Prague, Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral
Hiding place of parachutes during the WW2 · Resslova 1780/8, 120 00 Prague-Prague 2, Czech Republic
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The magnificent seven that did not give up

Available in: English | Česky

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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The Heydrich affair

The Heydrich affair

On May 27th 1942 at 10.35 a.m. two parachutists Gabčík and Kubiš carried out the attack on the Deputy Reich-Protector Reinhard Heydrich in Prague 8 in the curve of a Libeň road. The soldiers manage to run away from the scene. Superintendent Heinz Pannwitz is named chief of the investigative committee. He has one hundred and twenty specialists from the entire Protectorate and Reich at his disposal. Around two hundred members of the Gestapo, SD, thousands of soldiers of Waffen-SS, the Wehrmacht, German and Czech police forces which are in phalanxes searching forests and colonies of cottages. Five thousand towns and villages are being searched one flat after another from the cellar to the attic. Without result. The Protectorate wireless is broadcasting threats: Those helping the assassinators or those who know something and do not report it will be shot together with their entire family. Only 309 reports are sent in. None of the reports lead anywhere. Not even an offer of a high financial reward works on anyone. The Germans burn down the village of Lidice. Later they chose a different method. They commission the minister of propaganda Emanuel Moravec to declare an amnesty for everyone, including the assassinators, if they own up in the period from the 12th to June 18th. Two thousand reports arrive at the police. The parachutist Karel Čurda enters the Gestapo headquarters in Petschek Palace on June 16th. It is he who leads the Gestapo on the right track, reveals the names and addresses of those harbouring and cooperating with the resistance fighters. Some of them cannot stand the torture and give away the parachutists who are hidden in the Prague church of St. Cyril and Methodius in Resslova Street. This is where a massive police operation takes place on June 18th 1942. Around 750 men attack the seven hidden soldiers. After about 6 hours all the parachutists are dead. Hitler is raging after the assassination of Heydrich, nothing like it had happened before. He craves revenge. At first he wants to execute every tenth Czech citizen as a warning. This Slavic nation is to be definitively exterminated, Germanized and displaced. This does not happen. After the assassination the Nazis are torturing hundreds of resistance fighters in the Petschek Palace, they wipe out the villages Lidice and Ležáky, they carry out endless executions in the Kobylisy Shooting Range, in October 1942 a total of 264 resistance fighters or their family members die in Mauthausen. Almost 15 thousand people are affected somehow: imprisoned, executed or deported to concentration camps.

Prague, Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral

Available in: English | Česky

The orthodox cathedral of Ss. Cyril and Methodius was a hiding place and after that a scene of the last resistance of five Czechoslovak parachutes from England during the Second World War. Between these five there were also the soldiers who organised and assassinated the Reich protector Reinhard Heydrich. The parachutes fought almost 800 members of the security forces of the Protectorate. The fight lasted incredible six hours.

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