a department of the MNO (Ministry of National Defence). After the occupation of CSR, as part of the liquidation of the Czechoslovak military establishment, he was assigned to a commission that was to find employment for former officers in the civil sector. From the spring of 1939 he was involved in the Nation’s Defence. He made a personal and determined effort to coordinate individual groups of the home resistance movement. As a result of being betrayedl by a former colleague, he was arrested by the Gestapo. During the interrogation he conducted himself with courage and did not betray any of his colleagues. He was executed in Prague-Ruzyně during the first martial law period. JOSEF MAŠÍN (26. 8. 1896–30. 6. 1942) During WWI he was a member of the Czechoslovak Legion in Russia. From March 1928 he served with the 1st Artillery Regiment in Prague-Ruzyně. In March 1939 he wanted to blow up the army barracks, including its stores of weapons and explosives, but was prevented from doing so. After the occupation he created an intelligence diversion group, as part of the Nation’s Defence, and was able to carry out a string of actions even on German territory (the attack on the Luftwaffe headquarters and the Anhalt railway station in Berlin). In mid-May 1941 the Gestapo arrested him. His heroic resistance during the arrest enabled Cpt. Morávek and radio operator F. Peltán to escape. Despite inhumane torture he did not betray any of his colleagues. He was executed with his colleagues in Prague-Kobylisy during the second martial law period. VÁCLAV MORÁVEK (8. 8. 1904–21. 3. 1942) Between 1923-1925 he graduated from the Military Academy in Hranice, which he left as artillery lieutenant. Until March 1939 he served with the 107th Artillery Regiment in Olomouc. He was an exceptional horse rider and sharpshooter. He tried to cross the border to Poland, but his attempt was unsuccessful. In the autumn of 1939 he established contact with Lt. Col. J. Balabán and J. Mašín. His credo was: “I believe in God and my pistols”. After the arrest of his colleagues he continued to pursue his intelligence activities. He maintained contact with London and also agent Paul Thümmel (A-54). His meeting with a colleague was betrayed to the Gestapo. He was wounded in the ensuing shootout and, in order not to fall into the hands of the enemy, he committed suicide. 52 february 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia At the beginning of 1942 Heydrich began to implement his plan of racial mapping within the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. He started to fulfill ideas that he expressly defined shortly after taking office: “In order to have an idea as to which of these people living in the area are suitable for Germanization, I have to have a racial and nationalist census. This involves the use of various methods and all kinds of back door approaches so that I can classify the entire population by nationality and race.” Buses fitted with X-ray apparatus started to cross the country, while workers were conducting racial examinations of children in schools. These examinations were given under the pretext of protection against tuberculosis. In his speech of February 4, 1942, to the leading representatives of the occupying power, Heydrich addressed the racial issue as follows: “...Clearly, if I am to germanize the country, I must know who is suitable for germanization. I reckon the number is somewhere between 40 and 60 percent ...Those who are suitable for germanization will, whenever feasible be, sent to work in the Reich in a manner precluding their return. Those who are not suitable, we could use around the Arctic Ocean, where we will take over the Russian concentration camps... Those camps would make an ideal home for the 11 million European Jews. Czechs who are not suitable for germanization could serve there in the name of positive service for Germany as guards, foremen, and so on...” Racial research was carried out also with the aid of tables that were to determine race, based on the color of the skin, hair, and eyes. The largest “cultural event” of the Heydrich Era was an exposition named “Soviet Paradise”, ceremoniously opened by K.H. Frank on February 28, 1942. The exposition that had been shipped to Prague from Vienna at Heydrich’s initiative showed visitors the poor living conditions of the Soviet Union and the dangers of Bolshevism. Among the exhibits were samples of captured Soviet military hardware. The State President, Dr. Emil Hácha, too, was obliged to visit the Exposition as he had to accompany the new Minister of Education, Emanuel Moravec. Most Czech visitors considered the Exposition a product of Nazi propaganda. During four weeks of organized mass visits, approximately half a million people saw the Exposition, including Josef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš. 53 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia march 1942 In March 1942 the SILVER A group was finally able to establish contact with Capt. 1st Class Václav Morávek. On March 14, 1942 the LIBUŠE radio station was able to inform London that contact was established and added eagerly-awaited dispatches from Morávek with news from Agent A-54. With the establishment of contact with Morávek (and Agent A-54) and the representatives of ÚVOD, about which London had had no news from October 4, 1941, SILVER A fulfilled its mission and became one of the most successful paratroop groups ever sent to the Protectorate. However, it was no longer possible to send new information from Agent A-54. Paul Thümmel was already under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. On his own initiative he was still able to warn Morávek in time (had Morávek spoken, it would have meant the death sentence for him). Then, on March 20, 1942, Thümmel was arrested, imprisoned in the Small Fortress in Terezín, and shot on March 20, 1945. On March 1942, Capt. 1st Class Václav Morávek met with First Lt. Alfréd Bartoš in Prague for the last time, to give him more messages for the LIBUŠE radio transmitter. Bartoš gave him in turn photographs of the paratroopers in group SILVER A for their new false documents. On the following day, March 21, 1942, Capt. 1st Class Václav Morávek committed suicide near Prašný Bridge, while being chased by the Gestapo. One of the most courageous members of the Czechoslovak home resistance movement had died. On March 28, 1942, the OUT DISTANCE Group was air-dropped near Ořechov. This sabotage group was made up of First Lt. Adolf Opálka, WO Karel Čurda, and Corporal Cadet Ivan Kolařík, who were to join up with the SILVER A group. Most importantly, they brought into the Protectorate a BEACON radio to guide incoming flights (forerunner of the better known EURECA) and a MARK III radio transmitter. Ivan Kolařík lost his false documents upon landing, which later led Gestapo to his trace. In an attempt to save his relatives from retribution, he poisoned himself near Zlín, This monthly tram pass made out in the name Miloš Votava was one of Morávek’s false documents. on April 1, 1942. The Gestapo managed to find all of the group’s operational material, hidden in a dugout pit. Adolf Opálka made contact with Alfréd Bartoš in Pardubice, who was in charge of the paratroopers hiding in Prague. Karel Čurda found his way to Prague in the same manner. As part of the same flight, Halifax Mk.II/srs. 1a L9618 (NF-W) took off with a Polish crew under the command of F/Lt Mariusz Wódzicki, Group ZINC comprised of First Lt. Oldřich Pechal, WO Arnošt Mikš, and Sgt. Vilém Gerik. The Group, whose task was to form an intelligence outpost (like SILVER A) for operations in the Moravia region, was airdropped as far as Gbely, Slovakia, due to a navigation error, with fatal consequences for the group. While attempting to cross the border into the Protectorate, Pechal was arrested. He managed to escape, but the Gestapo got hold of his personal documents and were able to identify him. He was arrested on June 2, 1942. In the meantime, Gerik voluntarily approached the Gestapo and helped them trap his own commander. WO Arnošt Mikš, who was wounded during an attempted takeover of materials from other groups, shot himself on April 30, 1942. KAREL ČURDA (10. 10. 1911–29. 4. 1947) After doing his military service with the 29th Infantry Regiment in Jindřichův Hradec (1933-1935), he remained in Czechoslovak Army. He became supervisor of a Financial Guard on June 8, 1938, and served in Lošov near Olomouc. In June 1939 he left for France through Poland, where he joined the Foreign Legion and from 1939 the Czechoslovak Army Abroad (the 10th Company of the 1st Infantry Regiment). He did not participate in battles on the front. In Britain he was placed on the automobile company. He volunteered for missions behind enemy lines and, following the necessary training, he was assigned to OUT DISTANCE. On June 16, 1942 he voluntarily presented himself to the Gestapo. For his treason he was arrested on May 14, 1945, sentenced to death, and executed. IVAN KOLAŘÍK (22. 3. 1920–1. 4. 1942) After graduating from high school in Valašské Meziříčí, he studied medicine. After the closure of the universities he left the country for France via Slovakia and the Balkans. He was placed there as a private in the Czechoslovak Army Abroad on March 6, 1940. He served with the 8th Company of the 1st Infantry Regiment with which he participated in battles against the Germans. After the fall of France he evacuated to Britain on the ship Rod-el-Farag. There he was placed with the 2nd Company of the 1st Infantry Battalion. He volunteered for special missions in the homeland and after attending mandatory training was placed with OUT DISTANCE. After the airdrop, by an unfortunate series of coincidences, he found himself in a hopeless situation and committed suicide. He was the first Czechoslovak paratrooper to die in the Protectorate. ADOLF OPÁLKA (4. 1. 1915–18. 6. 1942) Between 1937 and 1938 he studied at the Military Academy in Hranice and graduated with the rank of Lt. of Infantry. In July 1939 he left for France through Poland, served in the Foreign Legion in Sidi bel Abbes ́and later in Oran. He enlisted in Agde in September 1939. He progressively went through all the regiments of the 1st Czechoslovak Division. He participated in battles on the French front. Upon arrival in Britain he served in a machine gun company. He volunteered for missions behind enemy lines. He was sent to the occupied homeland as a commander of OUT DISTANCE. He established contact with Capt. A. Bartoš, whereupon he was sent to Prague to become the Commander of the “Prague Paratroopers”. He participated in preparations of Heydrich’s assassination. He died in the Church on Resslova Street. 54 march – april 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia OLDŘICH PECHAL (12. 5. 1913–22. 9. 1942) During the years 1935-1937 he studied at the Military Academy in Hranice. He graduated as Lt. of Infantry. After the occupation of CSR he left for France via Poland and, on September 8, 1939, enlisted in Agde. He first served with the 3rd Infantry Regiment and later as Company Commander of accompanying weaponry with the 2nd Infantry Regiment. After evacuating to Britain he served with a Machine Gun Company and was later placed with the Command Reserve. He volunteered for Special Missions in the homeland and after graduating from the training course was made Commander of ZINC group. After the dramatic events that took place in the Protectorate he was arrested on June 2, 1942. Following the Gestapo’s futile attempts at forcing him into collaboration, he was sentenced to death and executed in Mauthausen. ARNOŠT MIKŠ (27. 6. 1913–30. 4. 1942) He was apprenticed as a mason and, during 1936-1938, he completed his military service and was discharged as Sergeant. After the occupation of CSR he went to France via the Balkans. There he enlisted in Agde on January 13, 1940, with the Czechoslovak Army as 2nd in command of the Machine Gun Platoon, whereupon he participated with his unit in French battles. After the battles ended, he was shipped out to Britain, where he became 2nd in command of a platoon in one of the companies in the 1st Battalion. He completed all the courses and was placed with ZINC. While searching for some airdropped material, he ran into a gendarme patrol and was wounded in the ensuing battle. So as not to fall into the hands of the enemy, he committed suicide. VILIAM GERIK (28. 12. 1920–29. 4. 1947) He was apprenticed as a radio mechanic. In November 1939, he left via Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Beirut for France where, in April 1940, he was placed with the 8th Company of the 1st Czechoslovak Infantry Regiment with which he took part in battles against the Germans. In Britain, he served with the communications platoon of the 2nd Battalion. He was airdropped into the homeland as a radio operator of ZINC. He was unable to establish contact and on April 4, 1942, he presented himself to the Prague Police Headquarters. Being a Slovak citizen, he presumed he would be sent home but was handed over to the Gestapo instead. He did not prove to be a good informer and tried to break away from the Gestapo. As a result, he was arrested in the autumn of 1942 and was imprisoned in Dachau Concentration Camp for the remainder of the war. After the war, on May 25, 1945, he was arrested by the Czechoslovak authorities, given the death sentence for high treason and executed. The airdrop of OUT DISTANCE near Ořechov was detected and reported to the police. In their search of the drop zone area, the police eventually discovered a container with material for the operation, parachutes and, most importantly, the falsified documents of Ivan Kolařík. Reinhard Heydrich was informed about the discovery by teleprint on April 1, 1942. The photograph of Josef Valčík from airdrop SILVER A, found by the Gestapo, led to an extensive search action. The announcement, giving the wrong Christian name, was posted in all cities and villages of the Protectorate. Valčík was forced to leave SILVER A and began hiding in Prague where he started to cooperate with ANTHROPOID. As a result of the discovery of Kolařík’s documents, as well as documents for all the paratroopers already in the Protectorate, their personal falsified documents became potentially fatal. Their passes in London were stamped with a single falsified stamp from the police headquarters in Brno. This detail was noted by the Gestapo and, on April 7, 1942, the Ministry of Interior sent a strictly confidential file to the police headquarters in Prague with orders to scrutinize all persons who registered for residency after February 1, 1942, and whose documents were issued by the police headquarters in Brno. 55 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia april 1942 One of the mission objectives the paratroopers were to accomplish in the homeland was to help organize a British attempt to bomb the Škoda Works in Pilsen. This factory was among the three most prominent armament factories that were supplying the Third Reich. The target was distant (1200 km) from the British Isles and was at the end of the range for the bombers and the British navigation skills of the day. There were four unsuccessful attempts made on this target between October 1940 and October 1941. A new attempt on this target was made in the night of April 25, 1942, under the code name CANONBURY. It was carried out with the aid of six four-engine Short Sterling Mk.I bombers of the No 218 Squadron. On April 25, at 6 pm, the Czech BBC Broadcast sounded a password which was a signal for the members of airdrops OUT DISTANCE, ANTHROPOID and SILVER A to demarcate the target. The paratroopers ignited two barns to guide the bombing run. This time, the pilots were able to locate the Škoda Works but the target was covered in clouds at an altitude of approximately 300 metres. Only one of the crews was able to detect the signal fires and the remaining five Sterling Bombers dropped their bombs blindly. Not a single bomb fell on the Škoda Works and the entire operation was a failure. During the night of April 27 to 28, 1942 the Halifax Mk.II/sts 1a L9613 (NF-V), containing a Czechoslovak crew under the command of F/O Leo Anderle, airdropped BIOSCOP, BIVOUAC and STEEL in the Křivoklát area. During the night of April 29 to 30, 1942, Commander Anderle airdropped near Věšín, in the area of Rožmitál, from the Halifax aircraft MkII/srs. 1a L9618 (NF-W) groups INTRANSITIVE and TIN. SPRING ROUND OF AIRDROPS 1942 BIVOUAC TIN The objective of the mission, composed of Staff Sgt. Ludvík Cupal and Staff Sgt. Jaroslav Švarc, was to assassinate the Minister of Education, Emanuel Moravec. Staff Sgt. Švarc made contact with First Lt. Opálka and joined the other paratroopers in Prague, whereas Staff Sgt. Cupal moved to Moravia. On January 15, 1943, in Velehrad, Staff Sgt. Cupal shot himself during the Gestapo’s attempt to arrest him. BIOSCOP The sabotage group composed of WO Bohuslav Kouba, Sgt. Jan Hrubý and Sgt. Josef Bublík were able to make a contact with Zelenka-Hajský (see p. 60) who secured their accommodation and put them in touch with First Lt. Opálka. The attempt to retrieve the group’s buried operating material, which had already been discovered by the Germans, gave the Gestapo a direct lead to them. WO Kouba took poison on May 3, 1942, at a police station in Kutná Hora. The remaining two paratroopers managed to stay in hiding in Prague. STEEL Its only member was Lance-Corporal Oldřich Dvořák. He was carrying a new radio transmitter, new radio crystals for LIBUŠE, and poison for SILVER A. Upon landing he hid the transmitter in a field, where it was found the very next day during work in the field and handed over to the Gestapo. Dvořák joined SILVER A and, until June 30, 1942, worked with the amateur radio station for ÚVOD as a radio operator. After its discovery he tried to escape into Slovakia. Lcpl. Dvořák was shot on the run in Radošovice near Skalica on July 10, 1942. The sabotage group composed of WO František Pospíšil, Staff Sgt. Jindřich Čoupek, and Cpl. Libor Zapletal moved to Moravia. After the betrayal by Pospíšil’s school friend, the Gestapo started to search for them. Zapletal was arrested and disclosed to the Gestapo the hiding places of the others. Staff Sgt. Čoupek was arrested and executed on September 22, 1942, in Mauthausen. On September 27, 1944 Zapletal (who escaped from service for the Gestapo) was also executed there. Pospíšil managed to avoid capture by the Gestapo and organized many sabotage actions until the spring of 1943. The Gestapo arrested him with the help of their informer, Čurda. WO Pospíšil was executed in Terezín toward the end of 1944. INTRANSITIVE The mission objective of a sabotage and diversion group composed of First Lt. Václav Kindl, Sgt. Bohuslav Grabovský, and Cpl. Vojtěch Lukaštík was to damage the Mineral Oil Refinery in Kolín. At the beginning of May the Gestapo located the operating material, which meant that the mission’s objective could not be accomplished. Cpl. Lukaštík was shot on January 8, 1943, in a skirmish with the Gestapo in Janovice. In the middle of March 1943 the Gestapo arrested Kindl along with Grabovský. They both joined the services of the Gestapo. Grabovský was arrested again in October 1944 and executed in Terezín. Kindl became one of the leading confidants of the Gestapo. He was shot accidentally by Gestapo member in May 1944. LEO ANDERLE (25. 4. 1913–10. 12. 1942) He was apprenticed as an aircraft mechanic and graduated from a pilot’s course with VLU in Prostějov and, until the German invasion, he served with the air force. In 1939, after the occupation, he left for France via Poland. After the fall of France he continued his journey to North Africa and on to Britain, where he was placed with the No 311 (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron on July, 1940. He carried out a total of 27 night flights over Germany, for which he was promoted to officer. On October 9, 1941, he volunteered and joined the No 138 Squadron. He carried out 28 special missions over occupied Europe, six of which were over Czechoslovakia. In the spring of 1942, he airdropped BIOSCOP, BIVOUAC, STEEL, INTRANSITIVE, TIN, and ANTIMONY. His plane did not return from a night flight from Cairo to Malta. 56 april 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Compulsory labour was introduced in the Reich as early as the beginning of 1942 for all unmarried Czechs. Many tried to avoid this duty by marrying hastily, so compulsory labour was extended to all able-bodied citizens. In the year 1941, 45,999 Czech workers were sent to work in the Reich and, by 1942, that number had increased to 135,158. The forced labour arrangement also generated unforeseen problems for the guardians of pure race. In a report of RSHA, we read: “From many locations in the Reich, where millions of foreign workers are employed, we hear of cases of sexual contact with German women... and the danger of biological weakening of the German nation is constantly increasing ... the number of complaints about girls of German blood actually chasing Czech workers to establish a romantic relationship keeps growing...” The find of a parachuted container in Věšín led to the discovery of two other buried containers with operation material for INTRANSITIVE and TIN. On April 20, 1942, President Emil Hácha gave Adolf Hitler a military hospital train as a birthday gift from “all the citizens of the Protectorate”. Reinhard Heydrich received this gift in Prague’s main railway station. In no time at all a joke started to go around in the Protectorate, saying that Hitler must be in poor health to need an entire train. Photographed shortly before the departure of INTRANSITIVE and TIN for the homeland, from the left: GS Cpt. 1st Class Jaroslav Šustr with INTRANSITIVE members Cpl. Vojtěch Lukaštík, First Lt. Václav Kindl and Sgt. Bohuslav Grabovský. In front of them, Staff Sgt. Jaroslav Švarc and Staff Sgt. Ludvík Cupal, constituting TIN. 57 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia may 1942 The paratroopers devised various plans for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. At the beginning of April 1942 Heydrich himself contributed to the options for his own assassination when he moved from his temporary quarters in Prague Castle to a Château in Panenské Břežany. In the end a sharp right-hand curve, straddling the streets Kirchmayerova and V Holešovičkách, below a school in Kobylisy, was chosen for the attack. It was known that his car was driven through this curve daily on the way to Prague Castle and that his chauffeur, SS-Oberscharführer Johannes Klein, had to slow down significantly. At the beginning of May Alfréd Bartoš attempted to contact the paratroopers from the spring round of air-drops through advertising, using agreed-upon passwords from which the address of a contact person could be composed. The home resistance movement’s representatives realised from the preparations of the paratroopers that they were trying to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich. Fearing a major reprisal, they decided to contact London through the LIBUŠE transmitter, with a dispatch warning not to continue with assassination plans. In an operation directed against the SILVER A group, the Gestapo intercepted one of these warnings on May 12, 1942: “From the preparations that Ota and Zdeněk are working on and the place where it is happening, we guess, despite their silence, that they’re preparing to assassinate H. This assassination would not help the Allies and would bring immense consequences upon our nation... we ask you to give an order through SILVER not to carry out the assassination. There is a danger of delay, issue the order immediately. If necessary, for international reasons, assassinate a local Quisling... the first choice would be E(manuel) M(oravec).” The reply from Col. František Moravec was sent two days later using the radio transmitter of Prof. Vladimír Krajina: “Don’t worry when it comes to terrorist actions. We believe we see the situation clearly, therefore, given the situation, any actions against officials of the German Reich do not come into consideration. Let ÚVOD know...”