Operation Foxley-The killing of Hitler

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Operation Foxley was a 1944 plan to assassinate Adolf Hitler, conceived by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). Although detailed preparations were made, no attempt was made to carry out the plan. Historians believe the most likely date for an attempt would have been 13–14 July 1944, during one of Hitler’s visits to the Berghof.

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One of the first actual British plans to assassinate Hitler was to bomb the special train “Amerika” (in 1943 renamed “Brandenburg”) he travelled in; SOE had extensive experience of derailing trains using explosives. The plan was dropped because Hitler’s schedule was too irregular and unpredictable: stations were informed of his arrival only a few minutes beforehand.

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Another plan was to put some tasteless but lethal poison in the drinking water supply on Hitler’s train. However, this plan was considered too complicated because of the need for an inside man.

Although detailed planning was done to facilitate the attempt, it was never put into action.  SOE had several plans on taking out Germany’s Führer, including blowing up his train or by using poison. Neither of those had much of a chance of success. The SOE then planned on using a sniper to kill Hitler when he visited the Berghof, Hitler’s home in the Obersalzberg of the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria.

SOE became aware of a facet of Hitler’s routine that made the attempt possible. One of his former security guards was captured in the fighting in Normandy during the early summer of 1944. This prisoner revealed that while at the Berghof, Hitler always took a 20-minute morning walk just after 10 a.m.and have breakfast at a teahouse on the premises. They learned that Hitler wanted liked to be left alone during this walk, leaving him unprotected along the edge of a wooded area, where he was out of sight of sentry posts. The Berghof was part of a large complex on the Obersaltzberg.   Many high-ranking Nazi’s had houses there so that they could relax in comfort when Hitler was there. Whenever Hitler was at the Berghof a Nazi flag was hoisted from the main house and could be seen from a café below in the town of Berchtesgaden.

The plan was for a sniper, armed with a Mauser Kar-98K and fitted with a scope to kill Hitler as he took his morning walk.

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However, it wasn’t going to be easy. Although he felt secure within his compound and preferred to walk alone on most mornings, there were various sentries posted around the area anywhere between 100-500 meters from the path to the teahouse. The shot would be from a few hundred meters or failing that, he could be attacked while being driven back to the main house from the teahouse.

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The obvious issue for the British was the actually getting the team into and out of Germany. The two men picked for the mission were a German speaking Pole and a British sniper. The British lucked out when a German POW named Dieser told SOE that he had an uncle named Heidentaler, who lived as a shopkeeper in Salzburg, about 12 miles away who was a die-hard anti-Nazi. Heidentaler also did frequent target practice less than 10 miles from the estate and knew the area well.

The British sniper practiced with a Kar-98K and became proficient with it practicing in similar conditions with a moving target. He was also given a Luger 9mm pistol with a suppressor attached so that any unfortunate souls that stumbled upon them at the estate would be eliminated.

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The plan was to have the two men parachute into Germany, make their way to Salzburg where Heidentaler would hide the men and then transport them to Berchtesgaden disguised as German Mountain troops.

Everything was ready to go and the plan was submitted in November 1944. But SOE’s Deputy Head of their German Directorate, Lt. Colonel Ronald Thornley thought the assassination was a bad idea. Hitler, Thornley argued, may be turned into a martyr and the Germans’ loss of the war could be blamed on his loss and not a flawed overall strategy. Moreover, he said, it may cause a repeat of the WWI-WWII scenario where Germany may try to rise again.

Ultimately it was decided to scrap the plan, in no small part because Churchill’s advisors believed that Hitler, with absolute power, was a terrible strategist. With his increasing paranoia and poor decisions that were becoming more frequent, it was thought that his being in charge of the German war machine was a better alternative than removing him via an assassin’s rifle and having a more apt leader continuing the war.

Hitler is was deemed, was more valuable to the Allies alive than dead. The plan was scrapped. Just a few months later, with Germany in ruins, he committed suicide in Berlin.

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Leon Trotsky’s assassination

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Although many people know that Leon Trotsky had been assassinated I am not sure that they know it happened in Mexico.

Exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky wass fatally wounded by an ice-ax-wielding assassin on 2 August 1940 at his compound outside Mexico City. The killer–Ramón Mercader–was a Spanish communist and probable agent of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Trotsky died from his wounds the next day.

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Born in the Ukraine of Russian-Jewish parents in 1879, Trotsky embraced Marxism as a teenager and later dropped out of the University of Odessa to help organize the underground South Russian Workers’ Union. In 1898, he was arrested for his revolutionary activities and sent to prison. In 1900, he was exiled to Siberia.

