WWII

Prague, Czech Republic Visit

I start my journey by entering the Czech Republic from the south, Slovakia to be exact..

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And on to visit the Milose Sykora memorial….He was shot dead by the Nazi’s during an heroic and some would say suicide mission to prevent the Germans from blowing the bridge to kingdom come.

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Miloš Sýkora bridge is steel arched bridge over the Ostravice river. Its total length is 92m and width is 16m. The Bridge was named after Miloš Sýkora. On April 30 1945  when Soviet tanks wanted to cross the bridge the Nazis undermined the bridge to stop the Soviets. At that time 24 years old Miloš Sýkora and his friend Olšák volunteered to cut the wires connected to demolition bombs and they were successful. Unfortunately Miloš Sýkora was shot dead during fallback.

next to the bridge stands a memorial in his honour..

Milose Sykora memorial

From here I decided I would go straight to Prague, I was running out of time.  Prague can only be describe (in my view) as one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited, with its architecture, people combined brings together a most memorable few days.

The city is also infamous for one other event from history… The assassination of one of the Nazi’s top brass…SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich.  Which was the main reason for my visit.

 

He was certainly a brutal and sadistic man, and so the  Czech Resistance  decided it was time for him to go….when I say go I mean be killed!!

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Reinhard Heydrich

Reinhard Heydrich Background

Born: 7th March 1904, Halle, Germany

He was a high-ranking German Naziofficial during World War II, and a main architect of the holocaust. He was an SSObergruppenführer und General der Polizei (Senior Group Leader and General of Police) as well as chief of the Reich Main Security office(including the GestapoKripo, and SD). He was also Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor (Deputy/Acting Reich-Protector) of Bohemia and Moravia. Heydrich served as president of the International Criminal Police Commission(ICPC; later known as Interpol) and chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, which formalised plans for the Final Solution to the Jewish Question.  He was the founding head of the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service; SD), an intelligence organisation charged with seeking out and neutralising resistance to the Nazi Party via arrests, deportations, and murders.

Adolf Hitler described him as the (“Man with an Iron Heart”) others knew him as “The Blonde Beast” whilst one of his best known nicknames was ” The Butcher of Prague”.

He was certainly a brutal and sadistic man, and so the  Czech Resistance  decided it was time for him to go….when I say go I mean be killed!!

Operation Anthropoid – The Assassination of Heydrich

Between 1941 and 1942 several small teams of Czechoslovak parachutists were trained at Cholmondeley Castle and Park in Malpas, Cheshire, UK. These teams were dropped into Czechoslovakia to organise the Czechoslovak Resistance and to orchestrate the assassination with the full backing of their exiled Czechoslovak Government in England.

Several initial ideas having either failed or proved not feasible, four parachutists, 2/Lt.Adolf Opalka (Commanding Officer), Sgt Jozef ValcikSgt Jan Kubis and Sgt Jozef Gabchik, managed on May 27th 1942 to mount an attack on Heydrich’s open staff car, which included a bomb.

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And this was the car afterwards..

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Following in the footsteps of these individuals from the Czech Resistance I visited the very corner… it has changed a lot but I have attempted to show where it happened on this upto date map..

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the co-ordinates are

50.118092 / 14.464536 Heydrich assassination point

During the attack there was an exchange of small arms gun fire, Heydrich was down, but gave the order to his personal protection to chase down the men.  He did and a chase began through the street, exchanging fire from time to time. Heydrich was fatally wounded and would die a few days later.

The resistance man got away and later formed up with his comrades in arms in a small church..the Church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius (Karel Boromejsky) in Resslova Street, Prague.. co-ordinates 50.076935 / 14.416998

It wasn’t too long before the Nazi’s found them and they wasn’t about to let them get out either… several hours pass with many exchanges of fire until finally the Nazi’s had killed them all.

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Arrows show bullet holes that are still clearly visible

As a result of the assassination the Nazi’s Gestapo officials retaliated for his death by executing hundreds of Czechs and wiping out the entire village of Lidice.

There now an exhibition which is located in the underground crypt of the church,

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It is well worth a visit to this place…. here are the opening days and times…

Tuesday 9am–5pm
Wednesday 9am–5pm
Thursday 9am–5pm
Friday 9am–5pm
Saturday 9am–5pm
Sunday 9am–5pm
Monday Closed

So that is my visit to this great country and some of its WWII historical sites..

See the picture gallery for all pictures….

 

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