. To date it remains an unexplained mystery why Col. Moravec did not order, through SILVER A, the cancellation of Operation ANTHROPOID right then. The Château in Panenské Břežany One person who made a major contribution to the success of Operation ANTHROPOID was an official in the Karlín Sokol organisation, Antonín Oktábec. With the aid of the Organization JINDRA he coordinated help for the paratroopers and was an advocate of the assassination. His wife Vlasta was executed in Mauthausen on October 24, 1942, and Antonín Oktábec on January 26, 1943. 58 may 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia “Prague’s Musical Weeks” were to start a new cultural tradition, with Reinhard Heydrich himself planning the first opening of the event. He personally invited Protectorate celebrities to the Opening Concert. On May 26, 1942, on the eve of the assassination, an extraordinary performance was given by the String Quartet of Arthur Bonhardt accompanied by the pianist Kurt Sanke. The highlight of this evening concert in Valdštejn Palace was the Piano Concerto in C-minor by composer Bruno Heydrich, the father of the Reich Protector. One of the last photographs of Reinhard Heydrich. The Acting Reich Protector, only a few hours before the assassination, listening attentively to his favourite violin composition of G. F. Händel. Pictured from left to right with their wives: K.H.Frank, Reinhard Heydrich, Gen. Rudolf Toussaint, RAD Commander Alexander Commichau, and Waffen-SS Commander SS-Brigadeführer Karl von Treuenfeld. On the same day, May 26, 1942, Heydrich was appointed to the Protectorate government and announced the establishment of a Curatorium for the Education of Youth. He had begun to plan setting up this organization as early as 1942. With the help of the Curatorium, all Czech youth between the ages of 10-18 were to be “reformed”. The Curatorium was subordinate to Minister of Education Moravec and inherited the gymnasiums of the Sokol organization. A badge from a hat of a leading member of the Curatorium. 59 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia spring 1942 The apartment of the Moravec family was the paratroopers’ main Prague sanctuary. It was located at 1795/7 Biskupcova Street (Biskupec Strasse) in the Žižkov District. Marie Moravcová (centre) was able to obtain aid for the paratroopers through former colleagues from the Volunteer Sisters of the Czech Red Cross. Her son Vlastimil, nicknamed A a (on the left), acted as a messenger for the paratroopers and was actively involved in setting up of the assassination. Her second son, Miroslav (on the right), fought as a pilot of the No 310 (Czechoslovak) Fighter Squadron in Britain; he died on June 7, 1944 in a plane crash. Marie Moravcová committed suicide during her arrest by the Gestapo on June 17, 1942. Vlastimil Moravec and his father Alois were executed in Mauthausen on October 24, 1942. Jan Zelenka-Hajský (right bottom) was one of the leading supporters of the paratroopers. This teacher, a former station leader of the Krušnohorská Sokol Group and a member of the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service, unreservedly supported plans to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich. Along with his son, Jan Milíč, and his wife, Františka, he helped the paratroopers in every way possible, and supplied them with accommodation in his apartment at 1837/4 Biskupec Street in the Žižkov District (across from Moravec’s apartment). Jan Zelenka and his son, Jan Milíč, committed suicide on June 17, 1942. Františka Zelenková was executed in Mauthausen on October 24, 1942. Jan Kubiš and Josef Gabčík slept at the flat of the Novák family at 5 Stránského Street (now Novákových Street) in the Libeň District. The entire family was arrested on July 9, 1942, and on October 24, 1942, Václav Novák (above) and his wife Marie, daughters Jindriška, Anna, Miroslava, and son Václav, were executed in Mauthausen. 60 spring 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia The paratroopers were frequent guests of the Fafek family at 1718/11 Kolínská Street, in the Vinohrady District. Petr Fafek with his wife, Liběna (right), and daughters Rela and Liběna were executed in Mauthausen on October 24, 1942. Another important hiding place the paratroopers used in 1942 was the Svatoš family home at 15 Melantrichova Street in the Old Town District. Josef Svatoš with his wife, Marie, were executed in Mauthausen on October 24, 1942. Thanks to the courage of the Fafek family, the Ogoun family home at 338/18 Václavkova Street remained a secret hiding place. Josef Ogoun, his wife Marie, and sons Milan and Luboš therefore survived the war. The paratroopers often slept in the flat of Emanuela and Václav Khodl in what is Kolbenova Street today, in the Vysočany District. The entire family, including son Václav (first from left), were executed in Mauthausen on October 24, 1942. 61 Czernin Palace Seat of the Reich Protector Flat of the Ogoun family Prague Castle Seat of the State President Regional SS Headquarters Flat of the Svatoš family Army Headquarters Cyril and Methodius Church Flat of the Novák family Flat of the Moravec family Flat of the Zelenka family Regional SA Headquarters Petschek Palace Headquarters of the Gestapo Flat of the Fafek family Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia may 1942 It is the morning of May 27, 1942. A black Mercedes 320 C, chauffeured by SS-Oberscharführer Johannes Klein, is approaching Kirchmayer Street from Kobylisy. The red standard of the Reich Protector on the right fender and the license plates SS-3 indicate who is sitting in the front seat next to the driver. SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich is arriving from his summer residence in Panenské Břežany. He has a long trip ahead of him. A long time has passed since he has had a personal invitation from Adolf Hitler. He will never make it to his destination, thanks to two men. It is 10:35 a.m., and the vehicle is braking in the sharp curve leading into V Holešovičkách Street. Josef Gabčík jumps in front of the vehicle, holding a STEN machine gun with which he was to spray Heydrich with deadly bullets. At the critical moment, however, the machine gun fails. At this point lessons learned in the SOE course come into play. Jan Kubiš pulls one of the special bombs out of his briefcase. It is fitted with a highly sensitive impact fuse which - after a safety device is pulled out - triggers an explosion upon the minutest of impacts. It is modified to maximize its effect around the target without harming the attacker with shrapnel. Kubiš throws the bomb with a pre-rehearsed underhand toss in the direction of the Reich Protector’s vehicle. The bomb misses the target. If it had exploded in the vehicle, Heydrich would not have been able to escape. At this moment, the following words from the STS 25 examiner are possibly passing through Kubiš’ head: “slow at handling explosives”. The bomb explodes above the running board just in front of the right rear fender. The explosion punctures the vehicle’s body, rips out the right door and does apparently nothing else. During their escape, neither paratrooper knew that a small part of the vehicle’s shell and small particles of upholstery punctured the right front seat, making May 27, 1942, one of the most significant days in our recent history. For the assassination Josef Gabčík used a machine gun, type STEN, without the collapsible shoulder prop in order to be able to hide it in a briefcase. Two objects that changed the fate of many: the magazine from Josef Gabčík’s STEN machine gun and one of the two bombs that Jan Kubiš left at the place of the assassination. 64 may 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia While a passing supply truck takes the wounded Heydrich away to the neighbouring Bulovka Hospital, Jan Kubiš is searching out a colleague of ANTHROPOID, Karlín’s Dr. Břetislav Lyčka (right). This important member of the Sokol resistance organization JINDRA had supplied the paratroopers in previous months with many important contacts. He now treats Kubiš, who suffered a head wound from a fragment of the vehicle’s shell. The Gestapo, on July 21, 1942, in Ouběnice, discovered Dr. Břetislav Lyčka. In a hopeless situation, Lyčka chose suicide. SS-Standartenführer Horst Böhme reported, at 3:26 pm on May 27, 1942, the results of Heydrich’s first operation to Berlin via teleprint: “...a lacerated wound to the left of the back vertebrae without damage to the spinal cord. The projectile, a piece of sheet metal, shattered the 11th rib, punctured the stomach lining, and finally lodged in the spleen. The wound contains a number of horsehair and hair, probably material originating from the upholstery. The dangers: festering of the pleura due to pleurisy. During the operation the spleen was removed.” On May 27, 1942, by the decision of K. H. Frank, a state of civil emergency with immediate effect was announced. Posters appeared in the streets offering a reward for information on the perpetrators. Heinrich Himmler notified Frank the same day via teleprint: 1) I agree with going public. 2) The entire Czech intelligentsia must be arrested among the first 10,000 hostages. 3) The first 100 most important adversaries among the Czech intelligentsia must be shot tonight. I will call you tonight. The day after the assassination Jan Kubiš left a note in the Khodl home. He left this unique message for Josef Gabčík: “If Dulíšek shows up, tell him I am in Flora. Greetings Dulich.” Just as miraculously as this document was preserved, all of the paratroopers were invisible to the Gestapo for many long days. Frightening the population and home searches proved fruitless. 65 june 1942 – october 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia june 1942 Despite the fact that the state of civil emergency was still in effect on May 31, 1942, the German citizens of Prague were able to attend the concert of German military bands in the Prague Castle gardens. The new Reich Protector, SS-Obergruppenführer Kurt Daluege (third from left), attended this last event of the “Prague Musical Weeks”. On the evening of June 2, 1942, the Protectorate government called a public meeting in the Old Town Square, in line with Nazi propaganda, to denounce the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich and proclaim the Czech nation’s allegiance to Hitler’s Reich. Sixty thousand Prague residents participated in the demonstration. At 7:30am on June 4, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich died. At midnight on June 6, 1942, his coffin was transported by torchlight procession to Prague Castle. Lina Heydrich with their children showed gratitude for the condolences expressed on the death of her husband. 68 june 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia On the morning of June 7, 1942, Heydrich’s coffin was exhibited in the courtyard in front of Matthias Gate, where crowds of German and Czech citizens streamed past until late afternoon. A collar rank insignia of the SS-Obergruppenführer. The Protectorate government was required to attend the funeral. A sword for SS officers. The procession route went via the Charles Bridge to the Central Railway Station, from where the coffin was transported to Berlin. The grandiose funeral came to a close in Berlin on June 9, 1942. 69 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia june 1942 The eulogy was still sounding in Berlin over Heydrich’s coffin when a decision was taken on the bloody end of a small Czech village “to atone his death”. The village, its name and the crime linked to it, would enter history. The name of the village is Lidice. The village, situated near Kladno, had a population of 483 people living in 96 homes in the early hours of June 10, 1942. Five other homes were on territory of village Makotřasy. A Baroque St. Martin Church dominated the centre of Lidice. Most of the buildings in the village were made up of small workers’ houses. Their owners worked mostly in the mines and in Kladno’s steel mills. Larger farms were few and far between. The village had a reader’s club called “Motherland”, with a public library, a sports club and a volunteer firefighters’ brigade. The one-storey school standing in the middle of the village (the picture dates from 1906). It used to be a five-classroom school until Hřebeč, a nearby community, built its own school. From then on Lidice school had only two classrooms with two teachers working there: Zdeněk Petřík, born in nearby Kladno, who married into Lidice, and the principal teacher Šimandl from nearby Buštěhrad. The difference in their permanent address cruelly divided their lives. Teacher Petřík became one of the mass murder victims at the Horák’s farm, whereas Šimandl, the principal, escaped the fate of his colleague and his pupils. Like other children in the Protectorate the children of Lidice had to undergo the pseudo-scientific racial research that applied on the whole territory. Testament to this is this card of Věnceslava Puchmeltrová, a pupil of a town school in Buštěhrad. No one suspected at the time that she and her friends had only a few months of life ahead of them. Věnceslava was – along with 81 other children of Lidice – murdered by the exhaust fumes of specially modified trucks in the German extermination camp in Chelmno (Kulmhof) on Ner. 70 june 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia A week before the Lidice tragedy (June 3, 1942), a letter appeared in the afternoon mail at the factory that manufactured batteries (Palaba) in Slaný, addressed to a worker named Anna Maruščáková. As she was on sick leave at that time, the factory owner, Jaroslav Pála, opened the letter. Its contents read: “Dear Annie, excuse me for writing you so late, but maybe you’ll understand, because you know that I have many worries. What I wanted to do, I have done. On the fatal day, I slept somewhere in Čabárna. I’m fine, I’ll see you this week, and then we will never see each other again. Milan.” The letter appeared suspicious to the factory owner, so he notified the security forces. Anna Maruščáková was arrested in Holousy the same day, as was the author of the letter, Václav Říha, a day later. He wrote the letter in an attempt to create an impression of his resistance activities in order to end his extra- marital affair with Maruščáková. The interrogation of this young couple gave the Gestapo a lead to the Lidice residence of Lt. Horák and Lt. Stříbrný, who were Czech pilots in Britain. The Gestapo presumed they had a direct connection with the assassination. During the night of June 4, 1942, they arrested the family members of Horák and Stříbrný in Lidice. Although it became evident shortly afterwards that this was a false lead, the fate of Lidice was decided. Anna Maruščáková and Václav Říha, inconvenient as witnesses, were executed in Mauthausen on October 24, 1942. The men from Lidice and members of the No 311 (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron in Britain – Lt. Josef Stříbrný (on the left) and Lt. Josef Horák. Josef Šroubek’s farm in Lidice (house no. 3), Teacher Petřík used to live in the neighbouring new building (house no. 97). The picture directly above shows the centre of Lidice, dating back to the end of 1920’s. 71 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia june 1942 During the night of June 9, 1942, the village of Lidice was surrounded and all the men between the ages of 15 and 84 were taken to the Horák farm’s cellar and barn. The women and children were taken to the schoolhouse, from which they were transported to Kladno. One by one the village’s houses were set on fire with the help of inflammable liquids. In the early morning hours, the Germans started executing the village men in the gardens of Horák’s farm. Initially the men were taken in front of the firing squad in groups of five, but then the executioners felt that their “work of art” was progressing too slowly. They doubled the firing squad, executing ten men at a time. The murdering continued, with short breaks, until the next afternoon. The remaining nine men who happened not to be in the village on the fatal night – mainly because of night shifts – and two boys who were discovered to have recently turned 15 were also executed in Prague. The women of Lidice were transported from Kladno to the Ravensbrück concentration camp on June 13, 1942. Their 104 children were sent for “proper upbringing”, already mentioned above. Only 17 returned to Lidice. Fifty-three Lidice women did not survive the horrors of the concentration camp. The wedding photograph of Stanislav Horák and Anastázie Horáková, the owners of the farm, where the mass murders occurred. They were shot along with their relatives and the Stříbrný family in Prague on June 16, 1942. The upper photograph shows the gate leading into the courtyard of the Horák farm (house no. 13), which became the focal point of the tragedy. All of the 173 Lidice martyrs had to pass through this gate before their execution. The next photograph is a typical example of a Nazi family album photograph. A trio of security police members (Schutzpolizei-Schupo) is posing in the courtyard of the Horák farm. The entrance to the cellar is clearly seen in the background (to the right of the policeman in the helmet), where the detained Lidice men were kept prior to their execution. The bodies of 173 men murdered on June 10, 1942, in the garden of the Horák farm. A Schupo unit came to Lidice from as far as Halle an der Salle, Heydrich’s birthplace, to conduct the executions. The photograph shows the straw mattresses that the murderers propped up along the farm’s wall so as not to be wounded by ricocheting bullets. Portrait of the Mayor of Lidice, František Hejma. He was among the last murdered, because he had to identify each man before he was shot. 72 june 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Josef Štemberka, a native from Pecka near Nová Paka, was Lidice’s priest from 1909. At the time of the village’s annihilation he was 73 years old. It was he who prepared the Lidice men for their execution in the cellar of the Horák’s farm. He prayed with them, gave them a blessing and offered them the last rites. He was among the last to be murdered. As the murders on the Horák farm were taking place, flames gradually consumed the entire village. The parish house (above) and St. Martin’s church were not spared. The interior is captured after the devastating fire in this rare photograph. To the right, the last letter from Father Štemberka to his sister Anežka Štemberková, written on June 8, 1942, two days before the tragedy. 73 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia june 1942 A view of the Lidice town square with St. Martin’s church, taken shortly after the village was burned down. It is almost the same place as the one printed on page 70. Identical, yet so different. How much terror separates these two photographs... The Lidice schoolhouse is shown, almost entirely destroyed by fire. Like accusing fingers, its two chimneys – previously on the roof – point towards heaven. To the right is one of the Schupo members inspecting the buildings inside the destroyed village. The burned-out butcher shop of Mrs. Marie Houbová that used to stand across from the church. Its last “customers” were the members of the Schupo who looted the store after their “work” in Lidice was completed, looking for snacks and refreshments. The store’s owner never had the chance to learn this. After WWI, as in dozens of other Czech towns and villages, a memorial was built in Lidice to commemorate the victims of the war. During its unveiling in the mid-1920’s, none of those attending could possibly suspect that the approaching war would write itself into the community’s history with considerably bloodier letters. 74 june 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Such a scene greeted a chance passerby who managed to get into Lidice through the cordon of guards in the first days after June 10, 1942. The photo captures the burned out Lidice with its dominant feature – the church of St. Martin – as seen when looking from Hřebeč in the direction of Buštěhrad. Behind the burnt-down house, in the foreground, lies the Lidice graveyard. We will speak about it in more detail later. The next photograph shows the centre of Lidice immediately after the village was burnt. Beer barrels, a basket used to carry sausages and a beach chair became silent witnesses to the Schupo members’ feast amidst the terror. Yet another view of the burnt-down Lidice schoolhouse and of St. Martin’s Church. On the far left of the photograph one can see a pram. Perhaps it is the same one which the head of the Kladno Gestapo, Harald Wiesmann, stole in Lidice, and which his own wife used later. 75 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia june 1942 During the cruel repression unleashed by the Nazis immediately after the assassination, the paratroopers – thanks to the representatives of the Orthodox Church – found safe refuge in the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius (during the Occupation it was known as St. Charles Borromeo) in Resslova Street in Prague. Under the pressure of the raids all seven paratroopers staying in Prague eventually gathered in the church building: Josef Bublík, Josef Gabčík, Jan Hrubý, Jan Kubiš, Adolf Opálka, Jaroslav Švarc and Josef Valčík. The combination of terror generated by the massacre of entire families and the annihilation of Lidice, and the promise of pardons and huge financial rewards, eventually bore results. The paratrooper Karel Čurda from the OUT DISTANCE unit, who left Prague immediately after the assassination and hid out with his mother in Nová Hlína near Třeboň, finally gave in to his own fear and the reproaches of those closest to him. He betrayed. First, on June 13, 1942, he wrote a traitorous letter in which he identified Gabčík and Kubiš as the assassins. When the expected reaction did not materialize, he personally set out for Prague on 16 June 1942, and, shortly before noon, reported to the Gestapo administrative headquarters in Petschek Palace. There he caused a sensation with his all-encompassing testimony, because up to that point, all of the Nazis’ efforts to find the assassins had proved fruitless. Čurda betrayed to the Gestapo everyone he knew personally who had assisted the paratroopers, not only in Prague but in Pardubice, Lázně Bělohrad and Pilsen. Through his betrayal he caused the deaths of dozens of patriots and their families. The very next morning, the Gestapo began extended raids on the apartments of the people who had assisted the paratroopers. The first in line was the Moravec family in Biskupcova Street in Prague. More and more patriots followed. By using the most brutal interrogation techniques, the Gestapo succeeded in the afternoon of June 17, 1942, in finding out where the paratroopers were hiding. At 3:45 am on June 18, 1942, the Commander of the SS forces in Bohemia and Moravia, SS-Brigadeführer Karl von Treuenfeld, issued an order to the Reserve Battalion Deutschland and the Guard Battalion Prag to surround the area around the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius. The inner and outer perimeters closed at 4:15 a.m. During the siege of the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius German 9 mm Bergmann MP 18/I automatic rifles, and fragment grenades, type 24, were used. The automatic rifle in the photograph was the personal weapon of K.H. Frank. The Germans first searched the churchwarden’s apartment. They quickly found the window with an unscrewed inside grating, which would have been used in the event of the paratroopers’ escape. A ladder jutting out from the drain below the window bears witness to the thoroughness of the search (left bottom). The Gestapo and SS then proceeded to the inner section of the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, where Adolf Opálka, Josef Bublík and Jan Kubiš were keeping guard in the gallery and the choir. 