In 1902, he escaped to England using a forged passport under the name of Leon Trotsky (his original name was Lev Davidovich Bronshtein). In London, he collaborated with Bolshevik revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin but later sided with the Menshevik factions that advocated a democratic approach to socialism. With the outbreak of the Russian Revolution of 1905, Trotsky returned to Russia and was again exiled to Siberia when the revolution collapsed. In 1907, he again escaped.

During the next decade, he was expelled from a series of countries because of his radicalism, living in Switzerland, Paris, Spain, and New York City before returning to Russia at the outbreak of the revolution in 1917. Trotsky played a leading role in the Bolsheviks’ seizure of power, conquering most of Petrograd before Lenin’s triumphant return in November. Appointed Lenin’s secretary of foreign affairs, he negotiated with the Germans for an end to Russian involvement in World War I. In 1918, he became war commissioner and set about building up the Red Army, which succeeded in defeating anti-communist opposition in the Russian Civil War. In the early 1920s, Trotsky seemed the heir apparent of Lenin, but he lost out in the struggle of succession after Lenin fell ill in 1922.

In 1924, Lenin died, and Joseph Stalin emerged as leader of the USSR.

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Against Stalin’s stated policies, Trotsky called for a continuing world revolution that would inevitably result in the dismantling of the increasingly bureaucratic Soviet state. He also criticized the new regime for suppressing democracy in the Communist Party and for failing to develop adequate economic planning. In response, Stalin and his supporters launched a propaganda counterattack against Trotsky. In 1925, he was removed from his post in the war commissariat. One year later, he was expelled from the Politburo and in 1927 from the Communist Party. In January 1928, Trotsky was deported by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to Alma-Ata in remote Soviet Central Asia. He lived there in internal exile for a year before being banished from the USSR forever by Stalin.

He was received by the government of Turkey and settled on the island of Prinkipo, where he worked on finishing his autobiography and history of the Russian Revolution. After four years in Turkey, Trotsky lived in France and then Norway and in 1936 was granted asylum in Mexico.

On 24 May 1940, Trotsky survived a raid on his villa by armed assassins led by the NKVD agent Iosif Grigulevich and Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Trotsky’s 14-year-old grandson, Vsevolod Platonovich “Esteban” Volkov (born 7 March 1926), was shot in the foot, and a young assistant and bodyguard of Trotsky, Robert Sheldon Harte, was abducted and later murdered, but other guards defeated the attack. Following the failed assassination attempt, Trotsky wrote an article titled “Stalin Seeks My Death” on 8 June 1940, where Trotsky states that another assassination attempt is certain.

On 20 August 1940, in his study, Trotsky was attacked by Ramón Mercader who used an ice axe as a weapon.

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 The blow to his head was bungled and failed to kill Trotsky instantly, as Mercader had intended. Witnesses stated that Trotsky spat on Mercader and began struggling fiercely with him, which resulted in Mercader’s hand being broken. Hearing the commotion, Trotsky’s bodyguards burst into the room and nearly killed Mercader, but Trotsky stopped them, laboriously stating that the assassin should be made to answer questions. Trotsky was taken to a hospital, operated on, and survived for more than a day, dying at the age of 60 on 21 August 1940 as a result of loss of blood and shock]Mercader later testified at his trial:

Settling with his family in a suburb of Mexico City, he was found guilty of treason in absentia during Stalin’s purges of his political foes. He survived a machine gun attack carried out by Stalinist agents, but on August 20, 1940, fell prey to Ramón Mercader, a Spanish communist who had won the confidence of the Trotsky household. The Soviet government denied responsibility, and Mercader was sentenced to 20 years in prison by Mexican authorities.

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Lyndon B. Johnson taking the Presidential Oath.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office aboard Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Jackie was angled in such a way as to hide the blood on her coat. It’s the perfect image reflect the American Pain of the moment, the quick need for seamless succession, and yet, and yet, in that relatively desperate moment, attention is still given to the gloss and optics of how the whole thing is presented.

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For the inauguration twenty-seven people squeezed into the sixteen-foot square stateroom of Air Force One for the proceedings. Adding to the discomfort was the lack of air conditioning as the aircraft had been disconnected from the external power supply, in order to take off promptly. As the inauguration proceeded the four jet engines of Air Force One were being powered up.

