Kobylisy Shooting Range
Kobylisy Shooting Range is a former military shooting range located in Kobylisy, a northern suburb of Prague, Czech Republic. The shooting range was established in 1889–1891, on a site, at the time far outside the city, as a training facility for the Austro-Hungarian army. During the Nazi occupation it was used for mass executions as part of retaliatory measures against the Czech people after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in 1942. About 550 Czech patriots of every social rank lost their lives here, most of them between 30 May and 3 July 1942, when executions took place every day; the bodies of the executed were subsequently incinerated in Strašnice Crematorium. The site was converted to a memorial after World War II, its current dimensions date to the 1970s when the large paneláks of a new housing estate encroached upon it. Kobylisy Shooting Range has had the status of national cultural monument since 1978. Today it is accessible and is within ten minutes' walk of the Kobylisy or Ládví metro stations.
Jan Auerhan, director of the State Bureau of Statistics Gen. Alois Eliáš, prime minister František Erben, Sokol member and gymnast Lt. Col. Josef Mašín soldier, member of the Three Kings resistance group Matěj Pavlík-Gorazd, bishop of the Czechoslovak Orthodox Church canonised as saint Gorazd Františka Plamínková, feminist Evžen Rošický, athlete Vladislav Vančura, physician and film director 26 citizens of Lidice History of the site, complete lists of the executed, photogallery Description of the site
The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
Government in exile
A government in exile is a political group which claims to be a country or semi-sovereign state's legitimate government, but is unable to exercise legal power and instead resides in another state or foreign country. Governments in exile plan to one day return to their native country and regain formal power. A government in exile differs from a rump state in the sense that a rump state controls at least part of its former territory. For example, during World War I, nearly all of Belgium was occupied by Germany, but Belgium and its allies held on to a small slice in the country's west. A government in exile, in contrast, has lost all its territory. Exiled governments tend to occur during wartime occupation, or in the aftermath of a civil war, revolution, or military coup. For example, during German expansion in World War II, some European governments sought refuge in the United Kingdom, rather than face destruction at the hands of Nazi Germany. A government in exile may form from widespread belief in the illegitimacy of a ruling government.
Due to the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, for instance, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces was formed by groups whose members sought to end the rule of the ruling Ba'ath Party. The effectiveness of a government in exile depends on the amount of support it can receive, either from foreign governments or from the population of its own country; some exiled governments come to develop into a formidable force, posing a serious challenge to the incumbent regime of the country, while others are maintained chiefly as a symbolic gesture. The phenomenon of a government in exile predates the formal utilization of the term. In periods of monarchical government, exiled monarchs or dynasties sometimes set up exile courts—as the House of Stuart did when driven from their throne by Oliver Cromwell and again at the Glorious Revolution; the House of Bourbon would be another example because it continued to be recognized by other countries at the time as the legitimate government of France after it was overthrown by the populace during the French Revolution.
This continued to last through the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Napoleonic Wars from 1803-04 to 1815. With the spread of constitutional monarchy, monarchical governments which were exiled started to include a prime minister, such as the Dutch government during World War II headed by Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy. International law recognizes that governments in exile may undertake many types of actions in the conduct of their daily affairs; these actions include: becoming a party to a bilateral or international treaty amending or revising its own constitution maintaining military forces retaining, or newly obtaining, diplomatic recognition from other states issuing identity cards allowing the formation of new political parties holding electionsIn cases where a host country holds a large expatriate population from a government in exile's home country, or an ethnic population from that country, the government in exile might come to exercise some administrative functions within such a population.
For example, the WWII Provisional Government of Free India had such authority among the ethnically Indian population of British Malaya, with the consent of the Japanese military authorities. Governments in exile may have little or no recognition from other states; some exiled governments have some characteristics in common with rump states. Such disputed or in exile cases are noted in the tables below; these governments in exile were created by deposed governments or rulers who continue to claim legitimate authority of the state they once controlled. These governments in exile were created by deposed governments or rulers who continue to claim legitimate authority of the state they once controlled but whose state no longer exists. Government of the Republic of China: The Taipei-based Republic of China government does not regard itself as a government-in-exile, but is claimed to be such by some participants in the debate on the political status of Taiwan. In addition to the island of Taiwan and some other islands it controls, the Republic of China formally maintains claims over territory now controlled by the People's Republic of China as well as some parts of Afghanistan, India, Myanmar, Pakistan and Tajikistan.
The usual formal reasoning on which this "government-in-exile" claim is based relies on an argument that the sovereignty of Taiwan was not legitimately handed to the Republic of China at the end of World War II, on that basis the Republic of China is located in foreign territory, therefore making it a government in exile. By contrast, this theory is not accepted by those who view the sovereignty of Taiwan as having been legitimately returned to the Republic of China at the end of the war. Both the People's Republic of China government and the Kuomintang in Republic of China hold the latter view. However, there are some who do not accept that the sovereignty of Taiwan was legitimately returned to the Republic of China at the end of the war nor that the Republic of China is a government-in-exile, China's territory does not include Taiwan; the current Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan is inclined to this view, supports Taiwan Independence. These governments in exile claim legitimacy of autonomous territories of another state and have been created by deposed governments or rulers, who do not claim independence as a separate state.
These governments have been created in exile by political organisations and opposition parties, aspire to become actual governing authorities or claim to be legal successors to deposed governments, have been created as alternatives to incumbe
Russian Liberation Army
The Russian Liberation Army was a collaborationist formation composed of Russians, that fought under German command during World War II. The army was led by Andrey Vlasov, a Red Army general who had defected, members of the army are referred to as Vlasovtsy. In 1944, it became known as the Armed Forces of the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia. Vlasov agreed to collaborate with Nazi Germany after having been captured on the Eastern Front; the soldiers under his command were former Soviet prisoners of war but included White Russian émigrés, some of whom were veterans of the anti-communist White Army from the Russian Civil War. On 14 November 1944, it was renamed the Armed Forces of the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia, with the KONR being formed as a political body to which the army pledged loyalty. On 28 January 1945, it was declared that the Russian divisions no longer form part of the German Army, but would directly be under the command of KONR. Russian volunteers who enlisted into the German Army wore the patch of the Russian Liberation Army.
