Social Democrat Underground in Danger
In the summer of 1940, the Gestapo seized
the records of the Czech Social Democrat underground, Peticni Vybor:
Verni Zustaneme ("Forever Faithful"; PVVZ), in the
Protectorate of BOHEMIA AND MORAVIA. Based on the information they
found, the Gestapo arrested 1,772 underground members. As a result the
PVVZ was put out of action, and essentially only the Communist
Killing of Heydrich
This situation alarmed the Czechoslovak government - in - exile, in
London, and they decided an attempt had to be made on the life of the
Reichsprotektor (governor) Reinhard HEYDRICH.
On October 4, 1941, several two - man teams of parachutists were dropped
into the Protectorate. One, which consisted of Jan Kubis and Jozef
Gabcik, attacked Heydrich on May 27, 1942 at 10: 30 am, with the help of
the small "Sokol" underground organization. Hand grenades were
lobbed at his car and Heydrich was seriously wounded, dying of his
wounds on July 4.
The Germans immediately declared a state of emergency. Within two
hours of the attack, Hitler ordered the execution of ten thousand
Czechs; later, when Heydrich died, he increased the number threefold.
Within twenty - four hours of the assault, the Germans raided five
thousand towns and villages. By September 1, 1942, 3,180 persons had
been arrested and 1,344 sentenced to death. The assassins and other
parachutists who had taken refuge in the Saints Cyril and Methodius
Church in Prague, were killed when their hiding place was divulged, but
not before putting up desperate armed resistance.
Razing of Lidice
Early in the morning of June 10, 1942, all the inhabitants of the
village of Lidice were taken out of their homes, and all the men of the
village - 192 in all - were killed, as were 71 women. The remaining 198
women were imprisoned in RAVENSBRuCK, and of these, 143 returned to the
village after the war. 98 children were "put into educational
institutions, " and of these no more than 16 survived. In the
presence of the Protectorate's secretary of state, Karl Hermann FRANK
and Heydrich's successor, Ernst KALTERNBRUNNER, the village of Lidice was razed to the ground. On
orders from Heinrich HIMMLER, 252 relatives of people from Lidice were
taken to MAUTHAUSEN, where they were killed on October 24, 1942; the
victims included 130 women and many youths. In another village, Lezakey,
near Pardubice, a radio transmitter was discovered, and the entire
village, accept for two children sent to Germany to be "reeducated,
" were killed. Lidice was rebuilt after the war and became a symbol
of both the Nazi terror and the heroism of the Czech resistance.
"Encyclopedia of the Holocaust"
©1990 Macmillan Publishing Company
New York, NY 10022