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Photo: Veronika MacLeod
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Commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of Operation Anthropoid in Edinburgh

On Saturday, 14th May 2022 Veronika Macleod, the Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in Edinburgh, and Gerry Manolas, Chair of the MAFCSV came together to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Operation Anthropoid and its direct connection to Scotland.

During their preparations, Veronika Macleod discovered the history of the Scottish-Czechoslovak House in Edinburgh during the WWII. Its aim was to be a home-away-from-home for the Czechoslovak soldiers, and offered a safe place where they could relax and recoup. This included commandos on leave from Arisaig, such as Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš. The house accommodated 34 soldiers and hosted regular talks, and lectures given by Czechoslovaks and Scots alike along with musical recitals, and opportunities to read and to play sports. This forward-thinking idea was the brainchild of the parents of Alenka Soukup, whose Scottish-Czech parents Catriona and Lumír Soukup founded the house in 1940 and was officially opened by President Beneš in 1941. The creation of this house inspired other Allied nations to do the same and it is believed that this influenced the start of the Edinburgh International Festival!

Veronika, Alenka and Gerry were warmly welcomed by the current owners of the former Scottish-Czechoslovak House, who were thrilled to learn about the amazing history of their home. It was especially interesting to have a tour and imagine the commandos being there.

In the afternoon a small event was held at the Czech Consulate in Edinburgh to which guests with a direct connection to Arisaig and the commando training were invited. This included George Scott; George’s father Jiri Schnabl- Scott undertook the commando training on the same course as Gerry’s grandfather Bohuslav Šulc, and Chris and Georgina Pavel who help organise the memorials at the Czechoslovak Memorial Fountain Leamington Spa. Chris’s father Jiří was also a commando and undertook course in Arisaig. Alison and Gordon Stewart represented the community at Arisaig. For many years they have told the story of SOE at the Land, Sea and Islands Centre and have collaborated with the former Honorary Czech Consul Dr Millar to erect the Czechoslovak Parachute Memorial on the shore at Arisaig. He was also present. The CWGC were represented by Scott Cumming CWGC Regional Operations Coordinator (Scotland) United Kingdom and Northern Area and Patricia Keppie Scottish Public Engagement Officer. Scott has a long history of taking care of our Czechoslovak veterans’ headstones, not just here in the UK but across Europe and including, Prague.

The highlight of the afternoon had to be the whisky tasting experience given by Lenka Nádvorníková Whyles. It seems from Veronika’s research a wee dram was an important part of commando training! Special thanks to Den Mather and his wonderful hospitality at the Consulate building.

The day was a huge success and going forward those who attended agreed to build on the tradition of friendship between both countries that was started by the veterans.


Anthropoid Edinburgh