The Warren Commission’s report detailed the inauguration: “From the Presidential airplane, the new President telephoned Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who advised that Mr. Johnson take the Presidential oath of office before the plane left Dallas. Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes hastened to the plane to administer the oath. Members of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential parties filled the central compartment of the plane to witness the swearing in. At 2:38 p.m. CST, Lyndon Baines Johnson took the oath of office as the 36th President of the United States. Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Johnson stood at the side of the new President as he took the oath of office. Nine minutes later, the Presidential airplane departed for Washington, D.C.”.

 

The swearing-in ceremony administered by Judge Hughes in an Air Force One conference room represented the first time that a woman administered the presidential oath of office as well as the only time it was conducted on an airplane. Instead of the usual Bible, Johnson was sworn in upon a missal found on a side table in Kennedy’s Air Force One bedroom. After the oath had been taken, Johnson kissed his wife on the forehead. Mrs. Johnson then took Jackie Kennedy’s hand and told her, “The whole nation mourns your husband”.

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The famous photograph of the inauguration was taken by Cecil Stoughton, John F. Kennedy’s official photographer. On Stoughton’s suggestion Johnson was flanked by his wife and Jacqueline Kennedy, facing slightly away from the camera so that blood stains on her pink Chanel suit would not be visible. The photograph was taken using a Hasselblad camera.

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The assassination that heralded WWI

Archduke Franz Ferdinand with his wife on the day they were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, 28 June 1914

In an event that is widely acknowledged to have sparked the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was shot to death along with his wife by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on June 28, 1914.

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These assassinations were a spark to the start of World War I, Europe had been boiling for a few years already and was just waiting for a reason to start a war. His last words after being shot in the neck were to his wife, who was hit in the stomach by a stray second shot. They were: “Sophie! Sophie! Don’t die! Live for our children!“. He was asked about his condition on the way to the hospital and kept saying “It’s nothing. It’s nothing“, over and over. Sophie died there in the car and he followed 10 minutes after arriving at the hospital.

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The great Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck, the man most responsible for the unification of Germany in 1871, was quoted as saying at the end of his life that: “One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans”. It went as he predicted.

The archduke traveled to Sarajevo in June 1914 to inspect the imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Ottoman territories in the turbulent Balkan region that were annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908 to the indignation of Serbian nationalists, who believed they should become part of the newly independent and ambitious Serbian nation.

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The date scheduled for his visit, June 28, coincided with the anniversary of the First Battle of Kosovo in 1389, in which medieval Serbia was defeated by the Turks. Despite the fact that Serbia did not truly lose its independence until the Second Battle of Kosovo in 1448, June 28 was a day of great significance to Serbian nationalists, and one on which they could be expected to take exception to a demonstration of Austrian imperial strength in Bosnia.

Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

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On June 5, 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, a presidential candidate, WAS shot three times in a hail of gunfire at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Five others were wounded. The senator had just completed a speech celebrating his victory in the California presidential primary.

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After winning the California and South Dakota primary elections for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, Kennedy was fatally shot while exiting through the hotel kitchen immediately after leaving the podium in the Ambassador Hotel and died in the Good Samaritan Hospital twenty-six hours later. Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian/Jordanian immigrant, was convicted of Kennedy’s murder and sentenced to death in 1969, although his sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1972.

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The summer of 1968 was a tempestuous time in American history. Both the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement were peaking. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in the spring, igniting riots across the country. In the face of this unrest, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided not to seek a second term in the upcoming presidential election. Robert Kennedy, John’s younger brother and former U.S. Attorney General, stepped into this breach and experienced a groundswell of support.

Kennedy was perceived by many to be the only person in American politics capable of uniting the people. He was beloved by the minority community for his integrity and devotion to the civil rights cause. After winning California’s primary, Kennedy was in the position to receive the Democratic nomination and face off against Richard Nixon in the general election.

As star athletes Rafer Johnson and Roosevelt Grier accompanied Kennedy out a rear exit of the Ambassador Hotel, Sirhan Sirhan stepped forward with a rolled up campaign poster, hiding his .22 revolver. He was only a foot away when he fired several shots at Kennedy.

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Grier and Johnson wrestled Sirhan to the ground, but not before five bystanders were wounded.

Grier was distraught afterward and blamed himself for allowing Kennedy to be shot.

After about 30 minutes, Kennedy was transferred several blocks to the Hospital of the Good Samaritan for surgery.

