This Baroque church in the Resslova street in Prague New Town became well-known in World War II. The assassins of the Nazi protector R. Heydrich were hidden there. There is a memorial in the building dedicated to the heroes and also a bronze memorial plaque on the wall of the crypt, commemorating the event.
History of the church
The Church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius was built in 1730 – 1736 as the Church of St. Charles Borromeus originally. It was projected by K. I. Dienzenhofer. The sanctuary was abolished in 1783 and the church became a barracks. It was used as a part of the Czech Technical University in Prague in the 19 th century. The building became finally a sanctuary again in 1935. The Czechoslovakian Orthodox Church renamed it the Church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.
Assasination of Reinhard Heydrich
In World War II., the Czech territory became “Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia”, occupied by the Nazis. The highest authority in the country was the Protector Reinhard Heydrich. The exile representatives of former Czechoslovakia in London planned his assassination to show Czech resistance against the Nazis.
“Operation Anthropoid” was the code name for the assassination. Three groups of parachutists were sent to the Protectorate to contact local resistance and undertake the operation.
On 27 th of May 1942, the Technical Sergeants Josef Gabcik and Jan Kubis assaulted Heydrich on his regular way to the Prague Castle. The grenade, that they threw to his car, injured him badly and he died a week later. Afterwards, the Nazis killed thousands of innocent Czech people trying to find the assassins. The seven parachutists were hidden in the crypt of the Church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.
Hiding place in the crypt of the church
The Nazis finally discovered the hiding place, due to one of the parachutists, who betrayed them some information. The assassins were fortified in the basement, but Nazis filled the place with water through the windows and shot on them. There are still holes made by bullets visible on the wall. The parachutists shot back, but when they saw there is no chance to avoid being captured, they used their last bullets to end their own life.
The representatives of the Church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, who helped the parachutists to hide there, were executed later, as well as many others.
There is an exhibition and a reverent place of the dead in the crypt of the church. It is possible to book a visit with commentary and a video projection for groups.