Remembering the real heroes of Anthropoid

Sep 11, 2016   //   by Nicholas Milton   //   Blog  //  No Comments










anthropoid_filmIf you want to know more about the real life heroes behind the hit film Anthropoid currently on release then visit the Warwickshire town of Leamington Spa. The town was the location for the Free Czech Army during World War Two and in its ornate Jephson Gardens is the only memorial to the Czech soldiers who died in what was one of the most daring missions of the war.

The film stars Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders) as Josef Gabčík and Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey) as Jan Kubiš, two Czech agents sent in 1942 to assassinate Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich, the Butcher of Prague. Anthrpoid was the codename for the operation to kill Heydrich, who as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia (now the Czech Republic) was the third highest ranking Nazi and the architect of the Holocaust.

Murphy, who will next be seen in another war drama, Christophers Nolans Dunkirk, said “I think the story is not very well known outside of the Czech Republic – I think it will be a revelation to cinemagoers to realise that this incident in history took place.

The Free Czech Army made Leamington Spa its home after the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis in 1940. Some 4,000 soldiers and other military personnel were based in and around the town during the war including at nearby Walton Hall which was used as a training base.

The memorial in the centre of the town is in the shape of a parachute and was erected in 1968. It contains the names of all the seven brave men who parachuted into Czechoslovakia in the assassination attempt. But the fountain is now in desperate need of repair and to help the Friends of the Czechoslovak Memorial Fountain has been formed to raise funds to renovate this important memorial.

Friends spokesman Alan Griffin said: “Nearly all of the old Czech soldiers who funded the erection of the fountain back in 1968 have now passed away but it is very important that those of our generation make every effort to ensure that such a significant international memorial doesn’t fall to pieces through lack of interest”.

The Friends have produced an illustrated booklet which tells the story of the fountain and the men who too part in Anthropoid. Copies of the booklet, priced £3.50, are available from Leamington History group



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Nicholas Milton

I am a marketing and communication expert with over 20 years experience. Over this time I have campaigned on issues I feel passionately about - conservation, climate change, racial equality, land reform, rural poverty and most recently international development. I am also a successful freelance journalist and have been published in the Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph and the Independent.

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