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A gymnasium near the hospital was set up as temporary headquarters for the press and news media to receive updates on the senator’s condition. Surgery began at 3:12 a.m. PDT and lasted three hours and 40 minutes. Ten and a half hours later, at 5:30 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, spokesman Frank Mankiewicz announced that Kennedy’s doctors were “concerned over his continuing failure to show improvement”; his condition remained “extremely critical as to life”.

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Kennedy had been shot three times. One bullet, fired at a range of about 1 inch (2.5 cm), entered behind his right ear, dispersing fragments throughout his brain.[35] The other two entered at the rear of his right armpit; one exited from his chest and the other lodged in the back of his neck.Despite extensive neurosurgery at the Good Samaritan Hospital to remove the bullet and bone fragments from his brain, Kennedy died at 1:44 A.M. PDT on June 6, nearly 26 hours after the shooting.

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Sirhan, who was born in Palestine, confessed to the crime at his trial and received a death sentence on March 3, 1969. However, since the California State Supreme Court invalidated all death penalty sentences in 1972, Sirhan has spent the rest of his life in prison. According to the New York Times, he has since said that he believed Kennedy was “instrumental” in the oppression of Palestinians. Hubert Humphrey ended up running for the Democrats in 1968, but lost by a small margin to Nixon.

22 November 1963-Dealey Plaza Dallas

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President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, at 12:30 pm Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, while on a political trip to Texas to smooth over frictions in the Democratic Party between liberals Ralph Yarborough and Don Yarborough (no relation) and conservative John Connally.Traveling in a presidential motorcade through downtown Dallas, he was shot once in the back, the bullet exiting via his throat, and once in the head.

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At 12:30 p.m. CST, as President Kennedy’s uncovered 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible limousine entered Dealey Plaza, Nellie Connally (the First Lady of Texas) turned around to President Kennedy, who was sitting behind her, and commented, “Mr. President, you can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you,” which President Kennedy acknowledged by saying “No, you certainly can’t.” Those were the last words ever spoken by John F. Kennedy.

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Kennedy was taken to Parkland Hospital for emergency medical treatment, but pronounced dead at 1:00 pm. Only 46, President Kennedy died younger than any other U.S. president to date.

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Lee Harvey Oswald, an order filler at the Texas School Book Depository from which the shots were suspected to have been fired, was arrested for the murder of police officer J.D. Tippit, and was charged subsequently with Kennedy’s assassination.

kennedy_11-22_oswald-mugshot_3239398-eHe denied shooting anyone, claiming he was a patsy( A person who is taken advantage of, especially by being cheated or blamed for something), and was killed by Jack Ruby on November 24, before he could be prosecuted.

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Ruby was arrested and convicted for the murder of Oswald. Ruby successfully appealed his conviction and death sentence but became ill and died of cancer on January 3, 1967, while the date for his new trial was being set.

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A Requiem Mass was held for Kennedy at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on November 25, 1963. Afterwards, Kennedy was interred in a small plot, (20 by 30 ft.), in Arlington National Cemetery. Over a period of three years (1964–1966), an estimated 16 million people visited his grave. On March 14, 1967, Kennedy’s remains were moved to a permanent burial plot and memorial at the cemetery. The funeral was officiated by Father John J. Cavanaugh. It was from this memorial that the graves of both Robert and Ted Kennedy were modeled.

 

 

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/08/02/john-f-kennedy-and-pt-109/

 

Herschel Grynszpan assassination of Ernst vom Rath

Today 78 years ago a 17 year old Polish-Jewish refugee.Herschel Grynszpan,assassinated a Nazi diplomat,Ernst vom Rath, in Paris. This triggered Novemberpogrome 1938 also known as Kristallnacht(the Night of broken glass).

On the morning of 7 November 1938, Polish-German Jew Herschel Grynszpan, 17, went to the German embassy in Paris and asked to speak with an embassy official. He shot the 29-year-old vom Rath five times, mortally wounding him with bullets to the spleen, stomach and pancreas.

Adolf Hitler himself sent his two best doctors, personal physician Karl Brandt and surgeon Georg Magnus, to Paris to try to save vom Rath’s life.

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Hitler promoted vom Rath, who had been a junior officer at the embassy, to the rank of Legal Consul, First Class (Gesandtschaftsrat I. Klasse) hours before vom Rath’s death on 9 November at 17:30 .Kristallnacht was launched within hours.

