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80 Years of Operation Anthropoid - Commemoration of the Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich at the Embassy

On Friday, May 27, we commemorated the 80th anniversary of the successful assassination of reichsprotektor Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich. The assassination was carried out on May 27, 1942 in Prague-Libeň by Czechoslovak paratroopers Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, who were specially trained for this task in Great Britain.

On this occasion, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London prepared a screening of the British director Sean Ellis's film "Anthropoid" from 2016. The film was introduced by a thematic lecture by writer George Bearfield, author of Foursquare: the Last Parachutist, which you can watch in full below.

For this year, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London has prepared a series of information and commemorative events for this year entitled "80 Years of Operation Anthropoid", this event was part of this series.

The attack took place at the mouth of the then Kirchmayerova Street, which is today's connection between Zenklova Street and V Holešovičkách Street with a sharp turn to the right down, which continues along V Holešovičkách Street to the Troja district of Prague. Given that, Heydrich's driver Klein had to slow down here, which made it easier for them to shoot at the car.

Sometime between 10.32 and 10.35, the car turned from the Kirchmayerova Street to the right into V Holešovičkách Street. Gabčík dropped his coat and tried to shoot at the car, but his Sten Mk II machine gun failed. Heydrich ordered the car to stop, stood up, and drew his weapon. At that moment, Jan Kubiš threw a specially modified, originally anti-tank grenade at the car. Heydrich was hit by a shrapnel. A shootout ensued, during which the Czechoslovak paratroopers managed to escape from the scene.

Heydrich suffered a broken rib, a ruptured diaphragm, and a damaged spleen after the assassination. The shard from the seat brought dirt into the body, with the subsequent development of sepsis. A few days later, on June 3, he fell into a coma and on June 4, at 4.30, he died probably of a general sepsis in the hospital in Bulovka.

This act had far-reaching consequences for the Czechoslovak nation, as the Nazi even terror intensified. It is estimated that in response to the assassination, during the so-called (second) “Heydrichiad”, the Nazis killed 2,000 people. Among other things, they burned down the villages of Lidice (June 10, 1942) and Ležáky (June 24, 1942). At the same time, the successful assassination aroused a positive response in the world and on its basis, the British repealed the Munich Agreement.