Operation Anthropoid Monument
2012 marked the seventieth anniversary of one of the most daring and courageous acts undertaken against the Nazi regime. Operation Anthropoid was a mission carried out by Czechoslovak parachutists trained by the British SOE (Special Operations Executive) between December 1941 and May 1942. Its successful objective was the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia.
Although this act of resistance remains controversial because it led indirectly to the appalling massacre at Lidice, there is little doubt that the death of ‘The Butcher of Prague’ represented a significant blow to Hitler’s plans for the forced repatriation or extermination of the Slavs.
The monument, installed in 2009 near the point where Heydrich’s car was attacked, was designed by sculptors David Moješčík and Michal Šmeral in partnership with architects Miroslava Tůmová and Jiří Gulbis. The triangular sheet-metal plinth is intended to reflect the design of the Czech flag, and its rusted appearance to indicate the vulnerability of the Czech state. The posture of the three resistance fighters, with arms oustretched, was chosen deliberately to mirror that of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian Man’: it’s a reference to the name ‘Anthropoid’ – from the Greek word for ‘mankind’.