A stirring memorial to Nazi resistance

Saturday, January 10, 2015

There's a grandiose Baroque church right down the road from us, and while it looks quite normal from the outside...

The stately Ss. Cyril and Methodius
...when you look a bit closer, you'll notice a section of wall riddled with bullet holes.

We'd passed by Ss. Cyril and Methodius numerous times (and I briefly mentioned it in posts HERE and HERE), but we saved a trip inside for when we had guests. With BW's brother here, we finally visited.

Below the church is the National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror, and it explains the bullet holes - as well as the vile Nazi persecution of the Czechs and Slovaks.

In May of 1942, seven exiled Czechoslovak paratroopers as part of Operation Anthropoid attempted to assassinate Reichprotektor Reinhard Heydrich, aka the Prague Butcher, the head Nazi in Bohemia and Moravia. After training and preparing in the UK, the paratroopers sneaked into Czechoslovakia via parachute, hid out in allies' homes for months, and then bombarded Heydrich's car with grenades as he was being driven to his office. He died 8 days later - from sepsis from his wounds being infected by the horsehair in his car seat.

A paratrooper's clothing and weapons
Hitler was so enraged by the assassination that he went on a murder spree, ordering the small mining town of Lidice, where one of the assassins was rumored to have hidden, to be completely exterminated and razed. The men and boys were shot and the women and girls were sent to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp.

The Nazis threatened to slaughter more people if the assassins didn't give themselves up, but the many Czechs who had aided the paratroopers remained silent. The tactic that finally worked was promising a reward of a million marks as a reward for information - and one of the paratroopers stepped forward and gave everyone in the anti-Nazi movement up. Thousands of people were jailed, tortured and sent to concentration camps.

Sewing by a female inmate
Through torture, it was revealed that the paratroopers had been hiding out in the crypt of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Church in Prague for three weeks. It's possible to enter the crypt through the memorial museum.

Over three hours, the Gestapo tried to shoot, smoke and flood the resistance fighters out of the crypt. The paratroopers shot back and attempted to dig a hole to a nearby sewer to escape, no no avail. Two died by gunshot wound and four committed suicide. The cathedral's bishop and other church leaders were sent to the firing squad for hiding the men.

The memorial is a moving tribute to these brave soldiers and their allies, and we learned a lot about the Nazi occupation - and the many people who resisted it. 

If you go to Ss. Cyril and Methodius Church and the National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror:

Resslova 9a, Prague 2
Opening hours:
March - October
Tuesday - Sunday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
November - February
Tuesday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Linking up with The Sunday Traveler


  1. Wow, what a beautiful place with such a terrible history. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a unique place with such deep history. I had no idea it was even there. Really interesting post Em. :o)


  3. So moving! So much history, I can only imagine what it's like to see everything in person!

  4. Whoa! It's incredible the amount of history there is in Europe. Everywhere you go there are little stories like these that are amazing. Thanks for sharing about this little piece of history.

  5. We love visiting European churches but I think this is by far with the most interesting history. What a terrible tragedy. I'm sure the tribute was even more moving to see in person.

  6. Thanks for writing, Mary! I really enjoy exploring old churches, too.

  7. Your post is fascinating, Ricky; thanks for sharing the link! And please do continue to share more! How poignant to have that link between your homeland and current home. Excellent post to you, as well!

  8. Cheers, V! Thanks for reading!

  9. Cheers, Polly! Glad to have you on the blog!

  10. So true! I've been to the Museum of Horror as well; so unfathomable. Thanks for reading, Kemkem!

  11. Thanks, Christine! You should come to Prague and see it in person :)

  12. Cheers, Adelina :) And it's such a nondescript place!


Thanks for taking the time to comment!

where to find me

Popular Posts

Czechesotans © . QUINN CREATIVES .