The Anthropoid Mission

Rarely do I enjoy reading make believe horror novels nor slash fiction.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy some cartharsis through reading. But that fiction is rarely as heart chillingly, horrifying than non-fiction accounts about the human monsters who have actually walked upon this earth.

Some of the most creepy writing concerns the conspirators and heavy movers within the Nazi movement in Europe of the 1930s and 1940s.  That such an unthinkable, criminal scheme could be carried out on such a massive scale still mystifies me.

19 years ago, I encountered a book by Ray R. Cowdery called, Reinhard Heydrich: Assassination.  The kingpin of Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution” is revealed in all of his psychopathic beliefs and deeds.  The plot by Britain and the Czech underground to assassinate him is described in heart-stopping detail. Recently, I decided to reread the account.

If you know very much about the Wannsee Conference of January 1942, you understand the depth of the degraded plans to eliminate jews and other “undesirables” from Europe by the Nazis. The tale is compelling and chilling. The story culminates on May 27, 1942.

Reinhard Heydrich was SS-Obergruppenführer and head of the Heydrich-portraitReichssicherheitshauptamt, RSHA (the chief of Reich Main Security Office), the “Protector of Bohemia and Moravia” and the chief planner of the Final Solution. Heydrich was an early key operative in the masterminding of placing Adolf Hitler into power. He was the man in charge of all security departments of the Third Reich. As the leader of the RSHA he commanded the Gestapo, The SD (security), as well as the conventional criminal police.

Reinhard was involved in nearly all of Hitler’s plans for Germany and Europe, so he was a key political advisor and ally.  Not only that, Reinhard was one of Hitler’s few personal friends.

In 1941, Hitler appointed Heydrich as defacto dictator of Bohemia and Moravia in his position as “Protector”. Due to his extreme cruelty, the Obergruppenführer was dubbed “The Butcher of Prague”, “The Blond Beast”, and “The Hangman”.

At this same time, Hitler’s regime enjoyed nearly total control over all of continental Europe. The Wehrmach was nearing Moscow and the Allies feared that the Soviet Union would soon capitulate.  British intelligence began to pressure the exile government of Czechoslovakia to perform an operation to inspire the Czech people and demonstrate to the world that the Czechs were in concert with the Allied nations.

British operative executives along with Czechoslovak agents believed that a spectacular, strategic action was imperative.  They decided that Hitler’s groomed successor and key player in Nazi activity, Reinhard Heydrich would provide the profound victory needed.  The plot was code-named Operation Anthropoid.

It was 10:30 in the morning of May 27, 1942. Heydrich was being driven on his daily commute to Prague Castle. Exile Czech soldiers, Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubis waited at a bus stop near a curve in the street.  As Heydrich’s convertible Mercedes limosine, neared the curve, Gabčík attempted to shoot, but his submachine gun jammed. The driver was ordered to halt the car.  Heydrich stood up to shoot Gabčík. Kubis tossed a modified anti tank grenade at the car. Shrapnel and upholstery were embedded into Heydrich’s body.  Heydrich, returned fire and attempted to chase Gabčík but the Nazi soon collapsed.

Heydrich’s immediate superior, Heinrich Himmler took it upon himself to care for Heydrich’s recovery.  Only Himmler’s personal doctors were permitted to conduct any surgery.

Heydrich finally died on June 4th due to blood poisoning. The doctors claimed the horsehair upholstery lining that was imbedded during the grenade blast caused the infection.

There are a couple of hypotheses about the poisoning. One suggests that a Botulinum neurotoxin was placed in the grenade by British experts.  Another rumor states that Himmler was jealous and fearful of Heydrich; therefore the true intentions of Himmler and his doctors are open to speculation.

In response to the assassination, Hitler ordered his Gestapo and the SS to kill thousands of Czech people. Over 13,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps. The worst was the total destruction of the towns of Lidice and Lezáky.  Because of this revenge, the British aborted further plans to assassinate more Nazi leaders.

{ Reinhard Heydrich: Assassination by Ray R. Cowdery.  ISBN: 10: 091066742X }

Auf Wiedersehen

The Blue Jay of Happiness cites A Czech story. Supposedly, less than a year before his death, Heydrich entered the Treasure Chamber of Prague Castle in which the Bohemian Crown Jewels are stored. The Nazi took the Crown and placed it on his own head. Legend has it that whoever wears the Crown without lawful permission, will die within a year.


About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Books, History, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Anthropoid Mission

  1. gpcox says:

    Excellent research.

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