Prague Castle

The castle in Prague (or Prague Castle) was built in the late 800s and with its approximately 70,000 square meters is the largest historical castle in the world. Over the centuries, the castle has been the center of power for the bohemian kings, the emperors of the holy Roman empire, and the leaders of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. Over the centuries, the castle has been expanded and renovated according to the wishes and demands of the rulers.

When Germany occupied Bohemia and Moravia on 15 March 1939, Hitler visited the city and spent the night at the castle before returning to Berlin the next day. This was the only time Hitler had ever visited Prague and the Czech Republic. Shortly after Bohemia was occupied, Hitler appointed the former foreign minister Konstantin von Neurath as the Protector of the Kingdom of Bohemia. The protector was the supreme political leader whose task was to correct and ensure that German policy was implemented in Bohemia.

The national protector placed his workplace in accordance with other historical leaders in the castle. Neurath immediately introduced restrictions and regulations according to German model. Although the measures were tight, they were by Nazi standards mild, which meant that the Nazi terror was not unleashed in the same way as elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe. This was something that Hitler did not go unnoticed.

At the end of September 1941, Hitler appointed Reinhard Heydrich, the second-in-command in the SS, as the new national protector. In fact, Heydrich was a deputy to Neurath but exercised real power. Neurath’s title as a national protector was then only nominal. Heydrich immediately introduced stricter and more brutal methods that were not rarely carried out by Bohemia Moravia chief police officer Karl Hermann Frank.

Heydrich used both stick and carrot to curb the Czech people. He felt that he had the respect of the Czech people and that they had adapted to the new restrictions. He also felt unthreatened and travelled back and forth between his home in Panenske Brezany and the castle without escort and in an open car when the weather allowed. This overconfidence in himself was also his case when he was attacked by two Czech agents on his way to the castle on 27 May 1942. Heydrich suffered life-threatening injuries and died about a week later. Heydrich was replaced by Kurt Daluege.

On June 7, the coffin was brought with Heydrich to the castle for state burial. Heydrich was then taken to Berlin for another state funeral, this time with Hitler as one of the funeral guests. The murder of Heydrich also triggered a wave of terror and murder in the Czech Republic where the Germans were determined to set an example. The most famous action is the extermination and massacre of Lidice about twenty kilometres north of Prague.

Current status: Preserved with museum. (2010).

Address: Hradcany, 119 08 Prague 1.

Get there: Metro to Hradcanska or Malostranska stations.

My comment:

The castle is the most visited tourist destination in the Czech Republic and its history spans several centuries. It is unlikely that Heydrich’s office used the entire castle, but only a part of it. The other parts probably had other purposes and functions. What part of the castle and which room or room Heydrich used, I do not know. For those who want to follow Heydrich tracks in Prague, there are other places that have more focus on this than the castle. The place where the attack was carried out in Holesovickach, Karel Boromejsky where the attackers were hiding and Lidice where the Germans carried out a massacre on the residents are some of these places.

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