Panenske Brezany

About 15 kilometres northeast of Prague lies the village Panenske Brezany (german Jungfern-Breschan). Here lived the Nazi Reich Protector and Himmler’s deputy, Reinhard Heydrich, with his wife Lina and their 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 house 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 into a residence for the Bohemia-Moravia Reich Protector. An office first held by Konstantin von Neurath and then from September 1941 by SS-Obergruppenfuhrer, Reinhard Heydrich. It was from here Heydrich, May 27, 1942, went to his office in Prague castle when he was subjected to an attack and fatally injured.

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 move out in April 1945, as the Soviet Red army approached, the remains were dug up. Where they were taken or what happened to the remains after that is unknown. From Panenske Brezany, Lina fled to Bavaria with her children before moving back to her childhood Fehmarn. At Fehmarn she lived in her’s and Reinhard’s summer house where she and the youngest daughter Marte ran a guest house. In 1965 Lina re-married a Finnish director. Lina lived on Fehmarn til her death in August 1985 and is also buried there.

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 area. What will happen to the castle is not known. Cause its large renovation needs and the cost that comes with that, it is likely that the castle will remain empty. 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, SS-Obergruppenführer Karl Hermann Frank, who was SS and Police chief in 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).