76 june 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia The attackers tried to reach the choir through a narrow staircase, defended by the gunfire of Adolf Opálka. Finding himself in a hopeless situation with a shattered-bone fracture in his right arm, First Lieutenant Adolf Opálka took poison and simultaneously ended his life with a pistol shot to the left temple. The shoe of Josef Bublík, destroyed by grenade fragments. The trousers of Adolf Opálka with traces of grenade fragments and a shin-holster with a 6.35 mm Browning pistol. Sergeant Cadet Josef Bublík, wounded by many fragments, ended his life with a bullet from his own pistol. A 6.35 mm Browning pistol. 77 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia june 1942 The attackers used a 7.92 mm MG 34 light machine gun to shoot through the church windows. A church window, destroyed by rifle fire directed by attackers from surrounding buildings. A pool of Jan Kubiš’ blood in the church gallery. The suit of Jan Kubiš, destroyed with grenade fragments and pieces of the wall. The staircase leading from the choir to the gallery, to where the battle gradually shifted. Warrant Officer Jan Kubiš bled to death from multiple wounds. After the inside of the church was overrun, the battle shifted to the crypt, the only entrance to which led through a small ventilation opening in the western part of the church. A tram ticket used in the beginning of June 1942, found in the jacket of Jan Kubiš. 78 june 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia The Germans called the Prague fire brigade to their assistance and they drove water and teargas into the crypt through a street window. Staff Sergeant Jaroslav Švarc took poison and simultaneously ended his life with a shot from his pistol. The tombs intended for coffins became the last refuge of the paratroopers. In the hopeless situation they all chose a heroic death. Near the altar, under a carpet, the attackers found an entrance into the crypt covered with a stone slab. After destroying it with explosives, they discovered steep stairs leading underground. The shirt and underarm holster of Jan Hrubý. Sergeant Jan Hrubý ended his life with a shot from his 9 mm Browning pistol. 79 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia june 1942 Second Lieutenant Josef Valčík ended his life with a pistol shot. A 38 caliber Colt Pocket Model 1903. The ANTHROPOID paratroop was equipped with weapons of this type. Corresponding shells were found at the scene of the assassination. Warrant Officer Josef Gabčík ended his life with a shot from his own pistol. The bloodstained shirt of Josef Gabčík. The dead paratroopers were carried out in front of the church and identified by the traitor Karel Čurda (third from right). K.H. Frank is bending over the corpses. Items used by the paratroopers in the crypt of the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius. Group photo of “the victors”. 80 june – july 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia On June 27, 1942, citizens of Olomouc were forced to listen to Emanuel Moravec’s anti-Beneš tirades. Ten days after the Lidice massacre and two days after the heroic deaths of the paratroopers in the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, the Protectorate government continued to organize activist demonstrations. On June 20, 1942, Ministers Jaroslav Krejčí, Adolf Hrubý, and Emanuel Moravec gave speeches in Tábor. The propaganda campaign, in which 1.5 million people eventually took part according to Nazi estimates, culminated on the evening of July 3, 1942, with a mass gathering on Wenceslas Square in Prague. The start of the demonstration was timed to coincide with the official end of martial law. An assembly of Czech workers in Ostrava on June 29, 1942 was the last stop on Emanuel Moravec’s propaganda tour. With the aim of fostering a Heydrich cult, 19 Czech streets, squares and parks including the present Rašín’s Riverbank in Prague were renamed. The sign “Butcher” (on the shop-window), beneath the sign “Heydrich’s Riverbank”, must have generated many jokes. 81 �� Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia june 1942 With the betrayal by Karel Čurda, the Gestapo’s search for the assassins was also directed to the Pardubice region, where the SILVER A group was active. As a result of Čurda’s betrayal not only did its commander, Captain Alfréd Bartoš, lose his life (he shot himself in Pardubice on June 21, 1942) but another beastly crime took place in the village of Ležáky in the Chrudim District where the LIBUŠE transmitter had been located since January 1942. After obtaining information about the existence of the illegal transmitter in Ležáky, the Gestapo, on June 20, 1942, began making arrests in the villages of Ležáky, Dachov, Včelákov and Miřetice. Four weeks later, on Wednesday, June 24, an assault was carried out against the entire village of Ležáky, in which members of the Gestapo, Schupo, and SS from Pardubice and Hradec Králové took part. The entire village was closed off, and its inhabitants were crowded into an abandoned quarry from where they were later transported to Pardubice. All nine dwellings in the village were raided and subsequently set on fire. At the Pardubice Château the children taken away from the Ležáky women, and they were later sent to Prague (and from there to Lodž and than to Chelmno, where all traces of them disappear – after the war only the sisters Jarmila and Marie Š ulíková were found). That very evening 33 adult inhabitants of Ležáky were shot on the execution grounds of the Pardubice Château. The remaining adults were murdered in the same place later, or they died in a concentration camp, and one SILVER A contributor committed suicide. The Ležáky tragedy hence cost the lives of a total of 57 patriots. The upper photograph captures the mill in Ležáky-Dachov in the years of the first world war. In the foreground stand its erstwhile owners Václav Š Š ulíková. Both died in a concentration camp. ulík and Růžena Lt. Jindřich Vaško, the foreman of the Hluboká quarry. He was executed in Pardubice on July 2, 1942. He told the executioners, “I don’t want to be blindfolded, let me see my murderers!” Karel Svoboda from Miřetice, a mechanic at the Hluboká quarry and a contributor of SILVER A. He, too, was executed, along with his friends at the Pardubice Château on July 2, 1942. The Schwarz system handcuffs used by the Gestapo. The Hluboká quarry, not far from Ležáky (above). The building in the photograph is the engine room of the quarry. The LIBUŠE station of paratroop SILVER A was located in a false ceiling inside the first door on the left. WO Jiří Potůček transmitted from here. Ležáky shortly after being razed on June 24, 1942, is depicted in the accompanying photograph. 82 june 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia The miller, Jindřich Švanda, from Ležáky, a significant contributor of the SILVER A group. He was shot with his wife Františka at the Pardubice Château on July 2, 1942. František Vaško, a tenant of the Hluboká quarry. Along with his brother Jindřich he collaborated with the SILVER A group. He was executed in Pardubice on July 2, 1942. House no. 23, rebuilt not long before the razing of the village, inhabited by Josef Boháč and his wife Marie along with the families of their children Břetislav and Františka. Čeněk Bureš, the Boháč’s son- in-law, was among the closest contributors of SILVER A. A sign from the Ležáky mill destroyed by fire (at the very top a view of the main entrance of the burnt-out mill building). The newly-built house of families of brothers František and Adolf Sýkora (No. 12) destroyed by fire. This was the only modern building in the entire village. The remaining eight houses in Ležáky were significantly older. A cup from the razed Ležáky signed by fire. 83 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia june 1942 Senior gendarme officer Karel Kněz, the Commander of the station in Vrbatův Kostelec, who worked fearlessly with the SILVER A group. After the start of arrests in Ležáky he realized the hopelessness of the situation and shot himself on June 22, 1942. A German 7.92 mm caliber Mauser 98 K rifle. A fate similar to Lidice and Ležáky should have been met by the village of Bernartice near Tábor, which collaborated with the INTRANSITIVE paratroop that landed in the Rožmitál district on the night of April 29 and 30, 1942, and the villages of Bohdašín and Končiny in the Náchod district, which were connected with SILVER A paratroop’s LIBUŠE transmitter. But the wave of resistance which arose abroad in reaction to the Lidice massacre apparently caused the Nazis to refrain from committing these crimes, and they therefore limited themselves to murdering only those who directly assisted the paratroopers. In Bernartice, 24 people were executed under martial law (22 in Luby near Klatovy and 2 in Tábor). Another 22 citizens of Bernartice did not return from concentration camps. The Nazis carried out a number of punitive measures against the villages of Bohdašín and Končiny, where radio telegrapher Jiří Potůček from SILVER A had hidden. They arrested 18 people during the operation. Fifteen of them were executed on July 9, 1942, at the execution grounds of the Pardubice Château. The execution grounds at the Pardubice Château. During the second period of martial law, 194 patriots were murdered here. Among them were the citizens of Ležáky, those who assisted the paratroopers from Pardubice and a group of inhabitants from the Červený Kostelec region who hid Jiří Potůček. The sword for police officers. It was used to give execution squads the order to fire. The final message from the LIBUŠE transmitter sent by Jiří Potůček to London on the night of June 25-26, 1942. It contains, among other things, the sentences: “...Instead of my radio station, they have levelled Ležáky near Vrb. Kostelec (Skuteč) to the ground. People helping us arrested. Fred’s location unknown. People suspicious. Impossible to establish contacts. I am alone...” Less than one week of life was left for Jiří Potůček at that point. On Thursday, July 2, 1942, while on the run from the Gestapo, he was murdered in his sleep by Czech gendarme Karel Pulpán near Rosice nad Labem. 84 june 1942 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia While the SS was victoriously celebrating the capture of the assassins, the levelling of Lidice continued. The destruction of the village was entrusted to the Reich Work Forces (Reichsarbeitsdienst – RAD), whose first units had arrived at the site on June 11, 1942. From that moment on, members of the RAD reported to work each day at the place of destruction with a flag and a song on their lips. Even Protectorate RAD Commander Alexander Commichau came for occasional tours of inspection. A dagger for members of the German police. The destruction of the village continued with the use of heavy explosives until July 1, 1942. In addition to RAD, SS units and Wehrmacht engineering units participated in the work. The latter are directly responsible for the greatest number of buildings destroyed – 83. Two photographs on this page depict the vicinity of the Lidice church at the time when the destruction of the village with explosives began. In both photographs, house No. 5, of Josef Krunt and his wife Anna are clearly visible (on far left, lower photograph). A Schupo brigadiers’ cap. A police officer in the left photograph is wearing one on his head. 85 © Lonely Planet Publications GETTING STARTED Beyond booking accommodation, you can do as much or as little planning as you like – Prague is one of those places best explored at random, discovering hidden corners on your own. Get- ting around is easy, food is served all day (and half the night) and there are treats aplenty for budgets big or small. Just let serendipity be your guide! WHEN TO GO February MASOPUST Street parties, fireworks, concerts and revelry mark the Czech version of carnival. Banned by the communists, this ancient tradition was first revived in Žižkov in 1993, and the rest of the city is now joining in. Celebrations start on a Friday before Shrove Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras), and end with a masked parade. March ST MATTHEW FAIR (MATĚJSKÁ POUŤ) From the Feast of St Matthew (24 February) up to and including Easter weekend, the Výstaviště exhibition grounds (p130) fill up with roller coasters, fairground rides, ghost trains, shooting galleries and stalls selling candy floss and traditional heart-shaped cookies. The fair is open 2pm to 10pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am to 10pm Saturday and Sunday. BIRTHDAY OF TOMÁŠ G MASARYK 7 March The father figure and first president of Czechoslovakia is commemorated in a ceremony at Prague Castle. EASTER MONDAY (PONDĚLÍ VELIKONOČNÍ) In this mirthful rite of spring, Czech boys chase their favourite girls and swat them on the legs with willow switches decked with ribbons (you’ll see them on sale everywhere); the girls respond with gifts of hand-painted eggs (likewise on sale), then everyone gets down to some serious partying. It’s the cul- mination of several days of spring-cleaning, cooking and visiting family and friends. ONE WORLD (JEDEN SVĚT )* This week-long film festival is dedicated to documentaries on the subject of human Prague caters for visitors all year round, so there’s really no such thing as a bad time to visit. The city is at its prettiest in spring, when the many parks begin to bloom with flowers and the budding leaves on the trees are a glowing green. The tourist crush is especially oppressive during Easter and Christmas through New Year, as well as in May (during the Prague Spring festival), June and September. Many Czechs go on holiday in July and August, when the weather can be uncomfortably hot – you’ll probably want a hotel with air-con at this time of year. If you can put up with the cold and the periodic smog alerts, hotel space is plentiful in winter (outside Christmas to New Year), and the city looks gorgeous and mysterious under a mantle of snow. FESTIVALS Spring and autumn are the main festival seasons in Prague, as the big classical music events take place during these times. Other minor festivals and events are scattered throughout the year. January THREE KINGS’ DAY (SVÁTEK TŘÍ KRÁLŮ) 6 January Three Kings’ Day, also known as Twelfth Night, marks the formal end of the Christ- mas season on 6 January. The Czechs celebrate it with carol-singing, bell-ringing and gifts to the poor. ANNIVERSARY OF JAN PALACH’S DEATH 19 January A gathering in Wenceslas Square com- memorates the Charles University student who burned himself to death in 1969 in protest against the Soviet occupation (see the boxed text, p29). 16 GETTING STARTED WHEN TO GO rights. Screenings are held at some of the smaller cinemas around town, including Kino Aero (p201). FEBIOFEST This international festival of film, TV and video features new works by international filmmakers. Shown throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia. April PRAGUE SPRING (PRAŽSKÉ JARO) Running from 12 May to 3 June, this interna- tional music festival is Prague’s most pres- tigious event, with classical music concerts held in theatres, churches and historic build- ings. For details, see the boxed text, p202. KHAMORO This festival of Roma culture, with per- formances of traditional music and dance, exhibitions of art and photography, and a parade through Staré Město, is usually held in late May. June PRAGUE WRITERS’ FESTIVAL* An international meeting of writers from around the world, with public readings, lectures, discussions and bookshop events. DANCE PRAGUE (TANEC PRAHA) International festival of modern dance held at theatres around Prague throughout June. July JANHUSDAY(DENJANAHUSA) 6July Celebrations are held to remember the burning at the stake of Bohemian religious reformer Jan Hus in 1415. They’re kicked off with low-key gatherings and bell-ringing at Bethlehem Chapel (p101) the evening before. August FESTIVAL OF ITALIAN OPERA Beginning sometime in late August and extending into September, this festival BURNING OF THE WITCHES (PÁLENÍ ČARODĚJNIC) 30 April This is the Czech version of a pre-Christian (pagan) festival for warding off evil, featur- ing the burning of brooms at Výstaviště (p130) and all-night, end-of-winter bonfire parties on Kampa island (p81) and in subur- ban backyards. BOOKWORLD PRAGUE (SVĚT KNIHY) This major international book festival is held at the Výstaviště exhibition grounds (p130). Though primarily an industry event, it’s open to the general public and has author readings, book launches, exhibits, seminars and lectures, mostly in English. May LABOUR DAY (SVÁTEK PRÁCE) 1 May Once sacred to the communists, the 1 May holiday is now just an opportunity for a picnic or a day in the country. To celebrate the arrival of spring, many couples lay flowers at the statue of the 19th-century romantic poet Karel Hynek Mácha (Map pp76–7), author of Máj (May), a poem about unrequited love. Former president Václav Havel has been known to pay homage here. ADVANCE PLANNING Apart from booking flights and hotels well in advance in high season, Prague is not a city that asks you to do a great deal of forward planning. If your main reason for visiting is to attend a major festival such as Prague Spring, check the festival website at least a month in advance, and book tickets for any performances you don’t want to miss. If all you want to do is see some opera, listen to live jazz or catch a rock gig, take a look at websites such as a week or two ahead to see what’s on. Most opera and classical concert tickets are sold on the day or so before the performance. We’ve mentioned in individual reviews where you might want to book a table at a particular restaurant. However, if you want somewhere special for, say, Valentine’s Day, it’s best to reserve a table a couple of weeks ahead. 17 GETTING STARTED WHEN TO GO HOW MUCH? 1L of petrol 33Kč Bottled water (1.5L) 15Kč Guardian newspaper 90Kč Beer (0.5L) in tourist/nontourist pub 60Kč and up/30Kč Pork & dumplings 100Kč to 150Kč ‘Prague Drinking Team’ T-shirt 200Kč to 400Kč (plus any remaining shreds of personal dignity) Ticket to Laterna Magika 680Kč Tour of Municipal House 160Kč Cinema ticket 100Kč to 170Kč Vintage car tour 980Kč features the works of Verdi and other Italian composers performed at the Prague State Opera (p201) – your chance to see quality productions outside of the main opera season. September PRAGUE AUTUMN (PRAŽSKÝ PODZIM) This international festival of classical music is the autumn version of the renowned Prague Spring (p17). Most of the perform- ances are held in Dvořák Hall at the Rudolfinum (p199). October INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL (MEZINÁRODNÍ JAZZOVÝ FESTIVAL) Established in 1964, and based at the Reduta Jazz Club (p197), this two-week festival stretches from late October into early November, with a mix of Czech musi- cians and star performers from around the world. December CHRISTMAS-NEW YEAR (VÁNOCE-NOVÝ ROK) From 24 December to 1 January many Czechs celebrate an extended family holi- day. Revelling tourists engulf Prague, and a Christmas market is held in Old Town Square beneath a huge Christmas tree. COSTS & MONEY Gone are the days when Prague was a cheap destination. A rapidly growing tourism indus- try and an increasingly strong currency mean that the Czech capital now ranks alongside most Western European cities when it comes to quality hotels and restaurants. You can expect to pay around €130 (US$200) a night for a double room in a midrange hotel, while luxury and boutique hotel rates can be in the €260 (US$400) range. Backpacker hostels typically charge around €15 (US$23) for a dorm bed. Dinner for two in a good Malá Strana restaurant can easily set you back €38 (US$60) per head with a bottle of wine, and the famously ‘cheap’ beer is now at least €2 (US$3) per half-litre in tourist bars. The good news is that you can still find relatively inexpensive food and drink if you’re prepared to venture off the beaten tourist trail – just a few blocks away from Old Town Square there are places where you can eat for under €11 (US$17) per person, and get that same beer for under €1 (US$1.50). As for accommodation, search the internet for deals – many hotel websites offer special rates or weekend packages. Or consider visit- ing out of season: hotel rates can fall by up to 40% in winter. INTERNET RESOURCES ( Community site for expats living in Prague: listings, articles, bar and restaurant reviews, forums etc. Living Prague ( Insider guide to the city by a British expat who has lived there for more than a decade. Prague City Hall ( Official website of the city council, with lots of useful background information. Prague Daily Monitor ( News site with English translations of what’s making headlines in Czech newspapers. Prague Information Service ( Official tourist information website. Prague Public Transport ( Everything you ever wanted to know about Prague’s metro, tram and bus services. PragueTV ( Useful listings site covering nightlife, cinema, restaurants etc. All Praha ( Info for tourists and expats, with local listings (restaurants, bars, etc) reviewed by users. 18 GETTING © Lonely Planet Publications BACKGROUND 500 BC–AD 400 AD 500 Early 600s Celtic tribes thrive in the territory of the modern-day Czech Republic, building settlements whose remains will later be discovered in and around Prague. Slavic tribes enter central Europe during the period of the Great Migration, forming settlements along the Vltava River. Recent excavations indicate that the largest of these may have been near Roztoky, northwest of Prague. Princess Libuše, the fabled founder of the Přemysl dynasty, looks out over the Vltava valley and predicts that a great city will emerge there someday. 