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Prague commemorating paratroopers who killed Heydrich

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Prague, June 18 (CTK) – Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and other state and military officials today paid homage to the Czechoslovak paratroopers who killed Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Acting Reich-Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, in 1942.

The commemorative act was held in the Saint Cyril and Methodius Church in Prague where the paratroopers put up the last, heroic fight against the Nazi armed forces in which they died.

The event was also attended by Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats , KDU-CSL), Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek (KDU-CSL), Prague Mayor Adriana Krnacova (ANO) and Chief of Staff Josef Becvar.

While a military band played music, people from the crowd were laying flowers and wreaths to the memorial at the church wall.

There were also members of the Czechoslovak Legionnaires Union in period British uniforms and historic flags.

The paratroopers from the Anthropoid group went into hiding after their successful mission in several places in Prague and eventually in the Saint Cyril and Methodius Church in Prague.

Due to the betrayal of a fellow paratrooper, they were uncovered by the Gestapo.

In retaliation for the successful mission that killed Heydrich, one of the Holocaust architects, the Nazis razed Lidice, a central Bohemian village with some 500 inhabitants, to the ground on June 10, 1942, shooting all 173 male inhabitants present, and sending women to a concentration camp and children, except for a few, to an extermination camp. A total of 340 Lidice inhabitants died.

The killing of Heydrich is considered one of the most successful acts of the Czechoslovak World War Two resistance.

A period tent camp of Czechoslovak RAF pilots in Britain was established in the Karlovo namesti (Charles Square) near which the church is situated.

There are shows of training of Czechoslovak troops in Britain during the war. Veteran cars, weapons, motorcycles and guns are also displayed there.

Training of paratroopers is also shown, including an attack on a driving car. The Czechoslovak paratroopers killed Heydrich while his car was forced to decelerate in a curve in Prague.

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