Why Grynszpan, who had fled from Germany to France in 1936, chose vom Rath is not known with certainty, although he was upset over news that his family was being deported from Germany back to Poland. As far as it can be established, Grynszpan and Rath did not know each other. Most accounts of the shooting state that Grynszpan did not ask for vom Rath by name but only asked to speak to a member of the diplomatic staff. The records were falsified in 1942, and the Germans spread propaganda that Grynszpan’s intention was to kill the ambassador, Count Johannes von Welczeck.

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Grynszpan, who was immediately arrested and confessed, insisted his motives were to avenge the Jewish people against the actions already taken by the Germans. He had a postcard on him written to his parents that read, “With God’s help. My dear parents, I could not do otherwise, may God forgive me, the heart bleeds when I hear of your tragedy and that of the 12,000 Jews. I must protest so that the whole world hears my protest, and that I will do. Forgive me.”

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Vom Rath was given a state funeral on 17 November in Düsseldorf, with Hitler and Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop among those in attendance.

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Germany used the incident to publicize that the Jews had “fired the first shot” in a war on Germany; in his funeral oration, Ribbentrop declared, “We understand the challenge, and we accept it.”

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American journalist Dorothy Thompson reported widely on the case, and raised funds for Grynszpan’s defence in his French trial, which never took place. Much to the fury of Grynszpan who wanted to use the defense that he killed Rath because he was a Jew, Grynszpan’s French lawyer Vincent de Moro-Giafferi wanted to use as the defense the allegation that Rath was a homosexual who had seduced Grynszpan, and that Grynszpan had killed Rath as a part of a lover’s quarrel.

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The allegations that Rath was gay started with Moro-Giafferi. Grynszpan initially escaped from prison when France fell in 1940, but he was captured by the Nazis and taken back to Germany. He was sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp to face a trial there, one that Joseph Goebbels planned to turn into Nazi propaganda about an international Jewish conspiracy and to claim it as evidence that Jews had started World War II.

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However, allegations emerged that vom Rath was a homosexual, and Goebbels learned that Grynszpan was intending to use this claim in his defence at the trial by implying that vom Rath had seduced him. Grynszpan planned to claim that vom Rath was his pimp and he had been sent to be with various diplomats (although Grynszpan later stated this to be false in an encrypted letter sent from Sachsenhausen).

The homosexuality accusations threatened to humiliate the Nazis. Goebbels wrote that “Grynszpan has invented the insolent argument that he had a homosexual relationship with… vom Rath. That is, of course, a shameless lie; however it is thought out very cleverly and would, if brought out in the course of a public trial, certainly become the main argument of enemy propaganda.”

According to historian Hans-Jürgen Döscher, Germany’s foremost authority on Kristallnacht, vom Rath was homosexual and had met Grynszpan in Le Boeuf sur le Toit, a popular haunt for gay men in 1938.The French writer André Gide, himself a homosexual, testified in his personal diaries that vom Rath was well known in the Parisian homosexual community. There were rumours that occasionally he was called “Madame Ambassador” and “Notre Dame de Paris.” His brother, Gustav, was convicted of homosexual offences and there were allegations that vom Rath was treated for rectal gonorrhoea at the Berlin Institute of Radiology.

The trial was planned for 1942 but never took place, primarily because the Nazis (who also sent homosexuals to the death camps) feared it would turn into a gay scandal.

Grynszpan’s ultimate fate is unknown but he probably died in Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

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The last documentation indicating he was alive, or thought to be alive, was a Foreign Ministry memorandum on 7 December 1942. In 1960, at the request of his parents in Israel, the lower district court in Hannover officially declared Grynszpan deceased, listing his date of death as 8 May 1945.

Operation Anthropoid-The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.

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On the twenty-ninth of May, 1942, Radio Prague announced that Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, lay dying at the Bulovka hospital in Prague from wounds sustained in a daring ambush by Czech partisans as his car passed through the city outskirts at Holesovice, on the Rude Armady VII Kobylisky not far from the Vltava river.

The assassins attempted to kill Heydrich with automatic weapons but experienced a malfunction so a grenade was then tossed at the car by one of the Czechs. The resulting explosion caused sever damage to the right rear wing of the Mercedes, puncturing the tire and blowing a large hole in the bodywork.The attackers then fled and, Heydrich attempted to shoot at the escaping assassins but his weapon also misfired. He then staggered back to the car and collapsed on the hood in severe pain.

The operation was carried out in Prague on 27 May 1942 after having been prepared by the British Special Operations Executive with the approval of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile. Although only wounded in the attack, Heydrich died of his injuries on 4 June 1942. His death led to a wave of merciless reprisals by German SS troops, including the destruction of villages and the killing of civilians.