19 HISTORY AN UNFAMILIAR HISTORY The great irony of a trip to Prague is that though the city is steeped in history, it’s a history that is unfamiliar to many visitors. London, Paris and Rome can feel instantly recognisable because their stories and myths have played such an important part in the way that Western culture has traditionally been taught. Prague is not like that. A tour of Prague Castle, for example, reveals a bewildering array of Sigismunds, Bořislavs, Boleslavs and, especially, Václavs. If you’re not a grad student in Slavic European history, you’re not likely to recognise many of the names or grasp much of their significance. That’s a shame. Not just because Czech history is filled with gripping characters and stories, but also because it’s an integral part of European history as a whole. Visitors may be surprised to learn, for example, that Prague, under Charles IV and subsequent rulers, was once the seat of the Holy Roman Empire. Not Nero’s empire in Rome, of course, but the empire that had evolved by the 14th and 15th centuries into a network of Christian king- doms and principalities. Prague, under Rudolf II, was also for a time the seat of the sprawling Habsburg Empire, with territories as far flung as modern-day Italy and Poland. Indeed, the city was once so tied into what we now consider to be Western Europe that all it took was for two Catholic councillors and a secretary to be flung out of a window at Prague Castle in the 17th century to ignite a war – the Thirty Years’ War – that would subsume the entire continent. All this, of course, won’t help you get through the Boleslavs and Václavs, but it should be enough to persuade you to look past those unpronounceable names and see the connections. A little knowledge can make a big difference and help make that slog through Prague Castle much more rewarding. THE RECEIVED WISDOM Before getting started, a few words are in order regarding how history has traditionally been taught and told in the Czech Republic. For decades now, under the communists and in the years since the Velvet Revolution, an orthodox version of history has held sway that tends to see the Czechs as victims in their own national drama. Czech history, in this view, is a straightforward narrative of a small but just nation struggling to emerge from under the thumb of much bigger and more powerful adversaries. These included, over the years, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Rome, the Habsburgs in Vienna, the Germans in more modern times and, most recently, the Russians. This theme still permeates popular attitudes and forms the subtext be- hind descriptive information presented at museums and exhibitions. It also forms the fodder for guidebooks and newspaper and magazine articles. That’s not to say it’s false. In fact, there’s much truth in it. The Czechs have endured long periods of war and hardship, suffering foreign invasions that were not of their choosing. It’s BACKGROUND HISTORY true that remarkable personalities, such as the religious reformer Jan Hus (see the boxed text, p23), were ultimately betrayed outside the country; indeed Czechoslovakia itself was in a sense betrayed by the West even before WWII. The Czechs also suffered greatly under both Nazism and a repressive, Soviet-style communism. But this view of history tells only part of the story. The Czechs have always been closer to the centre of their own history – both in good ways and bad – than some of their history books would like to believe. Just as the communists could not have ruled so long without the active engagement of some Czechs (and the quiet acquiescence of many), so too did the Germans, Austrians, Catholics and others over the years join willing locals to do their bidding. This is part of ‘Czech history’, too. It would also be misleading to characterise foreign influences as invariably negative. Prague, to its great benefit, has always been a cosmopolitan place – we need only look at a handful of architectural masterpieces to make the point. The Charles Bridge (p75) and parts of St Vitus Cathedral (p64) were designed by a German, Peter Parler. Many of the statues that line the bridge were sculpted by Austrians. The baroque masterpiece of St Nicholas Church (p79) in Malá Strana was the work of a father and son team from Bavaria; much of the rest of Malá Strana’s baroque splendour was built by Italians. When President Tomáš Masaryk commissioned the renovation of Prague Castle (p61) in the 1920s, he selected a Slovenian, Jože Plečnik, as chief architect. The list could go on and on. There are encouraging signs that this orthodox view is starting to give way to a more nuanced perspective. One example could be seen in a new history magazine that appeared on newsstands in 2008 with the intentionally provocative cover asking whether Jan Žižka – the revered Czech Hussite commander from the 15th century – was ‘a hero or a traitor’. Though the title may have been aimed more at selling magazines than challenging historical dogma, it’s hard to imagine such an article appearing even as recently as five or 10 years ago. THE EARLY YEARS There’s been human habitation in and around Prague for some 600,000 years and permanent communities since around 4000 BC, but it’s the Celts, who came to the area around 500 BC, that have aroused the most interest. The name ‘Bohemia’ for the western province of the Czech Republic derives from one of the most successful of the Celtic tribes, the Boii. Traces of Boii culture have been found as far away as southern Germany, leading some archaeologists to posit a relation between local Celts and those in France and possibly even further afield to the British Isles. It’s also spurred playful speculation – more wishful thinking than historical fact – that the Czechs are actually the modern-day offspring of these historic warriors. Celtic settlements have been unearthed in several parts of Prague. During the construction of metro line B in the 1980s, a large Celtic burial ground was discovered at Nové Butovice, and evidence of early iron furnaces has been found not far away in Jinonice. Some even think there was an early Celtic settlement where Prague Castle now stands, but there’s no physical evidence to support the claim. THE ARRIVAL OF THE SLAVS It’s unclear what prompted the great migration of peoples in the 6th and 7th centuries, but during this time large populations of Slavs began arriving in central Europe, driving out the 870s 26 August 1278 4 August 1306 Prince Bořivoj begins construction of Prague Castle on Hradčany to serve as the seat of his Přemysl dynasty – as it will for kings, emperors and presidents for centuries to come. King Otakar II is thrashed by the Habsburgs at the Battle of Marchfeld (Moravské Pole in Czech) at the height of the Přemysl dynasty’s influence. The last Přemysl king, Wenceslas III, is murdered, leaving no male heir. The dynasty passes to John of Luxembourg, who will give Bohemia its greatest ruler, his son Charles IV. 20 BACKGROUND HISTORY 26 August 1346 6 July 1415 30 July 1419 Charles IV becomes Bohemian king on the death of his father; later, he adds the honorific Holy Roman Emperor to his list of titles. Prague booms as the seat of the empire. Religious reformer Jan Hus is burned at the stake at Konstanz, Germany, for refusing to recant his criticisms of the Catholic Church. His death enrages supporters and enflames decades of religious strife. Angry Hussite supporters rush into the New Town Hall and toss several Catholic council- lors out the window, introducing the word ‘defenestration’ to the world. 21 Celts and pushing German tribes further to the west. The newcomers established several set- tlements along the Vltava, including one near the present site of Prague Castle and another upriver at Vyšehrad (p115). Archaeologists working near the town of Roztoky, northwest of Prague, recently unearthed what may be the largest and oldest of these settlements, dating from the first decades of the 6th century. THE MYTH OF LIBUŠE Fittingly for a city that embraces so much mystery, the origins of Prague are shrouded in a fairy tale. Princess Libuše, the daughter of early ruler Krok, is said to have stood on a hill one day at the start of the 7th century and foretold of a glorious city that would one day become Prague. According to legend, Libuše needed a strong suitor who would yield sturdy heirs to the throne. Passing over a field of eligible bachelors, including some sickly looking royals, she selected a simple ploughman, Přemysl. She chose well. The Přemysl dynasty would go on to rule for several hundred years. In the 9th century, the Přemysl prince, Bořivoj, selected an outcropping on Hradčany to build Prague Castle, the dynasty’s seat and the locus of power in this part of the world ever since. Christianity became the state religion under the rule of the pious Wenceslas (Václav in Czech), Duke of Bohemia (r c 925–929), now the chief patron saint of the Czech people. Wenceslas was the ‘Good King Wenceslas’ of the well-known Christmas carol, written in 1853 by English clergyman John Mason Neale. Neale, a scholar of European church history, had read about St Wenceslas’s legendary piety, and based his carol on the story of the duke’s page finding strength by following in the footsteps of his master. Wenceslas’s conversion to Christianity is said to have angered his mother and his brother, Boleslav, who ended up killing the young king in a fit of jealousy. In spite of the occasional fratricide, the Přemysls proved to be effective rulers, forging a genuine Slav alliance and governing Bohemia until the 14th century. Until the early 13th cen- tury, the Přemysl rulers were considered princes, but in 1212, the pope granted Otakar I the right to rule as a king. At one point, Přemysl lands stretched from modern-day Silesia (near the Czech–Polish border) to the Mediterranean Sea. THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE It’s hard to imagine Prague will ever exceed the position it had in the 14th century, when for a time it became the seat of the Holy Roman Empire under King and later Emperor Charles IV (Karel IV). The path to glory began predictably enough with the 1306 murder of Přemysl ruler Wenceslas III, leaving no male successor to the throne. Eventually, John of Luxembourg (Jan Lucemburský to the Czechs) assumed the Czech throne through his marriage to Wenceslas III’s daughter Elyška, in 1310. Under the enlightened rule of John’s son, Charles IV, Prague grew into one of the continent’s largest and most prosperous cities. It was at this time that the city assumed its handsome Gothic look. Charles commissioned both the bridge that now bears his name and St Vitus Cathedral, among other projects. He also established Charles University as the first university in central Europe. BACKGROUND HISTORY CZECH VERSION OF ‘THE TROUBLES’ In contrast to the 14th century, the 15th century brought mostly hardship and war; much of the good of preceding years was undone in an orgy of religion-inspired violence and intolerance. This period saw the rise of the Church reformation movement led by Jan Hus (see the boxed text, opposite). Hus’ intentions were admirable, but his movement ended up polarising the country. In 1419, supporters of Hussite preacher Jan Želivský stormed Prague’s New Town Hall on Wenceslas Square and tossed several Catholic councillors out of the windows. This act not only hardened attitudes on both sides but also introduced the word ‘defenestration’ (tossing someone from a window in order to do bodily harm) into the political lexicon. The Hussites assumed control of Prague after the death of Holy Roman Emperor Wenceslas IV in 1419. This sparked the first anti-Hussite crusade, launched in 1420 by Holy Roman Em- peror Sigismund. Hussite commander Jan Žižka successfully defended the city in the Battle of Vítkov Hill, but religious strife spilled into the countryside. The Hussites themselves were torn into warring factions: those wanting to make peace with the emperor and others wanting to fight to the end. The more radical Hussite faction, the Taborites, were ultimately defeated in battle at Lipany in 1434. Following Sigismund’s death, George of Poděbrady (Jiří z Poděbrad) ruled as Bohemia’s one and only Hussite king, from 1452 to 1471, with the backing of the moderate Hussites known as the Utraquists. The damage, however, had been done, and once-prosperous Bohemia lay in ruin. The rest of the century was spent in an uneasy balance between the Protestant Czech citizenry and the Catholic nobility. ENTER THE AUSTRIANS Though it took time for the country to recover from the Hussite wars, the latter part of the 16th century is generally viewed as a second ‘golden age’ under Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II (the first being the reign of Charles IV in the 14th century). Austria’s Habsburg dynasty gener- ally gets a bad rap in Czech history books, largely because of the repressive means, including public executions, that the Habsburgs used to enforce their rule after the Czech defeat at Bílá Hora in 1620. But it’s generally forgotten that it was the Czech nobility, in 1526, who invited the Habsburgs – in the person of Ferdinand I – to rule in the first place. Ferdinand endeared himself to the mostly Catholic nobility, but alienated large sections of Czech society. His grandson Rudolf preferred Prague to Vienna and moved the seat of the Habsburg Empire here for the duration of his reign. Today Rudolf is generally viewed as something of a kook. It’s true he used his patronage to support serious artists and scientists, including noted astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, but he also had a soft spot for more esoteric pursuits such as soothsaying and alchemy. The English mathematician and occultist John Dee and his less well-regarded countryman Edward Kelly were just two of the noted mystics Rudolf retained at the castle in an eternal quest to turn base metals into gold. Rudolf was also a friend to Prague’s large Jewish population, who enjoyed a great period of prosperity during his reign, despite being crowded into a tiny ghetto just north of the Old Town (see the boxed text, p25). The end of Rudolf’s reign in the early 17th century was marked by renewed strife between Prot- estants and Catholics, culminating in 1618 in what became known as the ‘second defenestration of Prague’. A group of Protestant noblemen stormed into a chamber at Prague Castle and hurled Early 15th century 1583 23 May 1618 The Hussite wars – pitting radical reform- ers against Catholics and, ultimately, different Hussite factions against each other – rage throughout Bohemia, laying waste to the country. Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II moves the dynasty’s seat from Vienna to Prague, ushering in a second golden age. It lasts only until Rudolf dies three decades later, when tensions between Protestants and Catholics start boiling over. A Protestant mob pushes two Catholic councillors and their secretary from a window at Prague Castle. This ‘second defenestration’ pushes the Habsburgs into starting the Thirty Years’ War. 22 BACKGROUND HISTORY JAN HUS Jan Hus was the Czech lands’ foremost – and one of Europe’s earliest – Christian reformers, anticipating Martin Luther and the Lutheran reformation by more than a century. Hus was born into a poor family in southern Bohemia in 1372. He studied at the Karolinum (Charles University) and eventually became dean of the philosophical faculty. Like many of his colleagues, Hus was inspired by the English phi- losopher and radical reformist theologian John Wycliffe. The latter’s ideas on reforming the Roman Catholic priesthood meshed nicely with growing Czech resentment at the wealth and corruption of the clergy. In 1391 Prague reformers founded the Bethlehem Chapel (p101), where sermons were given in Czech rather than Latin. Hus preached there for about 10 years while continuing his duties at the university. Hus’ criticisms of the Catholic Church, particularly the practice of selling indulgences, endeared him to his followers but put him squarely in the pope’s black book. The pope had Hus excommunicated in 1410, but he continued to preach. In 1415, he was invited to the Council of Constance to recant his views. He refused and was burned at the stake on 6 July 1415. An enormous statue of Hus stands in Old Town Square (p87). 8 November 1620 21 June 1621 29 October 1787 Czech soldiers, united under Protestant leader Frederick V, Elector Palatine, lose a crucial battle at Bílá Hora, west of Prague, to Austrian Habsburg troops. The loss brings in 300 years of Austrian rule. Twenty-seven Czech noblemen are executed in Old Town Square for their part in instigating the anti-Habsburg revolt. Their severed heads are hung from the Old Town Tower on Charles Bridge. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, already far more popular in Prague than in Vienna, serves as conductor at the premiere of his opera Don Giovanni, staged at the Estates Theatre near Old Town Square. 23 two Catholic councillors and their secretary out the window. The men survived – legend has it they fell onto a dung heap that softened the blow. But the damage was done. The act sparked a decades-long war – the Thirty Years’ War – that eventually consumed the whole of Europe and left Bohemia once again in tatters. For the Czechs it was to get even worse. Following the second defenestration, the Czech nobility elected a German Protestant – Frederick V, Elector Palatine – to be their leader in a looming battle with the Habsburgs. Frederick’s rule was dogged by poor morale, and most of the European powers sided with the Habsburgs. In the end, the Czechs were routed at the Battle of Bílá Hora (White Mountain; p142), on the western edge of Prague, on 8 November 1620. The fighting lasted less than two hours. The ‘Winter King’ (so called because he ruled Bohemia for just one winter) fled, and in 1621, the 27 nobles who had instigated the revolt were executed in Old Town Square. The defeat slammed the door on Czech independence for three centuries. Czechs lost their privileges, rights and property, and almost even their national identity through enforced Catholi- cisation and Germanisation as part of the wider Counter-Reformation movement. During the Thirty Years’ War, Saxons occupied Prague from 1631 to 1632, and the Swedes seized Hradčany and Malá Strana in 1648. Staré Město, though unconquered, suffered months of bombardment (the Old Town Tower on Charles Bridge still shows the scars of battle). Prague’s population declined from 60,000 in 1620 to 24,600 in 1648. The Habsburgs moved their throne back to Vienna, reducing Prague to a provincial backwater. REVIVAL OF THE CZECH NATION Remarkably, Czech language and culture managed to hold on through the years of the Austrian occupation. As the Habsburgs eased their grip in the 19th century, Prague became the centre of the Czech National Revival. The revival found its initial expression not in politics – outright political activity was forbidden – but in Czech-language literature and drama. Important figures included linguists Josef Jungmann and Josef Dobrovský, and František Palacký, author of Dějiny národu českého (The History of the Czech Nation). BACKGROUND HISTORY While many of the countries in post-Napoleonic Europe were swept up in similar nationalist sentiments, social and economic factors gave the Czech revival particular strength. Educational reforms by Empress Maria Theresa (r 1740–80) had given even the poorest Czechs access to schooling, and a vocal middle class was emerging through the Industrial Revolution. Prague joined in the 1848 democratic revolutions that swept Europe, and the city was first in line in the Austrian empire to rise in favour of reform. Yet like most of the others, Prague’s revolution was soon crushed. In 1863, however, Czech speakers defeated the German speakers in Prague council elections and edged them out of power, though the shrinking German-language minority still wielded considerable power until the end of the century. INDEPENDENCE AT LAST For Czechs, WWI had a silver lining. The 1918 defeat of the Axis powers left the Austro- Hungarian Empire too weak to fight for its former holdings. Czech patriots Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Edvard Beneš had spent much of the war in the United States, where they lob- bied ceaselessly with Czech and Slovak émigré communities for a joint Czech and Slovak state. The plea appealed especially to the idealistic American president, Woodrow Wilson, and his belief in the self-determination of peoples. The most workable solution appeared to be a single federal state of two equal republics, and this was spelled out in agreements signed in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1915 and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1918 (both cities having large populations of Czechs and Slovaks). As WWI drew to a close, Czechoslovakia declared its independence, with Allied support, on 28 October 1918. Prague became the capital, and the popular Masaryk, a writer and political philosopher, the republic’s first president. THE FIRST REPUBLIC & WORLD WAR II Czechoslovakia in the two decades between independence and the 1939 Nazi invasion was a remarkably successful state. Even now Czechs consider the ‘First Republic’ another golden age of immense cultural and economic achievement. Czechoslovakia’s proximity to Nazi Germany and its sizable German minority in the Sude- tenland border area, however, made it a tempting target for Adolf Hitler. Hitler correctly judged that neither Britain nor France had an appetite for war. At a conference in Munich in 1938, Hitler demanded that Germany be allowed to annex the Sudetenland. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain acquiesced, famously calling Germany’s designs on Czechoslovakia a ‘quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing’. On 15 March 1939 Germany occupied all of Bohemia and Moravia, declaring the region a ‘pro- tectorate’, while Slovakia declared independence as a Nazi puppet state. During the war, Prague was spared significant physical damage, though the Nazis destroyed the Czech resistance – and killed thousands of innocent Czechs in retaliation for the assassination in Prague of SS general and Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich by Czech patriots in 1942 (see the boxed text, p115). Prague’s pre-WWII Jewish community of around 40,000 was all but wiped out by the Nazis. Almost three-quarters of them, and 90% of all the Jews in Bohemia and Moravia, died of disease or starvation or were exterminated in camps from 1941 to 1944. On 5 May 1945, with the war drawing to a close, the citizens of Prague staged an uprising against the Germans. The Red Army was advancing from the east and US troops had made it 3 July 1883 28 October 1918 1920s German-Jewish writer Franz Kafka is born just off Old Town Square. He’ll go on to lead a double life: mild-mannered insurance clerk by day, harried father of the modern novel by night. A newly independent Czechoslovakia is proclaimed at the Municipal House (Obecní dům) in the final days of WWI. Crowds throng Wenceslas Square in jubilation. The heyday of the First Republic, now seen as another golden age. Prague intellectuals are heavily influenced by modern move- ments in art, architecture, literature and photography. 24 BACKGROUND HISTORY THE JEWS OF PRAGUE Prague’s Jews first moved into a walled ghetto in about the 13th century, in response to directives from Rome that Jews and Christians should live separately. Subsequent centuries of repression and pogroms culminated in a threat from Ferdinand I (r 1526–64) to throw all the Jews out of Bohemia. Official attitudes changed under Rudolf II at the end of the 16th century. Rudolf bestowed honour on the Jews and encouraged a flowering of Jewish intellectual life. Mordechai Maisel, the mayor of the ghetto at the time, became Ru- dolf’s finance minister and the city’s wealthiest citizen. Another major figure was Judah Loew ben Bezalel (Rabbi Loew), a prominent theologian, chief rabbi, student of the mystical teachings of the kabbalah and nowadays best known as the creator of the mystical creature, the Golem – a kind of proto-robot made from the mud of the Vltava River. When they helped to repel the Swedes on Charles Bridge in 1648, the Jews won the favour of Ferdinand III to the extent that he had the ghetto enlarged. But a century later they were driven out of the city, only to be welcomed back when city residents missed their business. In the 1780s Habsburg emperor Joseph II (r 1780–90) outlawed many forms of discrimination, and in the 19th century the Jews won the right to live where they wanted. Many chose to leave the ghetto for nicer parts of the city. At the end of the 19th century the city decided to clear the ghetto, which had become a slum. In place of the ancient buildings they built the beautiful Art Nouveau apartment houses found there today. The ghetto, renamed Josefov in Joseph’s honour, remained the spiritual heart of Prague’s Jewish community, but that came to a brutal end with the Nazi occupation during WWII. Today the entire city is home to roughly 5000 Jews, a fraction of the community’s former size. 30 September 1938 15 March 1939 27 May 1942 European powers, meeting in Munich, agree to Hitler’s demand to annex Czecho- slovakia’s Sudetenland region. British PM Neville Chamberlain declares they have achieved ‘peace in our time’. German soldiers cross the Czechoslovak frontier and occupy Bohemia and Moravia. Czechoslovak soldiers, ordered in advance not to resist, allow the Germans to enter without firing a shot. Czechoslovak patriots succeed in assas- sinating German Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich. The men are later found hiding in a church in Nové Město. Trapped by Nazi soldiers, some take their own lives; the others are killed. 