The magnificent seven that did not give up
The magnificent seven that did not give up Thursday June 18th 1942: since four a.m. military and police cars are driving into Resslova street leading to the orthodox church of St. Cyril and Methodius. Seventeen commissioned officers and seven hundred and forty non-commissioned officers and members of the Waffen SS and forty members of the Prague Gestapo are closing the street and encircling the church where, according to the testimonies of tortured resistance fighters, the assassinators are hiding. The commander Karl von Treuenfeld sends the first strike commando comprising of around twenty men into the church. They are attacked by three parachutists Opálka, Kubiš and Bublík who are shooting at them with pistols from the church gallery. The Germans open a severe machine-gun fire from the opposite windows. The battle takes over two hours. The parachutists are running out of ammunition, Opálka shoots himself in the temple, Bublík and Kubiš are seriously hurt and die during their transfer to the hospital. The Germans regard the operation as unsuccessful, they were supposed to get them alive. They find a fourth coat in the church. They realize that one more parachutist may be hiding there. Close to the west entrance to the church they find a stone board. They lift it. A wooden ladder is leading down into a dark cellar. A wild gunfight follows, four parachutists Gabčík, Valčík, Švarc a Hrubý answer to appeals to surrender: “Never!” From a small street window the Germans are throwing smoke bombs with tear gas and grenades into the crypt, which the parachutist, are throwing back into the street. The traitor Karel Čurda is calling at the parachutists through the small window into the crypt to give up, that they don’t have a chance to get away and that nothing will happen to them. The soldiers in the cellar answer his persuasions with gunfire. Czech firemen who are trying to insert a hosepipe into the crypt are forced away by gunfire. With the ladder the parachutists are pushing the hosepipes out of the small window. The policemen catch the ladder by its opposite end, pull it outside and insert the hosepipe inside. Water is filling the crypt very slowly. In the meantime the parachutists inside the crypt are digging a tunnel in the wall with an iron pole. They believe they will dig themselves into the sewage system. The Germans blow up the stone board by the altar with an explosive and discover an old crypt entrance. The parachutists have no more ammunition. After more than four hours of fighting they shoot their heads with their last bullet. According to a ČTK (Czech press office) report from June 26th 1942 the announced reward amounting to twenty million crowns was divided among sixty two persons who helped capture the assassinators. Parachutists Čurda and Gerik each received five million, the rest was divided among seven Germans and fifty three citizens of the Protectorate. Among these were random witnesses, for example tram drivers.
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