Heydrich had been important in the rise of Adolf Hitler; as a Nazi potentate, he was given overall charge of the Final Solution and the Holocaust of the Jews in Europe. Despite the risks, the primary purpose of Anthropoid, from the Czech perspective, was to confer legitimacy on Edvard Beneš’s government-in-exile in London.

Operation Anthropoid – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Heydrich had been the chief of the RSHA since September 1939 and was appointed acting Protector of Bohemia and Moravia after replacing Konstantin von Neurath in September 1941. Hitler agreed with Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler and Heydrich that von Neurath’s relatively lenient approach to the Czechs promoted anti-German sentiment, and encouraged anti-German resistance by strikes and sabotage.

On September 27, 1941, the Czech Press Agency released the news that the Reich Protector Konstantin von Neurath had fallen ill.

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and Hitler had named a substitute Reich Protector, Reinhard Heydrich.

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Heydrich came to Prague to “strengthen policy, carry out countermeasures against resistance”, and keep up production quotas of Czech motors and arms that were “extremely important to the German war effort”. During his role as de facto dictator of Bohemia and Moravia, Heydrich often drove with his chauffeur in a car with an open roof. This was a show of his confidence in the occupation forces and in the effectiveness of his government.Due to his brutal efficiency, Heydrich was nicknamed the Butcher of Prague, the Blond Beast, and the Hangman.

One of Heydrich’s first decrees, dated September 29, 1941,concerning the treatment of Jews and closing of synagogues stated:

“…Jewish synagogues and places of prayer have not been used for religious purposes for some time. Instead, they have become centers for all kinds of Jewish subversive elements and focal points of illegal whispered propaganda. For this reason I have ordered the closing of all Jewish synagogues and places of prayer.”

By late 1941, Hitler controlled almost all continental Europe, and German forces were approaching Moscow.The Allies deemed Soviet capitulation likely. The exiled government of Czechoslovakia under President Edvard BenešEdvard_Beneš

was under pressure from British intelligence, as there had been very little visible resistance since the occupation of the Sudeten regions of the country in 1938. (Occupation of the whole country began in 1939.) The takeover of these regions was enforced by the Munich Agreement, and the subsequent terror of the German Reich broke the will of the Czechs for a period.

The resistance was active from the very beginning of occupation in several other countries defeated in open warfare (e.g., Poland, Yugoslavia, and Greece), but the subjugated Czech lands remained relatively calm and produced significant amounts of materiel for the Third Reich. The exiled government felt that it had to do something that would inspire the Czechs as well as show the world that the Czechs were allies.

Reinhard Heydrich was chosen over Karl Hermann Frank as an assassination target due to his status as the acting Protector of Bohemia and Moravia as well as his reputation for terrorizing local citizens. The operation was also intended to demonstrate to senior Nazis that they were not untouchable

 

The operation was given the codename Anthropoid, Greek for “having the form of a human”, a term usually used in zoology. Preparation began on 20 October 1941 with the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). Warrant Officer Jozef Gabčík (Slovak) and Staff Sergeant Karel Svoboda (Czech) were chosen to carry out the operation on 28 October 1941 (Czechoslovakia’s Independence Day). Svoboda was replaced with Jan Kubiš (Czech) after a head injury during training, causing delays in the mission as Kubiš had not completed training, nor had the necessary false documents been prepared for him.

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Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš were airlifted along with seven soldiers from Czechoslovakia’s army-in-exile in the United Kingdom and two other groups named Silver A and Silver B (who had different missions) by a Royal Air Force Halifax of No. 138 Squadron into Czechoslovakia at 10 pm on 28 December 1941.

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Gabčík and Kubiš landed near Nehvizdy east of Prague; although the plan was to land near Pilsen, the pilots had problems with orientation.The soldiers then moved to Pilsen to contact their allies, and from there on to Prague, where the attack was planned.

In Prague, they contacted several families and anti-Nazi organisations who helped them during the preparations for the assassination.Gabčík and Kubiš initially planned to kill Heydrich on a train, but after examination of the logistics, they realised that this was not possible. The second plan was to kill him on the road in the forest on the way from Heydrich’s seat to Prague. They planned to pull a cable across the road that would stop Heydrich’s car but, after waiting several hours, their commander, Lt. Adolf Opálka (from the group Out Distance), came to bring them back to Prague. The third plan was to kill Heydrich in Prague.