25 as far as Plzeň (90km west of Prague), but were holding back from liberating the city in defer- ence to their Soviet allies. The only help for Prague’s lightly armed citizens came from Russian soldiers of the so-called Vlasov units, former POWs who had defected to the German side and now defected in turn to the Czech cause. Many people died in the uprising before the Germans pulled out on 8 May, having been granted free passage out in return for an agreement not to destroy more bridges and buildings. Most of Prague was thus liberated by its own citizens before the Red Army arrived on 9 May. Liberation Day is now celebrated on 8 May; under communism it was 9 May. In 1945 Czechoslovakia was reconstituted as an independent state. One of its first acts was the expulsion of the remaining Sudeten Germans from the borderlands. By 1947, some 2.5 million ethnic Germans had been stripped of their Czechoslovak citizenship and forcibly expelled to Germany and Austria. Thousands died during the forced marches. Despite a 1997 mutual apology for wartime misdeeds by the Czech Republic and Germany, the issue still brings emotions to the boil. Many Sudeten survivors feel their citizenship and property were taken illegally. Many Czechs, on the other hand, remain convinced that the Sudeten Germans forfeited their rights when they sought help from Nazi Germany, and that a formal apology by President Václav Havel in 1990 was unwarranted. FROM THE NAZIS TO THE COMMUNISTS For many Czechs, WWII had tarnished the image of the Western democracies for sanctioning Hitler’s rise to power and the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Communist appeals for world peace and economic justice found a receptive ear in a war-torn country. In the first elections BACKGROUND HISTORY WHEN ‘BIG BROTHER’ WAS REAL LIFE Twenty years on from the Velvet Revolution, it seems as if communism never happened. Prague has taken its place among Europe’s colourful capitals, and on a sunny day it can feel like all is right with the world. But memories of a darker period still run deep. Anna Siskova, a Czechoslovak by birth, was a high school student in Bratislava in 1989 when communism fell. She now lives in Prague, where she works in communications for an international company. She told us a little bit about life with ‘Big Brother’. What’s your strongest memory when you think back to communist times? Everything suddenly turns grey: grey streets, grey houses, shops that had identical goods all over Czechoslovakia no matter what city you lived in. I think about our family trips to the Black Sea. We went to Bulgaria, the only country easily accessible to citizens of the communist camp. To get to Yugoslavia, you needed a special grey passport. The Bulgarian coast was full of Hungarians, East Germans, Slovaks, Czechs and Poles. You could tell where someone was from by his or her swimsuit! Do you remember where you were when you first heard about the Velvet Revolu- tion? I remember exactly. It was 16 November, the day before. We were sent home from school early (normal procedure if there was a demonstration planned). We were told to go straight home and not to go to the centre. There was a student protest at the Ministry of Education and, surprisingly, state TV reported the students’ complaints. On 17 November, when news came in from Prague, it was very surprising. I was excited. Older people kept saying we shouldn’t be too enthusiastic – remember what happened with the Prague Spring? But I didn’t care. I stood on the square every day. It was amazing. Give us a feeling for how it was back then to live. How was it buying food or clothes? One of the best jobs was to work in a vegetable or a meat shop. If you knew someone from a zelovoc (fruit and veg shop), you could at least get bananas and tangerines. And clothes – everyone was wearing the same. There was no choice, and if the shops got something special – I remember once [there were] clothes from Greece – there was an enormous line in front. There was always some kind of shortage, though. When the paper factory burned down, there was no toilet paper in the whole country. Is there anything from that period you really miss? What is worse now than it was then? People used to read more. They loved going to the theatre as they could always find some political hints in the plays. It was a strange atmosphere. I don’t miss it, but it brings back nostalgic memories. As kids we were motivated to learn German and English, just so we could understand Austrian TV and radio, and English songs. after the war, in 1946, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) became the republic’s dominant party, winning 36% of the popular vote. As relations between wartime allies the US and the Soviet Union deteriorated, Soviet leader Josef Stalin tightened his grip on Eastern and Central Europe. In February 1948, with Stalin’s blessing, Czechoslovak communists staged a bloodless coup, proclaiming a workers’ state, with the government and economy to be organised along Soviet lines. KSČ leader Klement Gottwald announced the coup to euphoric crowds from the balcony of the Goltz-Kinský Palace (p92) on Old Town Square. By the 1950s the initial enthusiasm had faded as communist economic policies nearly bankrupted the country and a wave of repression sent thousands to labour camps. In a series 5 May 1945 9 May 1945 25 February 1948 Prague residents begin an armed uprising against the Germans and liberate the city after three days of fighting. The Germans are given free passage out in exchange for agreeing not to destroy the city. The Soviet Army formally liberates the city, though most of the German soldiers are already defeated or gone. Under the communists, this will be recognised as the official day of liberation. Communists stage a bloodless coup. Party leader Klement Gottwald proclaims the news on Old Town Square. Crowds cheer, but the coup ultimately leads to four decades of oppressive communist rule. 26 BACKGROUND HISTORY READING UP ON CZECH HISTORY Prague and the Czech Republic are not lacking in well-written historical accounts in English. The selection is particularly strong on books about the Nazi occupation and somewhat weaker about life under communism. Timothy Garton Ash’s The Magic Lantern remains the gold standard for accounts in English of the Velvet Revolution. �� MagicPrague(AngeloMariaRipellino,1973)–ItalianprofessorRipellinobreathesnewlifeintohistoricalfigures through the ages in this inventive and highly entertaining blend of fact and fiction. With characters like Rudolf II, the Golem and Franz Kafka to work with, it’s hard to see how he could miss. Out of print but possible to find used. �� Prague:ACulturalHistory(RichardBurton,2003)–AbeautifullywrittenculturalhistorybyanEnglishprofessorobvi- ously in love with Prague and its myths. The first chapter, ‘How to Read Prague’, is especially helpful for visitors. The chapters are arranged around stories and characters – both real and fictional – that have shaped the city. �� PragueinBlackandGold(PeterDemetz,1998)–ThefirstoftwobooksbyémigréCzechandliteraryhistorian Peter Demetz. This volume is a sweeping history of Demetz’s hometown, with a keen eye for the absurd. It’s a challenging read if you don’t have a background in Czech or Central European history, but those who do will find it enriching. �� PragueinDanger(PeterDemetz,2008)–Demetz’ssecond(andmoreaccessible)workispartlyaclassichistoryand partly a lively and moving chronicle of his own family – Demetz’s mother was Jewish and died at Terezín. These personal remembrances are especially strong and give a first-hand feel for what life in Prague was like during the Nazi occupation. It’s also a good general primer for historical markers like Reinhard Heydrich’s assassination in 1942. �� PragueintheShadowoftheSwastika(CallumMacDonaldandJanKaplan,1995)–Partserioushistoryandpart powerful picture-book focusing on Prague during the Nazi occupation. Hard to find, but usually stocked by English booksellers in Prague, such as Big Ben Bookshop (p146). �� SoManyHeroes(AlanLevy,1980)–Grippingaccountofthe1968WarsawPactinvasionandtheimmediate aftermath through the eyes of an American journalist who witnessed it. Levy was eventually banned by the com- munists from living here and was allowed to return only in 1990. He served as editor-in-chief of the Prague Post until his death in 2004. Originally published under the title Rowboat to Prague. �� TheCoastofBohemia(DerekSayer,2000)–BroadhistoricaltreatmentfollowstheriseofCzechnationalcon- sciousness in the 19th century, through independence, the First Republic, WWII and the communist period. The title alludes to an oft-quoted line from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale: ‘Thou art perfect then, our ship hath touch’d upon the deserts of Bohemia?’ – either proof of the Bard’s appalling geography or a poetic reference to Bohemia’s mythical seacoast. �� TheKillingofReinhardHeydrich(CallumMacDonald,2007)–AbsorbingaccountofthekillingofNaziReichspro- tektor Reinhard Heydrich in 1942 by Czech patriots who had parachuted in from Britain. The act remains highly controversial. The assassination helped burst the myth of Nazi invincibility, but resulted in reprisal attacks that cost thousands of lives. �� TheMagicLantern:TheRevolutionof1989WitnessedinWarsaw,Budapest,Berlin,andPrague(TimothyGartonAsh, 1993) – Some historians just seem to live right. Oxford professor Garton Ash had the professional and linguistic skills to interpret history as it was unfolding during the tumultuous months of 1989 – and the presence of mind to write it all down. Looks at the major anticommunist revolutions in Central Europe but is strong on the Velvet Revolution. �� UnderaCruelStar:ALifeinPrague1941–1968(HedaMargoliusKovály,1997)–Oneofthefewbookstoforgea link between the Nazi and communist periods. The author, Jewish and born in Prague, had the double misfortune of being sent to Terezín and Auschwitz during WWII, only to survive the war and marry an up-and-coming com- munist who was executed in the 1950s show trials. This remarkable book is unfortunately out of print and hard to find, but worth the effort. 20 November 1952 20–21 August 1968 16 January 1969 In a Soviet-style purge, communists accuse several of their own party functionaries, including General Secretary Rudolf Slánský, of treason. The prisoners are executed at Prague’s Pankrác prison. Warsaw Pact forces, led by the Soviet Union, invade Czechoslovakia to put an end to reforms known as the Prague Spring. Reforming communist leader Alexander Dubček is replaced by hard-liner Gustáv Husák. Student Jan Palach immolates himself at the top of Wenceslas Square to protest the Warsaw Pact invasion. Thousands come to the square in the following days to mark his memory and attend his funeral. 27 BACKGROUND HISTORY of Stalin-style purges staged by the KSČ in the early ’50s, many people, including top members of the party, were executed. In the 1960s, Czechoslovakia enjoyed a gradual liberalisation under reformist party leader Alexander Dubček. The reforms reflected a popular desire for full democracy and an end to censorship – ‘Socialism with a Human Face’, as the party called it. But Soviet leaders grew alarmed at the prospect of a democratic society within the Eastern Bloc and the potential domino effect on Poland and Hungary. The brief ‘Prague Spring’ was crushed by a Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion on the night of 20–21 August 1968. Prague was the major objective; Soviet forces, with the help of the Czechoslovak secret police, secured the airport for Soviet transport planes. At the end of the first day, 58 people died. Much of the fighting took place near the top of Wenceslas Square, where the façade of the National Museum still bears bullet scars. In 1969 Dubček was replaced by the hard-line Gustáv Husák and exiled to the Slovak forestry department. About 14,000 party functionaries and another 280,000 members who refused to renounce their belief in ‘Socialism with a Human Face’ were expelled from the party and lost their jobs. Many other educated professionals became manual labourers and street cleaners. In January 1977 a group of 243 writers, artists and other intellectuals signed a public demand for basic human rights, Charter 77, which became a focus for opponents of the regime. Promi- nent among them was the poet and playwright Václav Havel (see the boxed text, below). VELVET REVOLUTION & DIVORCE The year 1989 was a momentous one throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Czechoslovak communist officials watched nervously as one by one the neighbouring regimes toppled, cul- PLAYWRIGHT-PRESIDENT VÁCLAV HAVEL The Velvet Revolution produced at least one great name known around the world. Václav Havel – playwright, dissident and the country’s first postcommunist president – was born on 5 October 1936, the son of a wealthy Prague business- man. His family’s property was confiscated in the communist coup of 1948, and because of his bourgeois background, he was denied easy access to education. He nevertheless finished high school and studied for a time at university before landing a job as a stagehand at the Theatre on the Balustrade (p203). Nine years later he was its resident playwright. His enthusiasm for the liberal reforms of the ‘Prague Spring’ and his signature on the Charter 77 declaration made him an enemy of the communist government. His works, which typically focused on the absurdities and dehumanisa- tion of totalitarian bureaucracy, were banned and his passport seized. Altogether he spent some four years in jail for his activities on behalf of human rights. The massive demonstrations of November 1989 thrust Havel into the limelight as a leading organiser of the non- communist Civic Forum movement, which ultimately negotiated a peaceful transfer of power. Havel was swept into office as president shortly after, propelled by a wave of thousands of cheering demonstrators holding signs saying Havel na hrad! (Havel to the castle!) In 2003, after two terms as president, Havel was replaced by former prime minister Václav Klaus. Since leaving of- fice, Havel has finished at least two memoirs and recently returned to the stage as the author of a new and acclaimed play, Odcházení (Leaving). 1977 17 November 1989 12 March 1999 Life in Prague after ‘normalisation’ reaches a political and cultural nadir. Václav Havel and other dissidents sign Charter 77, a petition calling on Czechoslovakia to meet its international obligations on human rights. Police use violence to halt a student demonstration along Národní třída. The action shocks the nation, sparking days of demonstrations that culminate in the communists relinquishing power – soon to be called the Velvet Revolution. The Czech Republic formally enters the NATO military alliance along with Poland and Hungary. The move angers Russia in spite of assurances from NATO that the alliance is purely defensive. 28 BACKGROUND HISTORY STUDENT SACRIFICES Throughout Czech history, from the time of Jan Hus to the Velvet Revolution, Prague’s university students have not been afraid to stand up for what they believe. Many of them have even sacrificed their lives. Two student names that have gone down in 20th-century Czech history are Jan Opletal and Jan Palach. On 28 October 1939, shortly after the start of WWII and on the 21st anniversary of Czechoslovak independence, Jan Opletal, a medical student, was shot and fatally wounded by police who were trying to break up an anti-Nazi rally. After his funeral, on 15 November, students took to the streets, defacing German street signs, chanting anti-German slogans, and taunting the police. The Nazi response was swift and brutal. In the early hours of 17 November, now known as the ‘Day of Students’ Fight for Freedom and Democracy’, the Nazis raided Prague’s university dormitories and arrested around 1200 students before carting them off to various concentra- tion camps. Some were executed and others died. Prague’s universities were closed for the duration of WWII. Thirty years after Opletal’s death, on 16 January 1969, university student Jan Palach set himself on fire on the steps of the National Museum (Národní muzeum; p110) in protest against the Warsaw Pact invasion of Prague. He staggered down the steps in flames and collapsed on the pavement at the foot of the stairs. The following day around 200,000 people gathered in the square in his honour. It was three days before he died, and his body was buried in the Olšany Cemetery (p128) in Žižkov. His grave became a focus for demonstrations and in 1974 his remains were exhumed and moved to his home village. By popular demand he was re-interred in Olšany Cemetery in 1990. A cross-shaped monument set into the pavement in front of the National Museum marks the spot where he fell. The street in Staré Město called 17.listopadu (17 November; Map pp88–9) was named in honour of the students who suffered on 17 November 1939. Exactly 50 years later, on 17 November 1989, students marching along Národní třída in memory of that day were attacked and clubbed by police (there’s a bronze memorial at the spot; see p111). The national outrage triggered by this event pushed the communist government toward its final collapse a few days later. 14 August 2002 1 May 2004 15 February 2008 Several city districts and the metro tunnels are inundated as the flooded Vltava River reaches its highest level in modern times. The damages cost several billion euros and spark redevelopment in hard-hit areas. The Czech Republic achieves its biggest foreign policy objective since the Velvet Revolution and joins the EU, along with several other former communist countries from Central and Eastern Europe. By a narrow margin, the Czech parliament re-elects conservative economist Vaclav Klaus to his second five-year term as President of the Czech Republic. 29 minating in the breeching of the Berlin Wall in early November. There was a growing sense of excitement within the population that the leadership would not be able to cling to power, but there was also palpable fear over how the transfer of power would take place. On 17 November Prague’s communist youth movement organised an officially sanctioned demonstration in memory of the students who were executed by the Nazis in 1939 (see the boxed text, above). But the peaceful crowd of 50,000 was cornered on Národní třída. Hundreds were beaten by police, and around 100 were arrested. Czechs were electrified by this wanton police violence, and the following days saw nonstop demonstrations by students, artists and finally most of the population, peaking at a rally in Letná (p131) that drew some 750,000 people. Leading dissidents, with Havel at the forefront, formed an anticommunist coalition, which negotiated the government’s resignation on 3 December. A ‘government of national understanding’ was formed with the communists as a minority. Havel was elected president by the Federal Assembly on 29 December. These events later became known as the Velvet Revolution because of their nonviolent nature. Almost immediately after the revolution, problems arose between Czechs and Slovaks. The Slovaks had for a long time harboured grievances against the dominant Czechs, and many Slovaks dreamed of having their own state. The Czech side was deeply divided: some wanted to keep Czechoslovakia intact while others were willing to see the economically weaker Slovaks go their own way. BACKGROUND HISTORY On 1 January 1993, amid much hand-wringing on both sides – especially from Havel, who refused to preside over the splitting up of the country – the Czechs and Slovaks peacefully divided into independent states. POST-’89 PRAGUE It would be impossible to summarise in a few paragraphs the changes that have taken place in the 20 years since the Velvet Revolution. The big-picture view is largely positive, though. The Czech Republic achieved its two major long-term foreign policy goals, joining the NATO military alliance in 1999 and the EU in 2004. When it comes to local politics, the country continues to ride a knife-edge. Neither major centrist party, the right-leaning Civic Democratic Party (ODS) or the left-leaning Social Demo- crats (ČSSD), has been able cobble together a lasting consensus. In 2006, wrangling between the major parties left the country without a government for several months, leading local wags to declare the Czech Republic the world’s largest nongovernmental organisation. Havel finished 13 years as president in 2003 and was replaced by his rival, conservative Václav Klaus (formerly the prime minister). Klaus was re-elected to a second five-year term in 2008, though the president remains largely a figurehead. In terms of the economy, Prague has prospered since the Velvet Revolution, becoming one of the biggest tourist draws on the continent. Unemployment is minimal, the shops are full and the façades that were crumbling a decade ago have been given facelifts. It would be stretch, though, to say the economic transformation from communism to capi- talism has gone off without a hitch. The complex process of selling off state-owned assets to private buyers was rife with corruption. And even now there’s a lingering sense that wealth is concentrated in far too few hands and that while the communists may have lost the political game, they have prospered through their former positions and connections. ARTS Ask anyone outside the Czech Republic to name a famous Czech artist, musician or writer, and odds are he or she will come up with Alfons Mucha, Antonín Dvořák or Franz Kafka. But to the generation of Czechs that have grown up in the 20 years since the Velvet Revolution, these are names from the very distant past. Even relatively recent cultural icons like writers Milan Kundera or Ivan Klíma (both still alive and writing, by the way) seem out of touch with new realities. Václav Havel was only recently able to salvage his ageing reputation as a playwright with a hit play in 2008 – his first since 1989. Enthused by romantic notions of the Czech National Revival, Art Nouveau or outdated notions of the noble dissident struggling against an oppressive communist regime, visitors to Prague all too often overlook the vibrant arts scene that has arisen here since 1989. Prague’s major art galleries are complemented by dozens of small, independent and commercial galleries, where you can begin to appreciate the artistic energy that bubbles away beneath the city. And the many concert venues, jazz clubs and rock bars are fun, affordable and easily accessible. MUSIC Praguers have eclectic tastes, ranging from the ever-popular Mozart, who conducted the premier of Don Giovanni here in 1787, to Tom Waits, who sold out the Kongresové Centrum (Congress Centre) in a matter of hours for two concerts in July 2008. The rock and pop scene has evolved greatly since 1989, when it was dominated by dissident- era rock bands and highly influential (but well past their prime) international acts like the Velvet Underground and the Rolling Stones. Those bands were soon drowned out by a flood of international acts and newer trends like electronic music, trance, techno, hip hop, rap, world and indie. One of the surprise bands to emerge in recent years has been Čechomor, which combines harmonies and Czech folk traditions in songs that are simple and yet hauntingly beautiful. At the classical end of the musical spectrum, mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená (b 1973) is a leading light in the younger generation of opera singers. She has carved out a career as a major concert and recital artist – performing at the Salzburg, Glyndebourne and Edinburgh 30 BACKGROUND ARTS festivals, among others – and has recorded best-selling albums of Mozart arias, French opera and Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Classical Classical music is hugely popular in Prague, and not only with the crowds of international aficionados who flock to the Prague Spring and Prague Autumn festivals – the Czechs them- selves have always been keen fans. Under the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, Czechs were always considered to have discriminating tastes and even embraced Mozart’s music long before the composer achieved any measure of respect in Vienna. Distinctly Czech classical music first blossomed in the mid-19th century, when the National Revival saw the emergence of several great composers, who drew inspiration for their work from traditional Czech folk music. Bedřich Smetana (1824–84) incorporated folk motifs into his classic compositions. His best known works are Prodaná nevěsta (The Bartered Bride), Dalibor a Libuše (Dalibor and Libuše) and the six-part symphonic poem Má vlast (My Homeland), which contains his most famous composition outside the Czech Republic, Vltava (The Moldau). Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904) is the best-known Czech composer internationally. He spent four years in the US, where he lectured on music and composed his famous Symphony No 9, From the New World, a copy of which was taken to the moon by Neil Armstrong in 1969. Among his other well-known works are two Slavonic Dances (1878 and 1881), the operas Rusalka and Čert a Kača (The Devil and Kate) and his religious masterpiece Stabat Mater (a 13th-century Latin hymn; the title means ‘The Mother was Standing’). Moravian-born Leoš Janáček (1854–1928) is widely considered the leading Czech composer of the early modern period, though he was never as popular as Smetana and Dvořák in his native country. His discordant violin pieces are hard to listen to at first but mellow with familiarity. His better-known compositions include the tricky-to-pronounce-fast The Cunning Little Vixen and Káťa Kabanová, as well as the Glagolská mše (Glagolitic Mass) and Taras Bulba, based on Gogol’s short story of the same name. Other well-known Czech composers include Josef Suk (1874–1935), Dvořák’s son-in-law and author of the Serenade for Strings and the Asrael Symphony; and Bohuslav Martinů (1890–1959), famed for his opera Julietta and his Symphony No 6. Among contemporary composers, the most widely known is probably Milan Slavický (b 1947), who teaches at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts. His most famous piece, Requiem, premiered in Prague in 2005. Other modern composers worth looking out for include Petr Eben (1929–2007), a survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp during WWII who is known for his choral and organ music, and Marek Kopelent (b 1932), who made his name with avant-garde compositions in the 1950s and ’60s. Both locals and visitors can choose from a rich programme of concerts performed by Prague’s three main resident orchestras: the Prague Symphony Orchestra (Symfonický orchestr hlavního města prahy; www.fok .cz); the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (Ceska filharmonie;; and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra (Český národní symfonický orchestr; Jazz Jazz was already being played in Prague in the 1930s and retains a strong grip on the city. Czech musicians remained at the forefront of the European jazz scene until the communist takeover in 1948, when controls were imposed on performing and publishing jazz. Even so, in the late 1950s Prague Radio still had a permanent jazz orchestra, led by saxophonist Karel Krautgartner (1922–82). Restrictions were gradually lifted in the 1960s. One of the top bands of this period was SH Quartet, which played for three years at Reduta, the city’s first professional jazz club and still going strong (though no longer the centre of the jazz scene). Another leading band was Junior Trio, with Jan Hamr and brothers Miroslav and Allan Vitouš, all of whom left for the US after 1968. Hamr became prominent in American music circles as Jan Hammer and even composed the Miami Vice soundtrack (which sold some 4 million copies in the US alone). Today, the scene is not quite as vibrant, but on any given night you can still catch a number of decent shows. One of the most outstanding musicians is Jiří Stivín, who produced two excellent 31 BACKGROUND ARTS albums in the 1970s with the band System Tandem and is regarded as one of the most innovative jazz musicians in Europe. Two others to watch for are Emil Viklický and Milan Svoboda. Rock & Pop The rock scene in Prague today is deeply divided into genres and subgenres, each with its own distinct fan base, groups and clubs. Electronic music, including techno and drum ’n’ bass, is standard fare in many dance clubs. Other popular styles include indie rock (a catch- all for bands who don’t fit a label), classic rock, revival, pop, folk rock, and even a budding Czech hip-hop scene. Rock, in the form of American-style rock ’n’ roll, took the country by storm in the 1950s. It was officially frowned upon but more or less tolerated. Even today, Czechs retain a fond- ness for ’50s rockers like Elvis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, and Czechs of all ages can still cut a rug much more skilfully than their American or Western European counterparts. Czech dancers like Roman Kolb regularly win world rock ’n’ roll dance championships. Popular music blossomed during the political thaw of the mid-1960s and Western influ- ences from acts like the Beatles, Beach Boys and Rolling Stones were strongly felt. The 1967 hit single ‘Želva’ (Turtle) by the band Olympic bears the unmistakable traces of mid-decade Beatles. One of the biggest stars of that time was pop singer Marta Kubišová (b 1942). Banned by the communists for two decades after the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion, she still occasionally performs in Prague; for many Czechs, her voice still captures something of the ill-fated optimism of the ’68 period. The 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion silenced the rock revolution. Many bands were prohibited from openly performing or recording. In their place, the authorities encouraged singers like Helena Vondráčková (b 1947) and Karel Gott (b 1939), who admittedly had beautiful voices but whose recordings lacked any originality. Many popular songs from those days, like Gott’s classic ‘Je jaka je’ (She Is as She Is), are simply Czech covers of the most innocuous Western music of the day (in this case the Italian song ‘Sereno è’). Vondráčková and Gott are still recording and remain highly popular. Most Czechs by now have forgiven them their collaboration during the 1970s and ’80s, and their songs today invoke powerful feelings of nostalgia for what many now see as a simpler time. Rock became heavily politicised during the 1980s and the run-up to the Velvet Revolu- tion. Even the ‘Velvet’ part of the name owes a partial debt to rock music, in this case the American band the Velvet Underground, one of Havel’s favourites and a strong influence on underground Czech bands at the time. Hardcore experimental bands like the Plastic People of the Universe were forced underground and developed huge cult followings. An- other banned performer, Karel Kryl (1944–94), became an unofficial bard of the people, singing from his West German exile. His album Bratříčku, Zavírej Vrátka (O Brother, Shut the Door) came to symbolise the hopelessness that the Czechs felt during the Soviet invasion and the decades that followed. The Velvet Revolution opened the door to a flood of influences from around the world. In the early days of Havel’s presidency, rock icons who had inspired the revolution, like Frank Zappa, Mick Jagger and Lou Reed, were frequent visitors to the castle. Zappa was even referred to as the unofficial ‘Culture Minister’. Early ’90s Czech bands like rockers Lucie and Žlutý Pes soon gave way to a variety of sounds from the Nina Hagen–like screeching of early Lucie Bílá to the avant-garde chirping of Iva Bittová, in addition to a flood of mainstream Czech acts. The best of these included Psí Vojáci, Buty, Laura a Její Tygři, Už Jsme Doma, Support Lesbiens, and many more. Currently two of the most popular acts include hard rockers Kabát and the softer folk band Čechomor. Prague has also become a more important concert venue for touring Western acts. In the first years after the Velvet Revolution, big names were few and far between, but did include the Rolling Stones (on several occasions), Pink Floyd, REM, U2, Bruce Springsteen and Guns N’ Roses. Axl Rose legendarily opened his 1992 concert at Strahov stadium with the words, ‘OK, you ex-commie bastards, it’s time to rock and roll!’ In recent years, everybody from Madonna to Green Day to Tom Waits has paid a visit, and every summer seems to bring a richer concert schedule. 32 BACKGROUND ARTS LITERATURE There’s no shortage of new Czech literary talent. Names like Jáchym Topol, Petra Hůlová, Michal Viewegh, Magdaléna Platzová, Emil Hakl, Miloš Urban and Hana Androniková are already taking their places among the country’s leading authors. They are pushing out the old-guard figures like Milan Kundera and Ivan Klíma, who are now seen as chroniclers of a very different age. Increasingly, though, younger writers are looking outside the Czech Republic for themes and ideas. In the past, writers like Kundera or Klíma could ruminate for whole books on a character’s internal motivations, but many newer writers are setting their novels further afield to win over readers hungry for adventure. One of the best recent titles, Hůlová’s Paměť mojí babičce (Memories of My Grandmother; 2002), is set in Mongolia and tells of three generations of Mongolian women. Similarly, Platzová’s Sul, ovce a kamení (Salt, Sheep and Stones; 2003) alternates between the Czech Republic and the Dalmatian coast. Another younger writer, Iva Pekárková, seems at home anywhere except the Czech Republic, placing stories in locations like New York, Thailand and India (see the boxed text, p37). The bad news for English readers is that, with notable exceptions like Pekárková’s Truck Stop Rainbows, Topol’s stream-of-consciousness epic City Sister Silver, two titles by Michal THE EXPAT CONTRIBUTION Expat writers have had it rough in Prague. It’s hard enough to be a successful writer, but thanks to the late American editor Alan Levy, expat scribes in Prague have laboured under almost unbearable levels of expectation. It was Levy who, writing in the first issue of the Prague Post in October 1991, coined the phrase that Prague was the ‘Left Bank of the ‘90s’. He went on to write that future Isherwoods and Audens were already hard at work chronicling the course. Yeah, right. In the first decade after Levy’s pronouncement, it was easy enough to dismiss it as self-serving hype. It’s true that Prague at the time was crawling with wannabe writers, but the actual combined published opus was thin indeed. With 20 years’ hindsight, though, it’s now possible to say the critics were maybe too quick to pounce. The Prague expat pond has actually spawned more than its fair share of decent writers. A partial list would include the following: (2003) and Absurdistan (2006), the former set partially in Prague in the aftermath of the Velvet Revolution. �� JonathanLedgard,along-timePraguecorrespondentforTheEconomist,istheauthoroftheacclaimednovel Giraffe (2006), based on the story of the slaughter of Central Europe’s largest giraffe herd by the Czechoslovak secret police in 1975. �� The Sex Lives of Cannibals (2004) and Getting Stoned with the Savages (2006) – books that could have been written about Prague but are actually about his later adventures in the South Pacific. �� OlenSteinhauerspenttimehereinthemid-‘90sbeforedecampingtoBudapesttowritefiveacclaimedColdWar spy thrillers. The fourth book, Liberation Movements (2006), opens in the Czech Republic, and shades of Prague can be seen throughout the series. written several popular noir thrillers, including Shooting Elvis (1997), which explores America’s obsession with celebrity culture. ArthurPhillipsapparentlyneverlivedinPraguebutstillmanagedtowritethebest-knownexpatnoveltocome out of Eastern Europe, called simply Prague (2002) – though confusingly set in Budapest. Phillips does have a legit Prague connection, though: his short story ‘Wenceslas Square’ was printed in the 2003 anthology Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier. No discussion of expats would be complete without mentioning the growing genre of ‘I Lived Here and This Is How It Was’ books. Gene Deitch’s For the Love of Prague is one of the most enjoyable. Deitch is a former Hollywood animator who moved to Prague in the late 1950s and worked on cartoons like Tom and Jerry, Popeye and Krazy Kat from behind the Iron Curtain. Douglas Lytle’s Pink Tanks and Velvet Hangovers was written not long after the expat ‘Golden Age’ (from 1991 to 1995) and recounts the major events of the day filtered through the eyes of a young American journalist. One of the newest entries in the genre is Rachael Weiss’s wide-eyed Me, Myself and Prague, the well-crafted story of an Australian woman who leaves the modern comforts of Sydney in 2005 to move to cold and cranky Prague. Not to spoil the ending, but she winds up loving it. 33 BACKGROUND ARTS BOOKS FOR YOUR BACKPACK Not much new Czech literature is available in translation, but there are still plenty of decent Czech writers available in English. Some of the best titles: �� BringingUpGirlsinBohemia(MichalViewegh,1996)–Humorouslycapturestheearlyyearsofnewlycapitalist Prague. The movie of the same name stars Czech actress Anna Geislerová and opens with Geislerová relaxing at the old Globe Bookstore & Coffeehouse in Holešovice – a classic intersection of art and real life. �� CloselyWatchedTrains(BohumilHrabal,1965)–Hrabal’snovellatellsthestoryofayoungmancomingofageat a railway station during WWII. The screen adaptation won the Oscar for best foreign film in 1967. �� CitySisterSilver(JáchymTopol,1994)–TranslatorAlexZuckermodestlydescribesthisrambling,words-on-speed novel as ‘the story of a young man trying to find his way in the messy landscape of post-communist Czechoslova- kia’. Dense, deeply meaningful, and probably hard as hell to translate. �� DaylightintheNightclubInferno(editedbyElenaLappin,1997)–DecentanthologyofthebestyoungCzechwrit- ers working in the years immediately after the Velvet Revolution. Includes selections from Jáchym Topol, Michal Viewegh, Daniela Fischerová and Michal Ajvaz, among others. �� IServedtheKingofEngland(BohumilHrabal,1990)–Czechoslovakia’storturedhistoryprovidedfodderforsome brilliantly funny novels in Hrabal’s capable hands. In this one, a vertically challenged waiter named Ditie rises, Švejk-like, to wealth and prominence under the German occupation, only to lose it all after the war. �� LifewithaStar(JiříWeil,1949)–JewishwriterWeilsurvivedtheNazioccupationbyfakinghisowndeathand hiding out for the duration of the war. This highly moving account from that period tells the story of an ordinary bank clerk whose life is turned upside down when he’s forced to wear the yellow star. �� MendelssohnisontheRoof(JiříWeil,1960)–ThisclassicfromtheNazioccupationopenswithanabsurdaccount of SS workers ordered to remove a statue of the ‘Jew composer’ Mendelssohn from the Rudolfinum’s roof. They can’t figure out which one is him, so they pull down the statue with the biggest nose – which turns out to be Richard Wagner! �� MyMerryMornings(IvanKlíma,1986)–Klímaisaquietlypowerfulwriterwithanimpressivecollectionofbooks from both the pre- and post-1989 period. Collections like My Merry Mornings or My First Loves capture the kind of quirky magic the city had before it was inundated with ‘Prague Drinking Team’ T-shirts. �� Prague:ATraveler’sLiteraryCompanion(editedbyPaulWilson,1994)–Indispensablecollectionofexcerptsandshort stories from a range of Czech writers through the ages and conveniently organised according to districts of the city. �� TheBookofLaughterandForgetting(MilanKundera,1979)–Kunderawrotethispoignantandveryfunnycollec- tion of thematically related short stories from his Paris exile in the 1970s. It immediately established his reputa- tion as Central Europe’s leading writer. �� TheCastle(FranzKafka,1926)–ThoughKafkawasaquintessentialPraguewriter,veryfewofhisbooksactually mention the city by name. The Castle is no exception. Poor K never makes it inside, and the novel ends 280 pages later in midsentence. A work of genius or simply frustrating? You decide. �� TheGoodSoldierŠvejk(JaroslavHašek,1923)–Hašek’sWWInovelaboutanamiableCzechoafwhomanagesto avoid military service has fallen out of favour – Czechs resent the portrayal and foreigners don’t get the humour. Still, for anyone with a fondness for the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, it’s a must-read. �� TheJoke(MilanKundera,1967)–Kundera’sfirstnovelwaspublishedinCzechoslovakiain1967inthebriefthaw that preceded the Soviet invasion. It’s a tragicomic love story of what happens when a spurned lover sends a dumb joke to his ideologically blinded girlfriend. �� TheTrial(FranzKafka,1925)–‘SomeonemusthavebeentellingliesaboutJosefK,forwithouthavingdoneany- thing wrong he was arrested one fine morning.’ Kafka wrote these words in 1914, but they were eerily prophetic of the arrests of Czechs and Jews to come during WWII or of communist show trials after the war. �� TheUnbearableLightnessofBeing(MilanKundera,1984)–Kundera’sbest-knownnovelbecauseofthe1988 movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Juliette Binoche. The novel’s elixir of Prague during the 1968 invasion and a highly likeable womanising character named Tomáš combined to cement Kundera’s genius rep in the 1980s. It’s still highly readable. Viewegh and a couple of anthologies, not much new literature has been published in English. Excerpts of Topol’s second book, Anděl (Angel Station), can be found on the internet (www, but his third book, Nemůžu se zastavit (I Can’t Stop), is unlikely to appear in English anytime soon. It’s not clear why international publishers are shunning new Czech literature. Maybe it’s the fact that much of it isn’t so different from modern literature anywhere else in the world. 34 BACKGROUND ARTS Or maybe they feel that with communism out of the way, Czech literature lacks a big theme to define itself against. Whatever the reason, for the moment at least, non-Czech speakers will have to content themselves with classics from the communist era and earlier. Fortunately, these are still widely available and have held up remarkably well. Kundera remains the undisputed champ of Czech literature and was even – grudgingly – awarded the Czech state prize for literature in 2007 for a new translation of his classic The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The word ‘grudgingly’ is in order because Czechs, perhaps unfairly, have never forgiven him for leaving his homeland in the mid-’70s just as they were suffering under the Russian occupation. For visitors to Prague, this book, along with The Joke and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, remains the most rewarding (see the boxed text, opposite, for recommended titles). Kundera’s later works, including 2007’s The Curtain, tend toward drier, more clinical divinations of the novel and are best left to hardcore fans and grad students. Other giants who came of age during the period from the Soviet-led invasion in 1968 to the Velvet Revolution include Ivan Klíma, Bohumil Hrabal, Josef Škvorecký and Václav Havel (as an essayist and playwright; see the boxed text, p28). Klíma, who survived the Terezín camp as a child and who still lives in Prague, is probably best known for his collec- tions of bittersweet short stories of life in Prague in the 1970s and ’80s like My First Loves and My Merry Mornings. He also wrote a series of very good novels after 1989 exploring the conflicting moral climate of post-Velvet Prague, including Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light and No Saints or Angels. Ask any Czech who their favourite author is: chances are the answer will be Bohumil Hrabal, and it’s not hard to see why. Hrabal’s writing captures what Czechs like best about their society and culture, including a keen wit, a sense of the absurd and a fondness for beer. He’s also a great storyteller, and novels like I Served the King of England (which was made into a movie in 2006) and The Little Town Where Time Stood Still are both entertaining and insightful. Hrabal died in 1997 in classic Czech fashion – by falling from a window. Josef Škvorecký emigrated to Canada shortly after the 1968 invasion and, like Kundera, his writing is dominated by themes of exile and memory. Look for The Cowards, The Swell Season and The Engineer of Human Souls. No discussion of Czech literature would be complete without Franz Kafka, easily the best- known writer to have ever lived in Prague and author of the modern classics The Trial and The Castle. Though Kafka was German-speaking and Jewish, he’s as thoroughly connected to the city as any Czech writer could be. Kafka was born just a stone’s throw from the Old Town Square and rarely strayed more than a couple of hundred metres in any direction during the course of his short life (see the boxed text, p83). The Nazi occupation 15 years later wiped out any vestiges of Kafka’s circle of German writers, which included his friend and publicist Max Brod and journalist Egon Erwin Kisch. Kafka’s Czech contemporary and easily his polar opposite was the pub scribe Jaroslav Hašek, author of the – in equal measures – loved and reviled The Good Soldier Švejk. For those who get the jokes, the book is a comic masterpiece of a bumbling, good-natured Czech named Švejk and his (intentional or not) efforts to avoid military service for Austria–Hungary during WWI. Czechs tend to bridle at the assertion that an idiot like Švejk could somehow embody any national characteristic. Admirers of the book, on the other hand, feel in this instance that perhaps the Czechs doth protest too much. The Czech language is highly inflected, giving grammatically gifted writers ample ammo to build layers of meaning simply by playing with tenses and endings. The undisputed master of this is the interwar writer Karel Čapek, an essayist and author of several novels, including the science fiction RUR (Rossum’s Universal Robots), from where the English word ‘robot’ (from the Czech for ‘labour’) derives. Czech contributions to literature are not limited to fiction. Czech poet Jaroslav Seifert (1901–86) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1984. The American publisher Catbird Press has come out with an excellent collection of his work in English, The Poetry of Jaro- slav Seifert. The irony is that Seifert is not universally considered by Czechs to be their best poet. Depending on whom you ask, that distinction often belongs to poet-scientist Miroslav Holub (1923–98). 