oldiers from the Czechoslovak Army have been sent into Great Britain before the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1941 in order to continue fighting against the German Army. On the 27th of May, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich had been assassinated by a bomb that had been thrown in his car by a Czech soldier part of the paratrooper group Anthropoid. This was a major success against the German Army as Heydrich was a valuable asset to the Third Reich.
Reinhard Heydrich (1904–1942)
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich was the third-highest-ranked German SS officer and police official during the Nazi era. The reason why he is seen as the most notorious SS officer is that he is the architect of the Holocaust. Heydrich arrived in the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia on the behalf of Adolf Hitler in the autumn of 1941 with the scope of breaking the resistance of the Czech people against Fascism. His plan was to try to Germanize the population of the country and kill those that are resisting, he named this ideology “the final solution”.
In the four months left of 1941, Heydrich left a bloody footprint in Czhechian history as he executed hundreds of civilians and sent thousands of them into concentration camps to be murdered. It was a terrifying moment for the Czech population, however, the resistance had other plans for Heydrich. They knew that the best way to defeat the German Army or at least to end the suffering and murder to the Czech nation was to cut the heads snake. The problem was that this snake was powerful and well protected.
Jan Kubiš (1913–1942)
Jan Kubiš was a young Czechoslovak soldier trained by the British Army to become a paratrooper for a special mission that was planning to eliminate Reinhard Heydrich and stop his reign over the Bohemian and Moravian region. He was accompanied by 6 other Czechoslovak soldiers who have been also trained by the British Army. The Allies received information from a secret agent about the location of Heydrich on the 27th of May 1942. This is what these soldiers have trained for, it was the moment to avenge their nation.
On that day the paratroopers dived right behind the enemy lines in Czechia and waited at a specific location where Heydrich was going to pass by. As his car was approaching at moderate speed, Kubis (one of the seven paratroopers on the mission) threw the bomb in the car which exploded, resulting in the death of Reinhard Heydrich and his driver. Their mission was a success however, the problem became their effort to escape enemy lines.
The last stand
Their last fight took place on 18th June 1942 when they fought against 800 German troops. The last stand took place at the Church of St.Cyril where it was just the seven paratroopers again members of the SS and the Gestapo. The fight was divided into two parts. First, it was the defense of the gallery of the church by three paratroopers, which lasted about two hours, and the second German conquest of the crypt was defended by four paratroopers which lasted about 4 hours. The whole fight lasted about 6 hours in which it is said that the Czech soldiers managed to kill over 200 German troops, but in the end, they have been overrun.
The assassination of Heydrich was one of the most significant moments in the history of the resistance in Czechoslovakia and is considered to be the strongest act of defiance throughout occupied Europe. The act had such a big impact in the world, that it resulted in the immediate dissolution of the Munich agreement (in Czechia called much properly the “Munich dictate”) from 1938 as signed by Great Britain and France, but also by Germany’s ally Italy. The Munich Dictate could have annexed a third of Czechoslovakia. As Czech philosopher Václav Černý wrote:
“Heydrich came to kill Czech nation and the Czech nation killed him for that”.