**SPOILER (BUT NOT REALLY SPOILER) ALERT**
The history freak as I am could not miss the movie Anthropoid in the cinemas. „ANTHROPOID“ was a codename for a resistance-movement during WWII - British-trained Czechoslovak parachutes were sent back into the country to assasinate the third biggest man in the Nazi hiearchy, Reinhard Heydrich.
I know basically everything about the story, it is even connected with the area I live in, but let´s not focus on the details (maybe some other day) and talk about the film. It starts with setting the scene - September 1938, the Munich treaty - the betrayal of the British and French, where Czechoslovakia was handed to Hitler on a golden plate. A year before the war started, in time of unimpaired peace, a country in the centre of Europe was occupied by armed forces - with agreement of the two biggest powers on the continent. Czechoslovakia was quickly transformed into Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren, directly under the German power.
The whole appeasement strategy turned out to be dead wrong, when Germany started the war a year later.
In September 1941, Reinhard Heydrich was sent to Prague, to govern the protectorate and to calm the situation in the country. And those were really not good times for Czechoslovakia (which also calls for a separate article).
That´s why the exile government in London decided to start the operation Anthropoid. To get recognition from the Allies, parachutes were sent to assasinate the „Butcher of Prague“ - Heydrich himself. There were some other possible targets, and there were many people against this move in the resistance, but the goal was set.
The film follows the steps of two parachutes - Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, all the way from landing on the Czech soil, throught the preparation and the actual attack, all the way until their last battle in the St. Cyril & Methodius cathedral in Prague.
(By the way - if you have not been there, and you are in Prague, go there. The memorial is worth the visit and you can actually visit the crypt where the parachutes were hidden (which is also pictured in the film).)
So, what did I think about the film? I loved it. I loved the fact a piece of Czech history was pictured in a international-sized film with big actors and media attention. Of course there were things I was not exactly sure about and I was a bit bummed there was not much German in the movie (it takes place in nazi-occupied Prague), but overall, it was a great experience.
However, since history needs to be accurate, let´s point out at a few things you should know before (or after) watching the movie:
Mr. Moravec was involved in the resisance more than just watching his wife.
Only Gabčík and Kubiš went to the actual assassination spot. And there was no mirrow-flash signal.
The nazis didn´t show Aťa his mother´s head, but her whole dead body. He was also forced to indentify the bodies of parachutes. On the other hand, all the parachutes were beheaded and their heads used during examination of their relatives.
There was not only Čurda who betrayed the parachutes, but also another parachute, Gerik - who didn´t have much information, but started cooperating with nazis in April, more than a month before the actual attack on May 27.
Lenka and Marie both died later than the parachutes, they were shot in concentration camp Mauthausen in October that year, same as Mr. Moravec and Aťa (aged 21 at the time) along with his girlfriend and her family (who were not at all involved in the resistance).
By the way - „we´re Czech, we´ll never surrender“ is not a Hollywood creation, but an actual message the parachutes shouted out of the crypt to nazis during the fight.
And if you still doubt the importance and impact of the assasination, read the quote mentioned below. I´d never thought I´d be quoting Hitler on my blog, but here you go - Adolf Hitler, June 4, 1942.
„Heydrich - that is a lost battle, of a sort that we have never fought so far“
For more interesting details and answers, read this History vs Hollywood article (but there are some historicals errors as well).