35 BACKGROUND ARTS VISUAL ARTS Ask about visual arts in Prague and many visitors will probably draw a blank, perhaps conjuring up some Art Nouveau images by Alfons Mucha (see the boxed text, p40). But the city has much more to offer than Mucha’s sultry maidens. Prague has both a long tradition of avant-garde photography and a rich heritage of public sculpture, ranging from the baroque period to the present day. There is always something new and fascinating to see at the Veletržní Palace or in one of the private galleries around town. Photography Czech photographers have always been at the forefront of the medium. The earliest photogra- phers, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, worked in the pictorialist style, which viewed photography as a kind of extension of painting. Photographers were encouraged to use vari- ous shooting and printing techniques to introduce imprecision, much like an Impressionist painting. It was after independence in 1918 and during the 1920s and ’30s that early modern styles captured the Czech imagination. Local photographers seized on trends like Cubism, function- alism, Dadaism and Surrealism, turning out jarring abstracts that still look fresh today. Two of the best photographers from that time are František Drtikol and Jaroslav Rössler. Drtikol was a society portraitist who mainly shot nudes poised against dramatic, angular backdrops. Rössler spent several years in Paris, refining a style of powerful abstract imagery that draws on constructivist trends. During communism photography was enlisted in the service of promoting the workers’ state. Picture books from that time are comically filled with images of tractors, factories and housing projects. Serious photographers turned inward and intentionally chose subjects – like landscapes and still lifes – that were, at least superficially, devoid of political content. Arguably the best Czech photographer from this period was Josef Sudek. During a career that spanned five decades until his death in the mid-’70s, Sudek turned his lens on the city of Prague to absolutely stunning effect. Sudek exhibitions are relatively rare, but collections of his photography are widely available at antiquarian bookshops around town. Current Czech bad-boy photographer Jan Saudek (b 1935) continues to delight his fans (or appal his critics) with his dreamlike, hand-tinted prints that evoke images of utopia or dys- topia – usually involving a nude or seminude woman or child. Saudek is unquestionably the best-known contemporary Czech photographer and his works are frequently on display, but the jury is still out on whether the pictures – especially those involving kids – don’t transgress the boundaries. Sculpture Public sculpture has always played a prominent role in Prague, from the baroque saints that line the parapets of Charles Bridge to the monumental statue of Stalin that once faced the Old Town from atop Letná Hill (see the boxed texts, p80 and p93). More often than not, that role has been a political one. In the baroque era, religious sculptures sprouted in public places; they included ‘Marian columns’ erected in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for protection against the plague or victory over anti-Catholic enemies. One such Marian column stood in Old Town Square from 1650 until 1918. The placing of the statue of St John of Nepomuk on Charles Bridge in 1683 was a conscious act of propaganda designed to create a new – and Catholic – Czech national hero who would displace the Protestant reformer Jan Hus. As such it was successful. John of Nepomuk was canonised in 1729, and the Nepomuk legend, invented by the Jesuits, has passed into the collective memory. The period of the Czech National Revival saw Prague sculpture take a different tack: to raise public awareness of Czech traditions and culture. One of the most prolific sculptors of this period was Josef Václav Myslbek, whose famous statue of St Wenceslas, the Czech patron saint, dominates the upper end of Wenceslas Square (p105). He also created the four huge statues of the historic Czech characters Libuše, Přemysl, Šárka and Ctirad that grace the gardens in Vyšehrad fortress (p115). 36 BACKGROUND ARTS CZECH RENEGADE WRITER IVA PEKÁRKOVÁ Iva Pekárková (b 1963) is part of a generation of Czech writers who came of age as communism was ending but who had no intention of sticking around to see how it turned out. She left the country in 1985, spending some time in a refugee camp in Austria before finally winding up on the mean streets of New York, where she drove a cab. Placing her stories in settings as far away as India, Nigeria and Thailand, she projects strong female characters and draws energy from the clash of cultures. Her books include, in English, Truck Stop Rainbows (1992) and Gimme the Money (1996). She’s won praise internationally for her tough subjects, but gets tweaked occasionally by Czech critics as not being ‘Czech’ enough. We caught up with Iva in London, where she lives these days, driving a cab and contemplating her next move. So what are you working on? I’ve been living in London for two years now driving a minicab. (I just started a blog about it: Meanwhile, I am getting ready to write a book about a phenomenon that’s only come into focus the past few years: namely, the twisted relationships between older, and even very old, white women and young black men from Africa. If I do it right, it should be funny. I’ve just published a collection of short stories from London called Love in London (Láska v Londýně). One might say Czech writers, these days, are grasping for original themes. Would you agree? The book business is actually exploding, with something like 50 to 80 new titles hitting the shelves each week. But booksellers and distributors haven’t learned to distinguish between shit-lit and actual literature. No wonder readers get discouraged. When it comes to themes, I think it was Czech author Zuzana Brabcová who said, 10 years ago, [that] ‘there were no stories in the Czech Republic’. I’ve taken a softer approach. I do believe there are stories, but they all seem to me to be recycled. All of the phenomena the Velvet Revolution brought and which Jáchym Topol calls ‘the explosion of time’ in his novel City Sister Silver – namely, chain stores, fashions, music, drugs and feminism – have been in the world for a long time, though they’re still relatively new to us. They can be ‘discovered’ only within the context of the Czech Republic, and good writers always want to be discoverers. No wonder they are frustrated. What’s your favourite Czech book published in the past five years? That’s tough. I like Frišta by journalist Petra Procházková, set in Afghanistan, Petra Hůlová’s Paměť mojí babičce, set in Mongolia, and, thank god, one set in the Czech Republic: Svatava Antošová’s Dáma a švihadlo, a tough, poetic, self-described ‘killer-novel’. Do you have a favourite author? I’m afraid it’s still Bohumil Hrabal, though he’s been dead a long time. Only a genius could squeeze wonderful and eventful stories out of a sleepy little village like Kersko. Are there any new talents on the horizon? Petra Hůlová, though she’s already been around a while. The Art Nouveau sculptor Ladislav Šaloun was responsible for one of Prague’s most iconic sculptures, the monument to Jan Hus that was unveiled in the Old Town Square (p87) in 1915 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Hus being burned at the stake. The figure of Hus – standing firm and unmoving, while the events of history swirl around him – symbolised the Czech nation, which, three years later, would be fully independent for the first time in history. For three short years Hus stared across the square at the statue of the Virgin Mary – symbol of the Habsburg victory over the Czechs – until a mob toppled her soon after independence was declared in 1918. Šaloun’s works also grace the façade of the Municipal House (p99), the Grand Hotel Evropa (see the boxed text, p112) and Prague City Hall (one block west of the Old Town Square on Mariánské náměstí). He created the bust of Antonín Dvořák that adorns the composer’s tomb in Vyšehrad cemetery (p117). Probably the most imposing and visible sculpture in Prague is the huge, mounted figure of Hussite hero Jan Žižka – reputedly the biggest equestrian statue in the world – that dominates the skyline above Žižkov, the city district named after him. Created by sculptor Bohumil Kafka (no relation to writer Franz) in 1950, it was originally intended to form part of the National Monument (p125) in memory of the Czechoslovak legions who had fought in WWI. It was instead hijacked by the communist government and made to serve as a political symbol of Czech workers and peasants. The city’s long tradition of politically charged sculpture continues today with the controversial and often wryly amusing works of David Černý (see the boxed texts, p39 and p137). 37 BACKGROUND ARTS Painting The luminously realistic 14th-century paintings of Magister Theodoricus, whose work hangs in the Chapel of the Holy Cross at Karlštejn Castle (p230) and in the Chapel of St Wenceslas in St Vitus Cathedral (p64), influenced art throughout Central Europe. Another gem of Czech Gothic art is a late-14th-century altar panel by an artist known only as the Master of the Třeboň Altar; what remains of it is at the Convent of St Agnes (p95) in Prague’s Old Town. The Czech National Revival in the late 18th and 19th centuries witnessed the revival of a Czech style of realism, in particular by Mikuláš Aleš and father and son Antonín and Josef Mánes. Alfons Mucha is well known for his late-19th- and early-20th-century Art Nouveau posters, paintings and stained glass (see the boxed text, p104). Czech landscape painting developed in the works of Adolf Kosárek, followed by a wave of Impressionism and Symbolism in the hands of Antonín Slavíček, Max Švabinský and others. In the early 20th century, Prague developed as a centre of avant-garde art, concentrated in a group of artists called Osma (the Eight). Prague was also a focus for Cubist painters, including Josef Čapek and the aptly named Bohumil Kubišta. The functionalist movement flourished between WWI and WWII in a group called Devětsíl, led by the critic and editor Karel Teige. Surrealists followed, including Zdeněk Rykr and Josef Šima. Visual arts were driven underground during the Nazi occupation, and in the early years of the communist period painters were forced to work in the official Socialist Realist style, usually ART TALK WITH GALLERY OWNER CAMILLE HUNT Long-time expats and Prague residents French-Canadian Camille Hunt and Czech-American Katherine Kastner opened Hunt Kastner Artworks in 2005 after seeing a gap for a gallery focused on contemporary art and a growing need for profes- sional representation of young Czech artists abroad. Camille filled us in on the contemporary art scene over lunch at Fraktal (p187), a couple of blocks from her gallery, found in an up-and-coming residential neighbourhood behind Letná Park. What do you see as some of the main trends in Czech art? Do artists follow interna- tional fashions or are there also local developments? Generally, Czech art follows international trends. The art world has become a global village and influences are broadly shared. One local development we see in younger artists is mixing art with social activism. The ‘Ladví’ group of artists, for example, makes art by doing things like planting trees and fixing broken glass in the housing projects near Ladví in Prague 8 ( Who are some of the most exciting names in Czech art today? I would say Josef Bolf, a painter with strong, affective imagery about innocence and violence; Kryštof Kintera, who does sculpture and installation work on consumer society that forces us to reconsider our relation to everyday objects; and the Guma Guar artists’ collective, who do political art, criticising the powers-that-be but with humour – always a good thing! What’s it like to run a gallery in Prague? What are some of the problems? It’s great fun, and the public’s reception has been gratifying. It’s also challenging, as there isn’t yet a developed market in this country for contemporary art. Most local collectors are focused on modern, not contemporary, art. Also, there are only a limited number of collectors interested in younger artists, and they’re not used to buying through galleries. This is one of the reasons it’s essential we participate in international art fairs. What about prices? Are there any bargains to be had? Unfortunately, prices for contemporary art are not any lower here than anywhere else, especially as the Czech crown has been so strong. Aside from your gallery, where are some good places to see contemporary art? The best galleries around town include Jiří Švestka (Map p106; Biskupský dvůr 6, Nové Město); the Rudolfinum (p97); Tranzit/Display (Map pp108–9; Dittrichova 9, Nové Město); NoD (Map pp88–9; Dlouhá 33, Staré Město); and Karlín Studios (Map pp126–7; Křižíková 34, Karlín). You can see more contemporary Czech art at Hunt Kastner Artworks (Map pp132–3; %603 525 294; www.huntkastner .com; Kamenická 22, Letná; h1-6pm Tue-Fri, 2-6pm Sat or by appt; j1, 8, 15, 25, 26 to Kamenická). 38 BACKGROUND ARTS DAVID ČERNÝ: ARTIST-PROVOCATEUR Czech artist David Černý (b 1967) first made international headlines in 1991 when he painted Prague’s memorial to the WWII Soviet tank crews bright pink (see the boxed text, p93). Since then he has cultivated a reputation as the enfant terrible of the Prague art scene – his works often turn into major media events, occasionally with police involved. Like others of his generation, he is virulently anticommunist. When the Rolling Stones played Prague in 2003, Keith Richards wore a Černý-designed T-shirt with the words ‘Fuck the KSČM’ (the initials of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia). Since the ‘Pink Tank’ episode, Černý has become internationally famous. He lived for a time in the US, and his art has been exhibited in New York, Chicago, Dresden, Berlin, Stockholm and London, among other places. Many of his works are on display in Prague (see the boxed text, p137). He’s also heavily involved in promoting cross-cultural links with artists abroad through his sprawling ‘Meet Factory’ (p137) artist-in-residency project in Smíchov. You can find more details on Černý’s work and the Meet Factory on his website at depicting workers and peasants building the workers’ state. Underground painters included Mikuláš Medek (whose abstract, Surrealist art was exhibited in out-of-the-way galleries) and Jiří Kolář, an outstanding graphic artist and poet whose name when pronounced sounds something like ‘collage’ – one of his favourite art forms. CINEMA For a small country with a minuscule box office, the Czech Republic has an active film industry, producing 15 to 20 features a year. Nearly all features receive some monetary support from the state and sponsors such as Czech TV, but it helps that Czechs are avid moviegoers. Hollywood films account for the majority of movie receipts, but Czech features still bring in around a quarter of the total box office. Czechs were some of the earliest pioneers in movie-making, with the first Czech films – silent, American-style slapstick comedies – arriving at the end of the 19th century. Movie-making really took off during the interwar First Republic. American westerns were highly popular and even responsible for kicking off a Czech obsession with living in nature and the ‘Wild West’ that endures to this day. The first film ever to show full-frontal nudity was Gustav Machatý’s Exstace (Ecstasy; 1932). Revealing it all was one Hedvige Kiesler, who went on to later stardom in Hollywood as Hedy Lamarr. American films retained their popularity until the US entered WWII at the end of 1941 and the Nazis banned them. Even during the difficult years of the war, Czechs continued to go to the cinema, substituting American dramas and comedies with German ones. The communist coup in 1948 shifted the focus of movie-making from entertainment to education, and films were placed in the service of the state to foster the class consciousness of the workers. The result was predictable mediocrity that didn’t end until the political thaw of the 1960s, when a younger generation from the Prague film academy, FAMU, crafted tragicomic films that slyly criticised the communists and garnered rave reviews around the world. These ‘New Wave’ films, as they became known, took the world by storm. Czechoslovak films won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film twice in the 1960s, for Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos’ Little Shop on Main Street (Obchod na korze) in 1965 and Jiří Menzel’s Closely Watched Trains (Ostre sledované vlaky) in 1967. Miloš Forman was the acknowledged master of the New Wave, kicking off with the spare but absorbing Black Peter (Černý Petr) in 1963, and then creating classics like Loves of a Blonde (Lásky jedné plavovlásky; 1966) – which was nominated for an Oscar but didn’t win – and The Fireman’s Ball (Hoří, má panenko; 1967) before moving to the US after the Warsaw Pact invasion. Forman went on to win Oscars for Best Picture for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus. Other prominent directors to emerge during the Czech New Wave included Ivan Passer, Věra Chytilová and Jan Němec, among others. Many of these directors’ films are now available on DVD. Since the Velvet Revolution, Czech directors have struggled to make meaningful films, given their tiny budgets and a constant flood of movies from the US. At the same time, they’ve had to endure nearly nonstop critical demands that their output meet the high standards for Czech 39 BACKGROUND ARTS THE UNDERAPPRECIATED ALFONS MUCHA Alfons Mucha (1860–1939) is probably the most famous visual artist to come out of the Czech lands, though his reputa- tion within the Czech Republic is less exalted than it is abroad. Mucha’s life and career changed almost overnight after a chance meeting in a print shop led him to design a poster for famous actress Sarah Bernhardt, promoting her new play Giselda; you can see the original lithograph in the Mucha Museum (p104). The poster, with its tall, narrow format, muted colours, rich decoration and sensual beauty, created a sensation. Mucha quickly became the most talked about artist in Paris. He signed a six-year contract with Bernhardt during which he created nine superb posters in what became known as le style Mucha. He also designed jewellery, costumes and stage sets, and went on to produce many more posters promoting, among other things, Job cigarette papers, Moët & Chandon champagne and tourism in Monaco and Monte Carlo. Although firmly associated with Art Nouveau, Mucha himself claimed he did not belong to any one artistic move- ment, and saw his work as part of a natural evolution of Czech art. His commitment to the culture and tradition of his native land was expressed in the second half of his career, when he worked on the decoration of the Lord Mayor’s Hall in Prague’s Municipal House (p99), designed new stamps and banknotes and created a superb stained-glass window for St Vitus Cathedral (p64). He devoted 18 years of his life (1910–28) to creating his Slovanské epopej (Slavic Epic), which he later donated to the Czech nation. The 20 monumental canvasses encompass a total area of around 0.5 sq km and depict events from Slavic history and myth. Although very different in style from his Paris posters, they retain the same mythic, romanticised quality, full of wild-eyed priests, medieval pageantry and battlefield carnage, all rendered in symbolic tints. In the artist’s own words, ‘black is the colour of bondage; blue is the past; yellow, the joyous present; orange, the glorious future’. ( The Slavic Epic is on display in the town of Moravský Krumlov, near Brno, about 200km southeast of Prague.) When the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939, Mucha was one of the first to be arrested by the Gestapo. He was re- leased but died a few days later, shortly before his 79th birthday. He is buried in the Slavín at Vyšehrad Cemetery (p117). Mucha’s granddaughter, Jarmila Plocková, uses elements of his paintings in her own works. Those interested can check out Art Décoratif (p146). films set during the 1960s. Given the high expectations, the newer Czech directors have largely succeeded, settling for smaller, ensemble-driven films that focus on the hardships and moral ambiguities of life in a society rapidly transiting from communism to capitalism. If the Czech New Wave was mostly about making light of a bad situation, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say today’s films strive to make bad out of a comparatively light situation. Films like David Ondříček’s Loners (Samotáři), Jan Hřebejk’s Up and Down (Horem pádem), Sasha Gedeon’s Return of the Idiot (Návrat idiota), Bohdan Sláma’s Something Like Happiness (Štěstí) and Petr Zelenka’s Wrong Way Up (Příběhy obyčejného šílenství) are all very different, yet each explores the same familiar dark terrain of money, marital problems and shifting moral sands. Running against this grain has been director Jan Svěrák, who continues to make big- budget films that have attracted more international attention; he even took home the country’s first Oscar since the 1960s, for the film Kolja in 1996. In addition to Czech films, the country has managed to position itself as a lower-cost pro- duction centre for Hollywood films. Part of the pitch has been the excellent production facili- ties at Barrandov Studios, to the south of Smíchov. The effort has paid off, and dozens of big budget films – including Mission: Impossible, the James Bond film Casino Royale and the first two Chronicles of Narnia movies – have all been filmed here. Whether Prague can continue to lure big-time productions remains in doubt, however, as the Czech crown has appreciated and cheaper facilities in Hungary and Romania have opened up. Animation and Fantasy It’s not surprising for a country with such a long tradition of puppetry that Czechs would also excel at animation. The centre for much of this activity was Prague’s famed Krátký Film studios. Czechs are especially well known in Central and Eastern Europe for animated films and shorts aimed at kids; the most popular character is doubtless ‘Krtek’, the little mole, created by animator Zdeněk Miler in the 1950s. You’ll recognise Krtek puppets in shops by his big white eyes, red 40 BACKGROUND ARTS nose, and three strands of hair on his head. Krtek has starred in dozens of films over the years, starting with the 1957 classic How the Mole Got His Trousers (Jak krtek ke kalhotkám přišel). Czech painter and illustrator Jiří Trnka won worldwide recognition for his evocative pup- pet animation films, beginning in 1946 with The Czech Year and continuing until his death in 1969. His best works include a parody of American westerns called Song of the Prairie, The Emperor’s Nightingale (narrated by Boris Karloff in a 1951American version), The Good Soldier Švejk and, finally, 1965’s The Hand – a highly politicised work illustrating the struggle of the artist against totalitarian authority, portrayed by a simple, white-gloved hand. That film was initially tolerated by the government but banned from theatres shortly after Trnka’s death. It wasn’t rereleased until after 1989. Czech Jan Švankmajer is celebrated for his bizarre, surrealist animation work and stop-motion feature films, including his 1988 version of Alice in Wonderland, called Alice (Něco z Alenky), and the 1994 classic, Faust (Lekce Faust). His 1996 Conspirators of Pleasure (Spiklenci slasti) is an over-the-top take on fetishism and self-gratification. There’s no dialogue, making it acces- sible (if that’s the right word) in any language. THEATRE Theatre in Prague remains a popular and vital art form, in spite of rising competition from the internet, film and TV. Openings for key performances, such as Tom Stoppard’s riveting play Rock ’n’ Roll at the National Theatre (Národní divadlo; p201) in 2007 or Václav Havel’s acclaimed Odcházení (Leaving) at Divadlo Archa in 2008, are often sold out months in advance and duly debated in the papers and by the public for weeks after. In addition to the main venues, including the National Theatre and the Estates Theatre (Stavovské divadlo; p199), there are dozens of smaller theatres scattered around the centre and in nearly every one of the city’s neighbourhoods and districts. Unfortunately for non-Czech speakers, much of the action remains inaccessible. Occasionally, big theatrical events will be supertitled in English, but the bread and butter of Czech drama is performed in Czech only. Two theatres, Archa and the Švandovo divadlo in Smíchov (p203), are committed to English-friendly performances and occasionally host English drama in the original language. Additionally, the annual Fringe Festival, held at the end of May and early June, brings a week of nonstop drama, comedy and sketch performances, much of it in English. Theatre has always played a strong role in the Czechs’ national consciousness, both as a way of promoting linguistic development and defending the fledgling culture against the dominant Habsburg, German and, later, communist influences. Czech-language (as opposed to German) drama found an early home in the late 18th century at the Nostitz Theatre, now the Estates Theatre. Historical plays with a nationalist subtext flourished during the 19th century as part of the Czech National Revival. The decade-long construction of the National Theatre and its opening in 1881 was considered a watershed in Czech history. Tragically, the theatre burned down shortly after opening but was completely rebuilt following a public outcry just two years later. Drama flourished in the early years of independent Czechoslovakia, but suffered under the Nazi occupation, when many Czech-language theatres were closed or converted into German theatres. Under communism, classical performances were of a high quality, but the modern scene was