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The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich
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The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich: The SS Butcher of Prague by Callum A. MacDonald
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Turner, Des The History Press. Williams, Max Church Stretton: Ulric Publishing. SS leaders in occupied Poland would later bestow on their fallen comrade the dubious honor of naming the mission that eventually killed 1. Following this human depletion, the village was razed.
In addition to the massacre at Lidice and another, randomly selected Czech village, the Nazis killed nearly 1, Czechs as a direct result of the Heydrich assassination. Contrary to what the Czech government-in-exile had hoped for, Operation Anthropoid did not result in any sort of mass uprising.
On the contrary, the population is only further cowed. After turning the screws on Prague and carrying out some agonizingly depicted acts of torture on a few Czechs whom they suspected of aiding Anthropoid, the SS eventually tracks down the assassins and five of their underground comrades to the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, where a kindly priest had agreed to hide them in the crypt. Heavily outnumbered, these seven men—equipped only with a few handguns and grenades—hold their ground against some SS soldiers, who eventually resort to flooding the basement.
That is why we empathize with the leaders of the Prague underground who counseled against Anthropoid. Soon after taking command in Prague, Heydrich raised the wages and benefits of Czech workers many of whom labored in some of the most important armaments factories in Europe to equal those of their German counterparts, a policy that within 6 months resulted in a 73 percent decrease in acts of sabotage on assembly lines. Prior to his assassination, Heydrich had ordered the execution of thousands of Czech intellectuals and political opponents.
What is to say that, absent his premature death, he would not have ordered the execution of thousands more on a similar whim? Besides, such questions miss the forest for the trees. Soon afterward Heydrich and Adolf Eichmann began organizing the first deportations of Jews from Germany and Austria to ghettos in occupied Poland.
Heydrich was instrumental in the Nisko and Lublin plans to confine Jews to limited districts set up to contain them and in the proposed deportation of all European Jews to the island of Madagascar, a plan that was never implemented. Some historians believe that the impracticality of this plan encouraged the Nazi course of mass murder. He combined repressive measures and mass executions with an attempt to mollify Czech peasants and workers by improving social and economic conditions. He died June 4 in a Prague hospital.
Gestapo officials retaliated for his death by executing hundreds of Czechs and wiping out the entire village of Lidice. You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.
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