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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Prague, Liben district. Reinhard Heydrich assassination background.

 Assassination of Nazi Reinhard Heydrich

Petr wrote of one of the most memorable and history-changing events in Prague of his time:  the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the highest ranking Nazi in Czechoslovakia and other areas contiguous, an architect of the Holocaust, and known as the Butcher of Prague.

We put together here Petr Ginz' references to that event, its aftermath, and some research about the references.

Liben.

 Liben itself was of lesser importance to the event than the places where it took place, but Petr wrote of Liben particularly, and was conscious of the Nazi response. See Heydrich at FN 1.


Swastika shape, adopted and adapted by Nazis, but not original to them

Nazi:  The swastika shape is also from the Sanskritl  This illustration is a long big-hat hatpin, predating World War II. See Hatpins Collection Tour, Swastika or Sanskrit

Liben.

Liben was a district of Prague that was closed while the Germans tried to find those who helped partisans who attacked high-ranking Nazi, Reinhard Heydrich, see ://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/biographies/index.html/. Petr writes that Germans shoot others in reaction. Diary Pages 110, 113. The History Place notes thousands killed.

Look up the Liben area.

Noted resident:  Novelist Bohumil Hrabal lived in Liben, and painted a wall with himself and cats, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohumil_Hrabal.  Hrabal wrote "Closely Observed Trains," at www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/cteq/02/23/closely_observed.html, and it was the basis of a 1966 film, same name. See also art-bin.com/art/ahrabaleng.html.
  • Petr Ginz - Theatrical.
There is now a play about Petr Ginz, adapted by Peter Went, see ://closelyobservedproductions.blogspot.com/2008/01/petr-ginz-latest-news.html.  That "Closely Observed Productions" site takes its name from the same Bohumil Hrabal, and his "Closely Observed Trains." See also ://www.jewishmuseum.cz/en/avice19.htm, and the play at the Prague Fringe Festival 2008. See also sister of Petr Ginz, Chava Pressburger, approving the work so it must be authentic, see ://www.expats.cz/prague/article/fringe-fest-2008/the-diary-of-petr-ginz/

Context of Heydrich, importance - see FN 1


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FN 1   Reinhard Heydrich:  An Introduction, two starting sources. Then go to Youtube and see footage of the funeral, at which Himmler spoke; and other film.  This event features frequently in Petr Ginz' diary, sometimes in passing mention, others offer new details.

1.  Heydrich.  See biography and historical chronology of events at the cited History Place, at ://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/biographies/heydrich-biography.htm/ That provides the traditional format for a narrative chronology.  Scroll down and find the Heydrich as Protector of Czechoslovakia.  He is the one who set up the ghetto at Theresienstadt for Jews as soon as he took over his position; he liked his green Mercedes; and then read about the assassination. Details: he didn't die from fragments of the bomb, he died from the blood poisoning from the bits of car upholstery, steel, and even his own uniform that lodged in his spleen.  Where else would you learn that?

2.  Heydrich.  The History Site gives much scholarly detail.  More interesting, though, and with the same basic information but given with a voice that has an authentic real-person flair, is a site about Heydrich in a different format - would you believe the History of Clothing, at  ://histclo.com/bio/h/bio-heyd.html/. See introduction to the biographical details at http://histclo.com/bio/bio.html.  There is also a main Holocaust page. But clothing?

This source is odd - "Historical Boys Clothing"- is a large site that consists of photographs accompanied by discussion and biographies - odd and interesting. So, enjoy the web, and vet everything on your own.

  • Heydrich appears at that Historical Boys Clothing site in lederhosen with his wife in dirndl and small son, in his biographical section.
  • The biographical account appears to be typed into English by a non-English-speaker, with spelling or proof-reading errors, but the information to us (not expert); looks overall reliable. And we read the words more closely because we had to figure out some of them. Skimming not as easy.
  • Note that the assassination was by Czechs trained in Britain by British, and not actually carried out by British operatives, but that fact is corrected later by the speaker himself in the section entitled "Asassination - May 1942" and the Czech operatives Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik are named.
  • Who is speaking-writing? We would like a name. The sources for the information are given, but not the identity of the voice.

Fair use quote, spellings retained: a real human being did this, and one who is not a spell-checker-proofer. Fine.
Heydrich, is today known to the world as "The Hangman". He is considered by most to be the architect of the Holocaust. Adolf Eichmann is often seen as the director of the Holocaust. Eichmannwas in fact was primarily the administrator working on logistical problems. It is Heydrich more than any other single individual who planned the Holocaust and set the machinery of industrial killing in motion. Only his assisanation by British agents prevented him from seeing it through to fruition. And he would have been central to plans being prepared for the Slavs. He was beginning plans for an ethnic cleaning operation in Czechoslovakia aimed at deporting the Czechs. Heydrich at the time of his death was the third most powerful individual in NAZI Germany and in all liklihood if he had lived and the NAZIs had won the War would have been the second F├╝hrer.

Was Heydrich the first to use the term, "final solution?" Again, a fair use quote unedited:

Heydrich eventuallycame to believce that the "Jewish question" could not be solved by emmigration. About 200,000 German Jews had emmigrated, but because of the Anschluss and the seizure of Czecheslovakia, there were more Jews in the Reich and NAZI-controlled teritory than when the NAZIs seized power in 1933. After the success in the West and the defeat of the French, Heydrich wrote to the Reich Foreign Secretary Joachim von Ribbentrop that emigration no longer be seen as a sollution and that "A territorial Final Solution has thus become necessary." [Fleming, p. 44.] Not only did Heydrich change his mind about emmigration, he evebtually prohibited emiigration so that more Jews could be killed, referring to the "Final Sollution" (May 1941).

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