stifled. Exceptions included the pantomime of the Cerné divadlo (Black Theatre) and the ultramodern Laterna Magika (Magic Lantern), founded by Alfréd Radok and still going strong. Many fine plays during this period, including those by Havel, were not performed locally because of their antigovernment tone, but appeared in the West. In the mid-1960s, free expres- sion was briefly explored in Prague’s Theatre on the Balustrade (Divadlo na zábradlí; p203), with works by Havel, Ladislav Fialka and Milan Uhde, and performances by the comedy duo of Jiří Suchý and Jiří Šlitr. The centrality of theatre to Czech life was confirmed in 1989 during the Velvet Revolution, when Havel and his Civic Forum movement chose to base themselves at the Laterna Magika for their epic negotiations to push the communists from power. While theatre remains a vital art form and is well attended, there are concerns for its future as prices for performances rise and cultural budgets remain under pressure. One of the main issues facing the city government is how to finance cultural establishments, and many in City Hall are 41 BACKGROUND ARTS GREAT CZECH FILMS �� Amadeus(1985)–UntiltheVelvetRevolution,thebiggestHollywoodproductiontobefilmedhere.Director Miloš Forman chose Prague for his Oscar-winning tale of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart because it looked more like ‘18th-century Vienna’ than Vienna – he even got to film inside the Estates Theatre, where Don Giovanni premiered in 1787. �� BeautyinTrouble(Kráskavnesnázích;2006)–ByacclaimeddirectorJanHřebejk,whoholdsamirroruptoCzech society, showing it warts and all. Czech actress Anna Geislerová plays a woman whose life collapses after the 2002 Prague floods and who takes up a hesitant relationship with a wealthy Czech émigré living in Italy. �� BlackPeter(ČernýPetr;1963)–ThisearlyMilošFormanfilmwowedtheNewYorkcriticsonitsdebutwithits cinematic illusions to the French New Wave and its slow but mesmerising teenage-boy-comes-of-age storyline. Also called Peter and Pavla. �� BonyaKlíd(1987)–VítOlmer’scommunist-eraclassiclooksatPragueinthepre–VelvetRevolutionyears,when a corrupt secret police and organised crime were one and the same. Banned on release, it was widely circulated underground on video and features arguably the best-ever use of a Frankie Goes to Hollywood soundtrack. �� CloselyWatchedTrains(Ostresledovanévlaky;1966)–JiříMenzel’sadaptationofBohumilHrabal’scomicWWII classic won an Oscar in 1967 and put the Czech New Wave on the international radar screen. Watch for young Miloš gently broaching the subject of premature ejaculation with an older woman as she lovingly strokes a goose’s neck. �� CosyDens(Pelíšky;1999)–Thestoryoftwoneighboursontheeveofthe1968WarsawPactinvasionwith radically differing political views. Czech directors have yet to make the definitive film about communism, but this attempt – sad and funny in equal measures – comes close. �� CzechDream(Českýsen;2004)–ArguablythefinestCzechdocumentaryinrecentyears.Twolocalwagsfakethe opening of a new hypermarket, handing out flyers promising the lowest prices ever, and then film the result. The ending is both predictable and sad, an allegory of the newly capitalist Czech Republic. �� DividedWeFall(Musímesipomáhat;2000)–JanHřebejkandPetrJarchovský’scomicbutunsparingviewofthe German occupation and the Czechs who collaborated. A couple hides a Jewish refugee in their house and must take convoluted steps to conceal their actions – including publicly embracing the Nazis. �� Kolya(Kolja;1996)–JanSvěrák’sOscar-winningtaleofanageingCzechbachelorandacuteRussiankidwasorigi- nally cheered for helping salvage Czech films’ international reputation. It hasn’t worn well with time and is now considered syrupy. Still worth a look for the sumptuous shots of what was intended to be prerevolutionary Prague. �� Loners(Samotáři;2000)–DavidOndříček’shugelyinfluentialfilmsetthestandardfortheensemble-driven,life- of-a-20-something chronicles that have become the staple of post–Velvet Revolution Czech cinema. �� LovesofaBlonde(Láskyjednéplavovlásky;1965)–MilošForman’sbittersweetlovestoryofanaivegirlfroma small factory town and her more sophisticated Prague beau. Arguably Forman’s finest film, effortlessly capturing both the innocence and the hopelessness of those grey days of the mid-1960s. �� PanelStory(Panelstory;1979)–VěraChytilová’sclassicfromcommunisttimesaboutyoungfamilieswhobuy apartments in the new high-rise apartment blocks going up all over town, only to discover how bad they are. It’s mesmerising from the opening shot on. �� SomethingLikeHappiness(Štěstí;2005)–BohdanSláma’sbleakfilmissimilarintonetoBeautyinTroubleandalso stars Geislerova, but this time around she plays an emotionally disturbed mother on the verge of a breakdown in the northern city of Most. The movie is redeemed by level-headed Monika, played by Czech actress Tatiana Vilhelmová. �� TheRide(Jízda;1994)–HugelyinfluentialCzechroadmoviestarringayoungGeislerová,whohitchhikesherway to hopeful freedom. Captured something of the optimism and spirit of those early postrevolutionary years. �� UpandDown(Horempádem;2004)–DirectorJanHřebejk’shighlyregardedfilmisoneofseveralinrecentyears that takes a hard look at the new realities of post–Velvet Revolution Prague, where money talks and age-old hatreds are given more-or-less free rein. calling for substantial cuts to subsidies. Former president and playwright Václav Havel took the controversial step in 2008 of calling on Prague residents not to support the ruling right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party (ODS) because of the party’s position on cultural funding. Havel’s play, Odcházení, his first major dramatic work since 1989, opened to nearly universal acclaim in May 2008. It’s a parody of life in postcommunist Prague, involving a compromised politician, Vlastík Klein, who bears at least a superficial resemblance to Havel’s political rival, President Václav Klaus (even having the same initials). Havel wrote the female lead for his second and current wife Daša, but she fell ill shortly before the play’s premiere and was not able to perform. An English version of the play was being readied for debuts in London and New York. 42 BACKGROUND ARTS In addition to traditional drama, Czechs have a long history of puppet and marionette theatre going back to the Middle Ages. A major figure of this art form was Matej Kopecký (1775–1847). Marionette theatres opened in Prague and Plzeň in the early 20th century. Josef Skupa’s legendary Spejbl and Hurvínek (a Czech version of ‘Punch and Judy’) attracted large crowds then, and still does. ENVIRONMENT & PLANNING Prague has gone a long way towards improving the quality of its air: restricting coal burning within the city, capping factory emissions, and pulling ageing lorries, coaches and cars off the streets. Still, much of this good work has been undercut by a massive increase in automobiles on roadways. The authorities are now in the midst of building an ambitious ring-road system to reroute long-haul traffic around the city, and are even considering introducing a London-style congestion fee to limit the number of drivers in the centre. Sprawl remains a potentially more vexing problem. The Velvet Revolution sparked a 20-year building boom that shows no sign of letting up. Every year sees thousands of acres of orchards and farmland paved over to make way for new housing developments and shopping centres. These in turn create new traffic patterns and problems of their own. Attempts by the city to limit or plan development have so far had only limited success. THE LAND Prague’s Old Town (Staré Město) and Malá Strana – along with the districts of Smíchov to the south and Karlín and Holešovice to the east and north – sit along a low-lying bend of the Vltava River, the longest river in the Czech Republic. The position leaves the districts prone to flooding, and over the years the city has seen a series of serious floods, beginning with the deluge of 1342, which wiped out Judith Bridge, precursor to Charles Bridge. Until relatively recently, the flood of 1890, which broke away part of Charles Bridge, was considered an insuperable deluge, but the devastating flood of 2002 was worse. Heavy rains swelled the Vltava’s tributaries and caused officials to make the fateful error of opening levees upriver to release the pressure. The result was a wall of water that cascaded into the city on 13 August 2002, inundating Malá Strana as well as Smíchov, Karlín, Holešovice and the Prague Zoo at Troja. The surface of the Old Town was spared destruction by last-minute metal barriers that were erected along the banks, though the groundwater rose to nearly street level, flooding out the old Gothic cellars. Some 19 people were killed and many of the zoo’s animals were drowned or intentionally destroyed to put them out of their misery. The damage was estimated at €2.4 billion. The flood had a silver lining for formerly industrial districts like Smíchov, Karlín and Holešovice, though – hundreds of millions of crowns in flood relief and development money have been channelled into the districts, transforming them from borderline slums into highly desirable residential neighbourhoods. The city centre is surrounded on three sides by high hills: Petřín and Hradčany to the west, Letná to the north and the Žižkov bluff to the east. This creates some lovely vistas, but in prac- tical terms restricts the number of roads and access ways that can be built and forces traffic onto a few very heavily congested trunk roads. It’s also hampered efforts to promote cycling. While much of the Old Town is flat, the hills present considerable obstacles for potential bicycle commuters coming in from the western, northern and eastern sides. GREEN PRAGUE When it comes to large-scale recycling, sustainable energy and organic farming, the Czech Republic still lags far behind Germany, the UK and Scandinavia. All the same, Czech industry has cleaned up its act considerably since the fall of communism, with the annual production of greenhouse gases falling to a fraction of pre-1989 levels. Czechs have been recycling waste for a long time; you’ll find large bins for glass, plastics and papers all over Prague. Most glass bottles are recyclable, and the prices of many bottled drinks – beer, too – include a deposit refundable at supermarkets. 43 BACKGROUND ENVIRONMENT & PLANNING Property developers are finally seeing the economic and marketing potential in making sustainable buildings, and several new projects now tout their ‘greenness’. Two developments on opposite sides of the city – the Park, next to the Chodov metro station in the south, and the River City-Amazon Court development in Karlín – are being touted as pioneers in ‘green’ architecture. One intractable problem that bedevils green planners is what to do about the paneláky – the high-rise public-housing projects that ring the city and are home to a majority of Prague’s population. The projects are notoriously environmentally unfriendly, allowing residents to bake in the summer while leaking valuable heat in the winter. Many of them are now being fixed up with the help of public funding and mortgage financing. URBAN PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT Since the 1989 Velvet Revolution, city authorities have tried to strike a balance between pro- moting economic growth while preserving green areas that surround the city and contribute greatly to the quality of life. The jury is still out as to whether they’ve succeeded, but the consensus is they’ve not done enough. Critics point to the recent explosion in hypermarket shopping complexes that ring the outskirts in all directions. The pattern has been the same nearly everywhere, with developers buying up large tracts of land – usually near metro terminuses – and then constructing mixed- use commercial and residential zones, drawing shoppers and commuters to areas that just a few years ago were farmers’ fields. The full impact is not yet clear, but there’s concern that the new developments are siphoning off money and vitality from the centre. To be sure, city authorities inherited a highly dysfunctional planning system from the previous communist government. The roadways and retail spaces were woefully inadequate. One need only look at the city’s main highway, the magistrála, that ploughs through the heart of the city and severs the National Museum (p110) from the rest of Wenceslas Square, to see how poor the planning was during those times. Along with this boom in private development, the city has embarked on the largest public- works build-up in its history, the centrepiece of which will be an enormous ring-road system of roads, bridges and tunnels that will allow traffic to bypass the city centre. Crews in late 2007 broke ground on the Blanka Tunnel (Prague’s ‘Big Ditch’), which will eventually run from the district of Břevnov in Prague 6 all the way to near the Prague Zoo in Troja, including stretches below Letná and Stromovka parks. At a cost of €800 million, it’s one of the most expensive construction projects in the EU. The tunnel is scheduled to be finished in 2010. In addition, authorities have announced plans to build a rail link between the centre and Prague Airport and have committed themselves to a massive expansion of the metro system until the year 2100, including starting construction of a new D line in 2010. The year 2008 saw the opening of three new metro stations along the northern portion of the C line, which now runs all the way to – what else? – a major shopping centre at Letňany. Plans by Czech Rail, the public railway authority, to upgrade stations and improve services have languished, though. Major renovations set for both the main station, Hlavní nádraží, and the chief station servicing key destinations like Budapest, Vienna and Berlin, Nádraží Holešovice, are proceeding slowly, and both are likely to remain eyesores for years to come. In an apparent literary in-joke, the wags at Czech Rail in 2007 formally renamed Nádraží Holešovice as ‘Nádraží Franze Kafky’ (Franz Kafka Station), unfortunately linking Kafka’s name to one of the most decrepit train stations in the country. (Thanks, guys!) Meanwhile, work is continuing on long-overdue repairs to Charles Bridge. Sections of the bridge are likely to remain closed to visitors, though the span itself remains open across its length. GOVERNMENT & POLITICS As capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is the seat of the government, parliament and the presidency. The city itself is governed separately. The mayor is Pavel Bém (b 1963), a trained medical doctor and one of the most popular politicians in the country. Bém has worked hard (Continued on page 53 44 BACKGROUND GOVERNMENT & POLITICS (Continued from page 44) to clean up the city’s image, including once famously posing as an Italian tourist in a taxi to see whether he would get ripped off. He did. The national government is plagued by near constant instability, resulting from the fact that nei- ther of the large centrist parties, the centre-right Civic Democratic Party (ODS) or the centre-left Social Democrats (ČSSD), will form a government with the main Communist party, the KSČM. In practice, that means fragile coalitions have to be stitched together with the two remaining smaller parties, the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and the Greens (SZ). The current coalition – always rumoured on the verge of toppling – links the ODS, KDU-ČSL and the Greens. President Václav Klaus won re-election to a second five-year term in February 2008. Klaus, a noted sceptic of the EU and vocal critic of efforts to slow global warming, remains a highly polarising figure. His high-profile critiques of environmental efforts to cap greenhouse gases have made him the darling of the conservative think-tank crowd but have embarrassed many Czechs who see climate change as a serious issue. MEDIA Czechs are newspaper junkies, and you’ll see people with their noses buried in the latest rag in bars, on trams, on park benches, and even walking on the street. Sadly, the overall standard of newspaper journalism today is low compared with the interwar years, any lingering tradition of quality investigative reporting having been thoroughly stamped out during the communist era. There are five major national dailies; most are now in the hands of German and Swiss media magnates. The biggest seller is the tabloid Blesk, controlled by the Swiss Ringier group. Also popular are the centre-right Mladá fronta DNES and the former communist paper, the left-leaning Právo. In addition to the dailies, free papers handed out each morning at tram and metro stations, such as the ever-popular Metro or the more recent 24hodin (24 Hours), have made huge inroads in readership. These are generally of execrable quality, though, and have helped encourage newspaper standards ever further downward. As far as English-language media go, the venerable Prague Post (now in its 17th year) con- tinues to publish in spite of rumours that it’s on its last legs. The quality of the writing ebbs TOP MEDIA WEBSITES Leading Czech dailies: �� Blesk(,inCzechonly) �� Lidovénoviny(,inCzechonly) �� MladáfrontaDNES(,inCzechonly) �� Právo(,inCzechonly) English-language media: �� aktuálně.cz(–Overviewofpoliticsandeconomicspublishedinconjunc- tion with the Czech online newspaper. �� CzechBusinessWeekly( �� CzechHappenings(–English-languagenewsmagazineoperatedbytheCzechNews Agency, CTK. �� TheNewPresence( �� PraguePost( �� PragueDailyMonitor( �� RadioPrague(–Usefultranslationsofnewsandculturalfeaturesbroadcastbytheinternational service of Czech radio. �� Provokátor(–Online‘zine,strongontheclubscene,musicandlifestyle.Excellentonline timetable for club bookings. �� ThinkAgain(–Latestincarnationofwhatmustbethelongest-runningalternativemagazine in post–Velvet Revolution Prague. Fun and often witty articles on alternative culture, fashion and happenings. 53 BACKGROUND MEDIA CZECH TONGUE TWISTERS Forget Sally’s seashells or Peter Piper’s pickled peppers. With a language in which vowels appear to be optional, Czechs have a tradition of world-beating tongue twisters. Practise these a few times if you want to impress your Czech hosts: �� Strčprstskrzkrk(literally,‘Putyourfingerthroughyourthroat’) �� Třistatřicettřistříbrnýchstříkačekstříkalopřestřistatřicettřistříbrnýchstřech(Three-hundred-thirty-threesilver sprinklers were spraying over 333 silver roofs) �� Šelpštrosspštrosáčatypštrosíulicí(TheostrichwentwithitsbabyostrichesthroughOstrichStreet) If you’re really good, try this one (courtesy of Wikipedia – though we’ve never heard anyone attempt it): �� Prdkrtskrzdrn,zprvzhlthrstzrn(Amolefartedthroughthegrass,havingswallowedahandfulofgrain) and flows depending on the staff, but the tabloid insert Night and Day remains an excellent weekly guide to restaurants, movies, happenings, concerts and galleries. Competing with the Prague Post in the internet space is the Prague Daily Monitor, a lively mix of original stories, supplemented by translations from Czech papers, wire-service pickups, and links to other news sources, including local blogs. The New Presence is a quarterly English translation of the Czech Nová přítomnost, with features on current affairs, politics and business; on the serious business side, the Czech Business Weekly is a comprehensive look at economic issues, real estate, stock trading and other pursuits that make the country tick. The situation is bleaker when it comes to ’zines. Over the years, Prague has supported dozens of English-language start-ups, alternative weeklies and general rant rags, but their number has dwindled in recent years. This probably reflects the shift in the expat community from slackers to older professionals and the influence of the internet, which makes printing on dead trees seem increasingly old-fashioned. One that’s still holding on is the cheeky bimonthly Think Again, available around town in bars and coffee shops. LANGUAGE The Czech language is strongly bound up with the country’s cultural and ethnic identity. Czech was squelched for centuries in favour of German during the Habsburg occupation and re- emerged as a literary language only in the 19th century. By the end of that century the number of Czech speakers in the city exceeded German speakers, and by 1939, when the Nazis rolled in, German speakers were a distinct minority (though Prague was still technically bilingual). During the war the Nazis attempted to reinstall German as the leading language, and after WWII, the Russians took their turn at cultural hegemony, making classes in learning Russian compulsory in schools. Against this backdrop of struggle for linguistic supremacy, it’s not surprising that Czechs sometimes appear unwilling to simply chuck it all and just speak English. That said, you’re unlikely to have any major problem in central Prague, where residents are accustomed to fielding basic queries in English. The situation changes outside the centre or in the rest of the country. In general, younger people can muster a bit of English. Older people usually know some German. Czechs take a perverse pride in the difficulty of their tongue. Even compared with other Slavic languages like Polish and Russian, Czech is usually considered a notch harder. To give you an idea, nouns have four genders (masculine inanimate, masculine animate, feminine and neuter) and each is declined differently depending on its position in a sentence. If you assume around a dozen different noun types and at least half a dozen possible endings for each, you’ve got over 70 possible spellings – and that’s just nouns. It’s no wonder that even the most well- meaning visitor eventually shrugs his or her shoulders and falls back on the standard Mluvíte anglicky? (Do you speak English?) For more information, see the Language chapter, p257. 54 Publications 55 BACKGROUND STARTED COSTS & MONEY  Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia june – september 1942 The RAD commander’s cap. The plan for levelling Lidice to the ground. The destruction of Lidice took place under the flying banner of the RAD. On their daggers, model 34, its members had the proud motto “Work ennobles”. THE RAD The Reich’s Work Force (Reichsarbeitsdienst, henceforth RAD) began its activities in 1935 on the basis of the law on forced labour. According to the law, all young men between the ages of 18 and 25 were to go through a half-year of work training within the RAD. But in view of the financial problems associated with launching the entire project until 1939, service in the RAD was founded on a voluntary basis. At the helm of RAD stood Konstantin Hierl, who had the rank of a Reich Workforce Commander. The RAD was divided into work regions, each of which was made up of individual work formations, which were further subdivided into work units consisting of roughly 150 men. Service in the RAD was viewed as “honorary service to the German nation.” and the Prime Minister of the Czechoslovak Government in exile, Msgr. Jan Šrámek, Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk signed the proclamation of the French National Assembly that it considered the Munich Agreement null and Fritz Lang, Bertold Brecht, John Wexley ASSASSINATION Czechoslovakia 1964, 104 min Director: Jiří Sequens Script: Miloslav Fábera, Kamil Pixa, Jiří Sequens OPERATION DAYBREAK USA 1975, 119 min Director: Lewis Gilbert Script: Ronald Harwood SS-3: THE ASSASSINATION OF REINHARD HEYDRICH GB 1991, 52 min Director: Jan and Krystyna Kaplan Script: Callum MacDonald, Jan Kaplan 95 Michal BURIAN, M.A.; Maj. Aleš KNÍŽEK, M.A. Jiří RAJLICH, M.A.; Maj. Eduard STEHLÍK, Ph.D. ASSASSINATION Operation ANTHROPOID 1941–1942 The authors wish to thank the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, Jaroslav TVRDÍK, for his kind initiative in helping with the preparation of this publication, and for the valuable suggestions and comments during the compilation of relevant materials. MARINOV, Ing., Hana PUSTELNÍKOVÁ, M.A., Maj. Vladimír ŠLOSAR, Dr. Marie TĚLUPILOVÁ, Ing., Hana TICHÁ, Ph.D., Alois VESELÝ, Jitka ZINKOVÁ, M.A.