Panenske Brezany

About 15 kilometres northeast of Prague is a small community called Panenske Brezany (german Jungfern-Breschan) and where lived the Nazi Reichsprotector and also Himmler’s deputy Reinhard Heydrich with his family (wife Lina and three children) from the turn of the year 41/42 until his death in June 1942. The couple lived in what was called the lower castle, a dwelling that until the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia in March 1939 was owned by Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, a Jewish businessman who bought the castle in 1909. After the occupation, he was forced to flee and the castle was confiscated by the Nazis and turned it into a residence for the Bohemian National Protector. An office first held by Konstantin von Neurath and then from September 1941 by SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich. It was from here that Heydrich went on May 27, 1942 on his way to his official residence in the Prague castle when he was subjected to an attack where he was injured so badly that he died about one a week later of his injuries.

After the attack, Lina was allowed to stay with the children, Klaus (born 1933), Heider (1934), Silke (1939) and Marte, who was born in July 1942. She received a favourable remuneration from the SS as Heydrich’s wife. In October 1943, Klaus was killed when he was hit by a truck while riding his bike through the gate straight into the road. He was buried in the garden but when Lina was forced to flee the house in April 1945 when the Soviet Red army approached Prague, the remains were dug up. Where they were taken or what happened to the remains is unknown. From Panenske Brezany, Lina fled to Bavaria with her children before moving back to her childhood Fehmarn. At Fehmarn she settled her and Reinhard’s summer house where she and the youngest daughter Marte ran a guest house. Lina also married a Finnish director in 1965. Lina lived until her death in August 1985 at Fehmarn and there she was also buried.

Current status: Preserved (2010).

Location: 50°12'58.04"N 14°26'33.16"E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

At the time of my visit in August 2010, the castle was uninhabited and surrounded by a high wall that obstructs transparency and intrusion. The garden around the villa is characterized by decay as vegetation begins to take over the surfaces. The tours around the castle’s being or not being have circulated a long time and will surely continue. Given its large renovation needs and a likely high price tag, it is likely that the castle will remain uninhabited and thus risk lapsing even more. In 2011, Heydrich’s eldest son, Heider, showed, interest in buying and renovating the castle, but it aroused strong reactions and had to be abandoned.

About 500 meters west of the castle there is a another castle, slightly larger, which was called the upper castle. There lived another senior SS officer namely SS-Obergruppenführer Karl Hermann Frank who was the chief SS and police chief of Bohemia Moravia between 1939 and 1945.

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