Czechs Are Not Cowards, Says Graffiti Memorial to WWII Resistance Fighters

Viral marketing campaign or salute to Czech courage? Prague graffiti marks 75 years since the heroic acts that took out Reinhard Heydrich

This year has seen a number of historic re-enactments, memorial ceremonies, and the unveiling of two new plaques all commemorating 75 years since Operation Anthropoid, the plot to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich which resulted in his death and irrevocably shaped the events of WWII and the fate of the Czechoslovak nation.

Yet another memorial appeared in Prague over the weekend, one offering a surprisingly modern tribute to this chapter in world history.

The trailing 60-square-meter graffiti message appeared across a wall in Prague’s Těšnov neighborhood this Sunday—June 4 was the day that Heydrich died at Bulovka hospital in 1942—reading “Češi nejsou srab” (Czechs are not cowards).

Photo: Bonton Films
Photo: Bonton Films

According to the local graffiti artists who gathered to tag the wall, their aim was to recognize the heroic acts of paratroopers Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík while drawing attention to the role of the numerous other members of the Czech resistance whose contributions to the assassination effort often cost them their lives.

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Cédric Jimenez, the French director of the newly released film The Man With the Iron Heart (HHhH), says the stories of the resistance and the belief that the Czechs acted bravely, inspired his new film, which premiered onSunday in the Czech Republic and is based on the bestselling novel HHhH.

Photo: Bonton Films
Photo: Bonton Films

“Our film is about one of the most dangerous representatives of the Nazi regime and the brave men and women of the Czechoslovak resistance who took care of its destruction,” he said.

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“The heroes of the story were well aware of the risks and knew they might have to sacrifice their own lives. Still, they went fully into it. The interest of the country overcame their own safety and never surrendered their conviction.”

The opening of the feature film in Czech cinemas was presented by Martin Stropnický, Minister of Defense of the Czech Republic.

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“The assassination of the representatives of the Nazi occupation powers Reinhard Heydrich is one of the most important moments of our modern history, the legacy of which must be kept for the next generation,” he said in an official letter in which he accepted his auspices of the film.

The film stars Jason Clarke (Heydrich), Rosamund Pike (Lina Heydrich), Mia Wasikowska (Anna Novakova), Jack O’Connell (Jan Kubiš) and Jack Reynor (Josef Gabčík) and Stephen Graham (Heinrich Himmler) and is now playing in Czech cinemas.

Unlike last year’s Anthropoid, also devoted to the Heydrich plot, only segments of HHhH were filmed in Prague; most of it was shot on location in Budapest.

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