Operation Anthropoid – The Hidden Plaques 2018
For most people the story of Operation Anthropoid stops when the 7 soldiers are killed. Tourists will visit the Church of St Cyril and ST Methodius in Resslova street to see the church, to visit the crypt and to look at the window to the crypt from outside. What you won’t realise is that there is another commemoration nearby and I wonder what your reaction will be when I tell you what it’s for.
To take full advantage of what I am about to describe you need to download the Google Translate App and a QR Scanner App onto your phone.
Throughout 2018 there were a series of commemorations in Prague connected with Operation Anthropoid. As you leave the church/crypt, walk across the road via the pedestrian crossing and it brings you to the junction of Resslova and Vaclavska. Cross Vaclavska and look at the corner of the building. The first thing you’ll see is a QR code on the wall (pictured – and feel free to scan it).
This is why I said to download the QR Scanner. If you are interested in the whole Operation Anthropoid story then this will be a bonus for you. It’s going to take you to a Czech website but if you have downloaded Google Translate then you’ll have the option to translate to English. Do it because it’s worth it. This page now explains the story of Operation Anthropoid but then it expands to explain that there are many plaques scattered over the Prague 2 area which mark the addresses where the Czech resistance sheltered allied military and in many cases paid with their lives. It gives addresses, names, dates, photos and videos. Fantastic resource for anybody interested in how the Czechs helped the allies during occupation.
But that’s not the main story of this post. If you are looking at the QR code on the wall then underneath you’ll see the plaques like the one pictured earlier, spaced out around the corner, one for each of the 7 soldiers killed. They list their name, rank, birth, death and military operation. There’s also an eighth plaque for an 18 year old Czech resistance fighter who had committed suicide the previous day during a Gestapo raid on his nearby house but at that point he was thought to be involved.
There is a timing issue to be dealt with though. Not all the soldiers died at the scene, in fact at least 3 of them were taken to a local hospital but were either DOA or died shortly afterwards. The bodies were then taken back most probably for identification. So now we have the 8 bodies laying on the street opposite the church. The pictures show some of them are laying on carpets which actually belonged to the church and were used to carry at least 4 of the soldiers’ bodies across the road.
The Anthropoid story ends with the betrayal by a guy called Karel Čurda and the death of the soldiers either in the church or the crypt. But Karel Čurda had a final task, you see he was the only person who could identify who was who (in the above picture he is third from the right – no hat). Photographs were taken, records kept. So now it must be dawning on you why the plaques are in the ground in this place. They mark the places where each of the individual bodies were laid.