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Prague exhibitions mark anniversary of fatal attack on Heydrich

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Prague, May 26 (CTK) – Two open-air exhibitions opened in Prague on Friday to mark the 75th anniversary of the fatal attack on Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, by Czechoslovak paratroopers trained in Britain.

A panel exhibition outside the General Staff headquarters will present the protagonists and heroic deeds of the Czechoslovak anti-Nazi resistance movement at home and abroad.

The other exhibition, installed in the Klarov park, focuses on the soldiers and civilians assisting in the Anthropoid operation that culminated with the attack on Heydrich by paratroopers Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik in Prague on May 27, 1942.

Heydrich succumbed to the sustained injures in hospital several days later.

The former exhibition has been prepared by the Military History Institute.

“It will highlight the heroism of the Czechoslovak domestic and foreign resistance movements, the preparation and performance of the attack on Heydrich, and it will mention the event’s historical context as well as the subsequent [Nazi massive] reprisals known as Heydrichiade,” Defence Ministry spokesman Petr Medek has said.

The site of the latter exhibition, Klarov, has not been chosen randomly. “A house where Marie Kovarnikova and her sister had their flat is situated across the street. In the flat, they received reports about Heydrich’s daily programme, which they handed over to the paratroopers,” Milos Borovicka, spokesman for the Czechoslovak Legionaries’ Community which staged the exhibition, said.

The authors want to remember not only the heroism of soldiers but mainly the unselfish help provided by numerous Czech residents, many of whom were eventually hit by Nazi reprisals, tortured and killed, often together with their relatives and friends.

The texts accompanying the exhibition will be in Czech and English in order to also address foreign tourists, who may know about the Anthropoid operation from recently-made films.

“We want to provide reliable information to them and also inform them about other places in Prague and its surroundings that are linked to the paratroopers and their aides,” Borovicka said.

The exhibition will remain at Klarov until June 15, after which it will be transferred to a large square, Karlovo namesti, where an event commemorating the paratroopers, all of whom died in an uneven fight with the Gestapo on June 18, 1942, will be held.

A training camp of Czechoslovak paratroopers in England will be built in the square on June 17-18.

On Saturday, the paratroopers’ ambush of Heydrich’s car will be re-enacted in Prague-Liben and the Military Technical Museum in Lesany near Prague will present the training and deployment of paratroopers.

Many German media write about the assassination of Heydrich and they also mention the subsequent cruel Nazi reprisals, mainly the total destruction of the Czech villages of Lidice and Lezaky.

Slovak President Andrej Kiska promoted Gabcik, who was of Slovak nationality, to the rank of major general in memoriam on Friday.

In the Czech Republic, Gabcik, Kubis, and Adolf Opalka and Josef Valcik, who also were members of the sabotage group, were promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 2002. According to CTK’s information, the Czech Defence Ministry is considering a proposal for the promotion of Kubis to general.

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