File No.: 
Title:
Locations of Operation "Anthropoid"
Investigation made at:
V Holešovičkách (Praha 8), Pomezní 22 (Praha 8), Václavské náměstí 6 (Praha 1), Resslova 9a (Praha 2), City of Prague, Czech Republic
50°07'04.3"N 14°27'54.5"E (Attack scene),
50°07'06.9"N 14°27'31.4"E (Butcher Brauner),
50°05'01.0"N 14°25'23.8"E (Bata shop) and
50°04'34.2"N 14°25'03.5"E (Church)
Period Covered:
27MAY1942
Date:
OCT, NOV 2017
Case Classification: Location of Historic Events
Status of Case: Case Closed

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Still from a film produced by the "Sicherheitsdienst "(Nazi criminal investigation) to be screened mandatorily before each feature movie in every theater in Bohemia and Moravia.
It described the May 27th, 1942 attack on Heydrich
and requested witnesses to report details.
This still shows the serial number of
Gabčík's Sten gun.

REASON FOR INVESTIGATION
On 27MAY1942 the Czechoslovakian-British Operation "Anthropoid" came into effect when its target; the Nazi “Reichsprotektor” or appointed commissioner of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich, was assassinated in Prague. This agency visited four (4) key locations of the operation.

SYNOPSIS:
During World War II, the assassination of top Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Third Reich’s Main Security Office, "Protector of Bohemia and Moravia" and chief planner of the genocide of the Jews was code-named Operation "Anthropoid".
Since 1939 Heydrich was involved in most of Hitler's intrigues and a valued political ally, advisor and friend of the Führer. In SEP1941 he was appointed Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. During his role as dictator, Heydrich often drove alone in a Mercedes 320 with an open top; a show of confidence in the German occupation forces and the effectiveness of their repressive measures against the Czech population. Due to his cruelty, Heydrich was nicknamed The Butcher of Prague, The Blond Beast or The Hangman.
By late 1941, the Czechoslovakian government in exile was under pressure from British intelligence, because there had been very little visible resistance in Czechoslovakia since the German occupation began in 1939. Resistance was brutally destroyed by Reinhard Heydrich. Czechoslovakia was producing important military material for the Nazis. The exiled government felt it had to do something that would inspire the Czech people and show the world the Czechs were Allies. As Adolf Hitler's successor, Reinhard Heydrich was one of the most important men in Nazi Germany. His death would be a huge loss and a strong psychological and strategic victory. The Special Operations Executive (SOE) trained the personnel and planned the operation.
 
The operation
Soldiers from the Czechoslovakian army-in-exile in England, Jozef Gabčík, Jan Kubiš and five others were parachuted by the Royal Air Force into Czechoslovakia on the night of 28DEC1941. In Prague they contacted several families and anti-Nazi organizations who helped them during the preparations for the assassination.
 

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Report on the start and the purpose of Operation "Anthropoid"

The assassination
On 27MAY1942 Heydrich commuted on his daily drive from his home in Panenské Břežany to Prague Castle.
In a hurry, he decided not to wait for his usual armed escort. Gabčík and Kubiš waited at the bus stop in the curve near Bulovka hospital on V Holešovičkách. Their comrade Valčik was positioned about 100 meters north of Gabčík and Kubiš as a lookout for the approaching car. As Heydrich's open-topped Mercedes neared the pair heading southbound down Kirchmayerova třída towards V Holešovičkách, Gabčík stepped in front of the vehicle, tried to open fire, but his Sten gun jammed. Heydrich's driver, SS-Oberscharführer Klein, stopped the car and tried to shoot Gabčík but missed.
Kubiš tossed a modified anti-tank grenade at the vehicle and its fragments ripped through the car's right fender, embedding shrapnel and fibers from the upholstery in Heydrich's body although the grenade failed to enter the car.

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Combat Scene
We found that the hairpin turn which required Heydrich's driver to slow down has greatly changed since 1942. Kirchmayerova třída no longer intersects V Holešovičkách. Although there is still a junction in the same place, it is formed by V Holešovičkách and two access ramps of the surrounding traffic interchange, the three roads together forming a triangular traffic island inside the hairpin turn where Kirchmayerova třída formerly intersected V Holešovičká.

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The intersection of Kirchmayerova třída and V Holešovičkách and Operation "Anthropoid" Monument today

"Battle of the Brauner Butcher Shop"
Heydrich tried to return fire but collapsed. Gabčík threw away his useless Sten gun and ran away in Northern direction and into a street which today is named after him; "Gabčíkova". He was pursued on foot by Heydrich’s driver Klein and both he and Gabčík exchanged pistol shots at each other while they ran. When Klein cornered Gabčík at the butcher shop of Brauner on Pomezní, Klein took a gunshot wound in the leg and Gabčík managed to escape.

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On 4JUN1942 Heydrich succumbed to blood poisoning. Some of the horsehair in the lining of Heydrich's car seats was forced by the blast of the grenade into his body, causing a systemic infection which their medication could not deal with.
 

Reprisals and manhunt
Hitler ordered the SS and Gestapo to do anything to find Heydrich's killers. More than 13,000 people were arrested. The most infamous incidents were the complete destruction of the towns of Lidice and Ležáky.
In the shop window of the large Bata footwear store on No. 6 Václavské náměstí square, items which the operation "Anthropoid" agents had left on the scene of the attack, were put on display.
The window also had a large sign telling an award of 10 million Czech Crowns would be paid to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the killers.

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Capture of the operators
The parachutists initially hid with two Prague families and later took refuge in the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius on No. 9A Resslova.
The Gestapo couldn't find the operators until Karel Čurda (from another SOE group of agents whose objective was sabotage) told the Gestapo the names of the team's local contact persons for the reward of one million Reichsmarks. Most of the contact persons committed suicide, but a boy in one family revealed the name of the church under torture. The agents were found on 18JUNE1942 and after a brief but fierce gun battle in the church, all seven of them were either killed by gun fire or committed suicide to avoid capture.

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Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius and its sub terrain crypt

CONCLUSION:
This agency visited four key locations of Operation "Anthropoid", the ambush on senior Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich by Czechoslovakian partisans on 27 May 1942 which resulted in his death one week later. It lead to a better understanding of operational and emotional details of the operation.

EXHIBITS:

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Items on display in the room before the entrance to the crypt

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