Karel Boromejsky

After the successfull attempt on Heydrich’s life, May 27, 1942, the attackers, Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik, fled the scene. The Nazis, in turn, began an intense hunt for the attackers and possible helpers. They even issued a reward of half a million German reichsmark and amnesty to anyone who could give information about the attackers and their helpers. One person arrested was Czech agent Karel Curda. Curda had been parachuted over Bohemia Moravia in 1942 and, in fear of reprisals against his family, he revealed several safe houses. The Gestapo had the houses investigated which led them to obtain information that Kubis, Gabcik and five other resistance men were hiding in the Karel Boromejsky church in Prague.

On June 18, a force of about 700 SS soldiers gathered around the church. The goal was to capture the attackers and others alive, but they refused to surrender. The church was attacked several times without success and during one of the attacks Jan Kubis was killed. The pressure from the SS grew larger and the attackers sought shelter in the crypt of the church. SS tried to smoke them out with smoke grenades and they even tried to flood the crypt, but Gabcik and others refused to surrender. But it was just a matter of time before they couldn’t withstand any longer. As a last desperate measure, they tried to dig themselves out of the crypt, but when even this pre-emptively hopeless attempt failed, they, including Jozef Gabcik, committed suicide in order not to be taken alive and tortured.

Current status: Preserved with museum (2000).

Address: Resslova 9a, 120 00 Nové Mesto.

Get there: Metro to Karlovo namesti station.

My comment:

The church bears both on the outside and on the inside clear traces of the fighting. For his betrayal, Karel Curda received his reward, new identity and a German wife. Curda worked as a spy for the Gestapo until the end of the war. After the war he was arrested and tried for treason in 1947 and sentenced to death by hanging. The sentence was carried out at the Pankrac prison in Prague. The bodies of Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik, among others, as well as other resistance fighters, were buried in an anonymous mass grave at the Dablice cemetery in northern Prague. Long after the fall of communism, these have been honored with a monument at the mass grave.

Follow up in books: Dougherty, Nancy: The Hangman and His Wife: The Life and Death of Reinhard Heydrich (2022).