When it comes to the attempt of Reinhard Heydrich’s life, almost every one of us can name several things connected with this historical event. The attempt became in 1942 during the Second World War and was carried out by two Czechoslovakian paratroopers whose names were Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš. Some year ago we had even a chance to see a film called Anthropoid, credibly showing the whole then situation.
Last Tuesday a special opportunity came to our way – namely we could visit the main places which played an important role at the time of the attempt. Our trip combined pleasure with useful information since we both gained new knowledge of this event and could feel an atmosphere of our capital city again after some time. At first a thematic document was screened and then the guide led us to the original crypt, where the paratroopers hid after a successful assassination of the representing protector Heydrich and where they also died in the end. Nowadays this place has been a monument. It was a strange moment for us full of respect and honour when we looked at the same narrow window bringing at least a little bit of day light to the dark space. And seventy-six years ago also a rain of bullets, water flow and pungent gas. Or when we looked at the small ventilation opening at the ceiling, which used to be the only entrance to the crypt during the fights and wherefrom it was possible to get to the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius. From this opening Karel Čurda appealed, a traitor of the paratroopers, to them for surrender. To these and other similar calls the paratroopers always responded with their strong persistence: ″We are Czechs! We will never give up, can you hear us? Never!“ But the Nazi attackers never got to the crypt through this ventilation opening. They achieved that by going down the steep stairs. The walls dotted with bullet holes add a terrible credibility to this place. Almost throughout our visit we had the space illuminated, but the guide didn’t forget to switch the lights off for a few minutes in order to show us under what dark conditions the paratroopers had to stay there. After seeing all the memorial plagues and busts of the paratroopers with their biographies, we moved to the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius where the part of the fight preceding German conquest of the crypt took place. All of those seven paratroopers passed away during the fights, mostly by committing a suicide. At the end we stopped at the huge memorial plaque standing in front of the church devoted to the indirect victims.
Another sight on the agenda was the National Museum. This year the museum is celebrating 200 years from the establishment and the entrance for all of the visitors is free till the end of 2018. After a several-year reconstruction the Historical Building of the National Museum has opened to the public, but considering the long queue of tourists we agreed on not having enough time for enjoying the visit and after a refreshment at the Wenceslas Square we set out to the main railway station and then back to Pilsen.
The trip was of a big benefit for us and we would like to thank Mrs. Eretová and Mervartová for such a new interesting experience.
Eliška Průšová, 4. A