National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror
Národní památník hrdinů heydrichiády
The museum itself may not be very big, but the events it delivers are some of the biggest in Prague during the Second World War. It depicts the story of Czech parachutists who were special trained in Britain and tasked with the assassination of the Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich was placed in charge of Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia as Reichsprotektor in September of 1941. He was also one of the main orchestrators of the Holocaust and so the Czechoslovak government – exiled in London – were determined to take military action against him.
Before entering the Orthodox Cathedral on Resslova Street it is worth taking note of the candles and flowers laid around the battered stonework on the outside of the Cathedral. The stonework is the site of a punishing firefight as the Czech parachutists fought to the death defending the Cathedral and Crypt from an assault by Gestapo and SS soldiers. The bullet-marks in the stonework are a chilling reminder of the brutality of the Second World War and the price many paid resisting Nazi rule.
Once inside the museum you will find a small room packed with information boards alongside displays of equipment and clothing. The layout is very simple but is efficient and is designed so that even if the museum became busy, groups could move around the museum with ease ensuring no waiting time between wall displays. All readable displays are written in Czech and English and various other language pamphlets are available at the reception desk for no extra charge.
The glass case displays contain various arrays of equipment ranging from the Czech Parachutists specialist equipment including; British Sten gun, adapted bombs, combat helmet and parachute to some of the standard German army equipment used in the fighting including the MG34 and various pieces of clothing. The displays are well lit and easy to see which so many museums fail to do correctly.
The main attraction of the museum however is the Crypt in which several of the Czech parachutists fought to the death in the aftermath of Heydrich’s assassination. Before entering the crypt there is a description of the door which has been installed to enter the Crypt. It is a piece of artwork designed specifically by the artist to represent the contrast of good and evil, life and death and the sacrifice the soldiers made. Upon opening the door to the Crypt you can immediately feel the atmosphere change as the reality of the events that took place here dawn upon you. Off to the sides are the memorial head sculptures of the soldiers who died in the Cathedral and Crypt and in various locations, flowers, medals, letters and coins have been placed to honour the men and their struggle. It is worth noting that the museum allows you to bring these objects to leave which is something to consider if you feel the need to, many people place a single Crown next to the sculptures of the men. The atmosphere in the Crypt can be overpowering as it is an emotional site but it should be high on your list of places to visit in Prague
Although the museum is very small and poorly signposted in the area, it is a museum well worth visiting. The museum represents a defiant period in Czech history and is not only worth visiting to take in information the museum has to offer, but also to pay respect to the men and women of all ages who made the ultimate sacrifice in defiance of Nazi tyranny.
Visiting Hours, Prices and Location:
Location: Resslova 9a, Praha 2 – Nove Mesto
Website Link: www.pamatnik-heydrichiady.cz
Opening Hours: March – October: Tuesday – Sunday: 9am-5pm
November – February: Tuesday – Saturday: 9am-5pm
Groups: Groups can arrange a guided visit with documentary film screening.
Admission: 75 CZK (€2,70 / £2.10)
National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror - Listing on Prague.TV
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Národní památník hrdinů heydrichiády