On 27 May 1942 at 10:30, Heydrich proceeded on his daily commute from his home in Panenské Břežany to Prague Castle. Gabčík and Kubiš waited at the tram stop at a tight curve near Bulovka Hospital in Prague 8-Libeň. The spot was chosen because the curve would force the car to slow down. Josef Valčík was positioned about 100 metres (109 yards) north of Gabčík and Kubiš as lookout for the approaching car.

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Heydrich’s green, open-topped Mercedes 320 Convertible B reached the curve two minutes later.

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Gabčík stepped in front of the vehicle and tried to open fire with his Sten submachine gun, but it jammed.

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Heydrich ordered his driver, SS-Oberscharführer Klein, to stop the car, then stood up to shoot Gabčík with his Luger pistol.

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Kubiš threw a modified anti-tank grenade(concealed in a briefcase) at the vehicle and its fragments ripped through the car’s right rear bumper, embedding shrapnel and fibres from the upholstery in Heydrich’s body upon detonation, even though the grenade failed to enter the car. The grenade also injured Kubiš.

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Following the explosion, Gabčík and Kubiš fired at Heydrich with their Colt M1903 pistols but failed to hit him, as they were shocked by the explosion as well.

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Heydrich staggered out of the car, apparently unaware of his shrapnel injuries, returned fire, and tried to chase Gabčík, but he soon collapsed. Klein returned from his abortive attempt to chase Kubiš, who fled the scene by bicycle. Now bleeding profusely, Heydrich ordered Klein to chase Gabčík on foot, saying “Get that bastard!”.Klein chased him into a butcher shop, where Gabčík shot him twice with his pistol, severely wounding him in the leg, and then escaped to a local safe house via tram. Gabčík and Kubiš were initially convinced that the attack had failed.

A Czech woman and an off-duty policeman went to Heydrich’s aid and flagged down a delivery van. Heydrich was first placed in the driver’s cab, but complained that the truck’s movement was causing him pain. He was then transferred to the back of the truck, placed on his stomach, and taken to the emergency room at Na Bulovce Hospital. He had suffered severe injuries to his left side, with major diaphragm, spleen, and lung damage as well as a fractured rib. A Dr. Slanina packed the chest wound, while Dr. Walter Diek (the Sudeten German chief of surgery at the hospital) tried unsuccessfully to remove the splinters.

He was rushed to the Bulovka emergency room shortly after 11:00 a.m. and was registered under the number 12.555/42. Heydrich’s spleen had been fatally damaged and he contracted blood poisoning from grenade shrapnel, seat-spring splinters, and horse-hair used to cushion the cars upholstery.

On May 27, 1942, Karl. Hermann Frank, declared a state of civil emergency. Posters appeared in the streets offering a reward for information on the perpetrators. Himmler, at Hitler’s headquarters in Rastenburg was immediately notified of the incident and ordered Dr. K. Gebhardt, his personal physician and Professor of Orthopedics in Berlin, to fly at once to Heydrich’s bedside.

Gebhardt landed in Prague the evening of May 27, and followed Heydrich progress closely even telephoning Himmler twice a day to report on his patient’s status

He soon developed a fever and suffered from copious wound drainage until June 2, but the following day the fever appeared to have subsided. However, around noon, while Heydrich was sitting in bed eating a late breakfast, he suddenly went into shock and quickly lapsed into a deep coma from which he never recovered.

He died at 4:30 a.m. the next morning, June 4, 1942. The death of the Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia was recorded in the Bulovka death register as “Nr 348/1942.Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich.

Cause of death: gunshot wound/murder attempt/wound infection

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Hitler ordered the SS and Gestapo to “wade in blood” throughout Bohemia to find Heydrich’s killers. Hitler wanted to start with brutal, widespread killing of the Czech people but, after consultations, he reduced his response to only some thousands. The Czech lands were an important industrial zone for the German military and indiscriminate killing could reduce the productivity of the region.

Things went from bad to worse for the ANTHRPOID team and their collaborators in hiding. Karel Čurda another of the men from the OUT DISTANCE unit, who left Prague immediately after the assassination and hid out with his mother in Nová Hlína near Třeboň, was captured by the Gestapo and betrayed the names of the team’s local contact persons for the bounty of 1 million Reichsmarks.

Karel Čurda

Čurda betrayed several safe houses provided by the Jindra group, including that of the Moravec family in Žižkov. At 05:00 on 17 June, the Moravec flat was raided.

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The family was made to stand in the hallway while the Gestapo searched their flat. Mrs. Marie Moravec was allowed to go to the toilet, where she bit into a cyanide capsule and killed herself. Mr. Alois Moravec was unaware of his family’s involvement with the resistance; he was taken to the Peček Palác together with his 17-year-old son Ata, who was interrogated with torture throughout the day but refused to talk. The youth was stupefied with brandy, shown his mother’s severed head in a fish tank, and warned that, if he did not reveal the information that they were looking for, his father would be next. Ata’s strong willpower finally snapped, and he told the Gestapo what they wanted to know. Vlastimil “Ata” Moravec was executed by the Nazis in Mauthausen on 24 October 1942, the same day as his father, his fiancé, her mother, and her brother were executed

At 3:45 am on June 18, 1942, SS-Brigadeführer Karl von Treuenfeld, issued an order to the Reserve Battalion Deutschland and the Guard Battalion Prague to surround the area around the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius. The location of where Kubiš, Gabčík and Opálka were hiding.

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German Police under the command of Gestapo Chief Heinz Pannwitz and Nazi Secretary of State Karl Frank quickly overpowered the priest, Father Vladimir Petrek and von Treuenfeld was given the order to attack. The battled ensued for fourteen hours as the Czech parachutists put up fierce resistance.The Germans first searched the church warden’s apartment. They quickly found the window with an unscrewed inside grating, which would have been used in the event of the paratroopers’ escape.  The Gestapo and SS then proceeded to the inner section of the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, where Adolf Opálka, Josef Bublík and Jan Kubiš were keeping guard in the gallery and the choir.

The attackers tried to reach the choir through a narrow staircase, under cover fire provided by Adolf Opálka. Wounded and nearing the end of his ammunition Adolf Opálka took poison and simultaneously ended his life with a pistol shot to the left temple.

After the inside of the church was overrun, the battle shifted to the crypt, the only entrance to which led through a small ventilation opening in the western part of the church which was accessible from the street outside. The Germans seized this opportunity and ordered in the Prague fire department to begin flooding the crypt with water and tear gas.

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Near the altar, under a carpet, the Germans found an entrance into the crypt covered with a stone slab. After destroying it with explosives, they discovered steep stairs leading into the crypt; the Czechs were now fighting from all sides.Pannwitz and Frank had Čurda brought in to try and persuade the men in the crypt to surrender, but his shouts for them to give themselves up were met by fire form the defenders guns.  The Czech’s thought they might have a chance if they could tunnel there way out of the crypt into the sewer system below, but Jan Kubiš suffered from multiple gun shot and grenade wounds and died of blood loss.

The remaining defenders both exhausted and their ammunition just about gone, chose suicide over capture. Josef Gabčík ended his own life with a pistol shot. Fourteen German soldiers had been killed and many more injured in the series of attacks. The dead paratroopers were carried out in front of the church and identified by the traitor Karel Čurda.

 

The assassination led to the reprisal of the complete destruction of the village of Lidice, 173 Lidice men were shot on that fateful day in the garden of the Horak farm.

Jan Kubiš’ girlfriend, Anna Malinova, was arrested in the aftermath of the assassination, and died in Mauthausen concentration camp.  Many Resistance helpers were also arrested and murdered, including Father Petrek

The Germans erected a monument to Heydrich which was torn down by the Czechs in 1945.

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Hitler granted Lina, Heydrich’s widow, heavily pregnant at the time of his death, the estate at Panenske Brezany, and she ended her days as a hotel-keeper on the island of Fehmarn.

“I have only a few words to dedicate to this dead man. He was one of the best National Socialists, one of the strongest defenders of German Reich, one of the biggest opponents of all the enemies of the Reich. He fell as a martyr for the preservation and safeguarding of the Reich. As leader of the party and as leader of the German Reich, I give you, my dear comrade Heydrich, the highest recognition I have to bestow, the uppermost level of the German Order.

The events of this operation have been remembered in several monumments.

And have also been told in several movies.

In 1943 two movies were made Hitler’s Madman by Douglas Sirk and Hangmen also die by Fritz Lang.

In 1964 Jiří Sequens directed the Czech Movie Atentat

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In 1975 Operation Daybreak starring Timothy Bottoms and Martin Shaw , directed by Lewis Gilbert.

In all fairness I don’t think the movie did the story any justice. the performances were weak.

I am looking forward to the upcoming movie “Operation Anthropoid” directed by Sean Ellis.