These volunteers were not under control. A number of them were employed at the Battle of Stalingrad, where it was estimated that as much as one quarter of the 6th Army's strength was Soviet citizens. Soon, several German commanders began to use them in small armed units for various tasks, including combat against Soviet partisans, driving vehicles, carrying wounded, delivering supplies. Adolf Hitler allowed the idea of the Russian Liberation Army to circulate in propaganda literature, as long as no formations of the sort were permitted; as a result, some Red Army soldiers surrendered or defected in hopes of joining an army that did not exist. Many Soviet prisoners of war volunteered to serve under German command just to get out of Nazi POW camps, which were notorious for starving Soviet prisoners to death. Meanwhile, the newly-captured Soviet general Vlasov, along with his German and Russian allies, was lobbying the German high command, hoping that the green light would be given for the formation of a real armed force that would be under Russian control.
They were able to win over Alfred Rosenberg to some extent. Although Hitler's staff refused to consider the idea and his allies reasoned that Hitler would come to realize the futility of a war against the USSR without winning over the Russian people, respond to Vlasov's demands. Irrespective of the political wrangling over Vlasov and the status of the ROA, by mid-1943 several hundred thousand ex-Soviet volunteers were serving in the German forces, either as Hiwis or in Eastern volunteer units; these latter were deployed in a security role at the rear of the armies and army groups in the East, where they constituted a major part of the German effort to counter the activity of Soviet partisan forces, dating as far back as early 1942. The Germans were, always concerned about their reliability. Following the German defeats in the summer of 1943 the units began to disintegrate. On 12 September for example, 2nd Army had to withdraw Sturm-Btl. AOK 2 in order to deal with what was described as "several mutinies and desertions of Eastern units".
A 14 September communication from the army states that in the recent period, Hiwi absenteeism had risen considerably. Following a series of attempted or successful mutinies, a surge in desertions, the Germans decided in September 1942 that the reliability of the units had fallen to a level where they were more a liability than an asset. In an October 1943 report, the 8th Army concluded grimly: "All local volunteers are unreliable during enemy contact. Principal reason of unreliability is the employment of these volunteers in the East." Two days the German army had given permission to the KTB to take harsh measures in the event of further cases of rebellion or unreliability, investing regimental commanders with far-reaching powers to hold summary courts and execute the verdicts. Since it was felt that the reliability of Russian volunteers would improve if they were removed from contact with the local population, it was decided to send them to the Western Front, the majority of them were re-deployed in late 1943 or early 1944.
Many of these battalions were integrated into the divisions in the West. A number of the Russian soldiers were on guard in Normandy on D-Day but, without the equipment or motivation to fight the Allies, most promptly surrendered. However, there were instances of bitter fighting to the end, triggered by counter-productive propaganda from the Allies that promised quick repatriation of soldiers to the Soviet Union after they gave up. A total of 71 "Eastern" battalions served on the Eastern Front, while 42 battalions served in Belgium, Finland and Italy. An aerial contingent of Russian volunteers was formed as Ostfliegerstaffel in December 1943, only to be disbanded in July 1944 before seeing combat; the Russian airmen were regrouped into the Night Harassment Squadron 8, whose first and only mission took place on 13 April 1945, when they attacked a Soviet bridgehead at Erlenhof, on the Oder River. The ROA did not exist un
Jan Kubiš was a Czech soldier, one of a team of Czechoslovak British-trained paratroopers sent to eliminate acting Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, in 1942 as part of Operation Anthropoid. Jan Kubiš was born in 1913 in Moravia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Jan was a Boy Scout. Jan Kubiš, having been an active member of Orel, started his military career as a Czechoslovak army conscript on 1 November 1935 by 31st Infantry Regiment "Arco" in Jihlava. After passing petty officer course and promotion to corporal, Kubiš served some time in Znojmo before being transferred to 34th infantry regiment "Marksman Jan Čapek" in Opava, where he served at guard battalion stationed in Jakartovice. Here, Kubiš reached promotion to platoon sergeant. During the Czechoslovak mobilization of 1938, Kubiš served as deputy commander of a platoon in Czechoslovak border fortifications in the Opava area. Following the Munich Agreement and demobilization, Kubiš was discharged from army on 19 October 1938 and returned to his civilian life, working at a brick factory.
At the eve of World War II, on 16 June 1939, Kubiš fled Czechoslovakia and joined a forming Czechoslovak unit in Kraków, Poland. Soon he was transferred to Algiers, he received his Croix de guerre there. A month after the German victory in the Battle of France, Kubiš fled to Great Britain, where he received training as a paratrooper; the Free Czechoslovaks, as he and other self-exiled Czechoslovaks were called, were stationed at Cholmondeley Castle near Malpas in Cheshire. He and his best friend, Jozef Gabčík, both befriended the Ellison family, from Ightfield, whom they met while in Whitchurch, Shropshire. In 1941, Kubiš was dropped into Czechoslovakia as part of Operation Anthropoid, where he died following the successful assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, his remains were buried secretly in a mass grave at the Ďáblice cemetery in Prague. Since this was unknown after World War II, Karel Čurda, the member of their squad who betrayed them to the Nazis, was coincidentally buried at the cemetery.
However, in 1990 mass graves were excavated and a memorial site with symbolic gravestones was established instead. In 2009, a memorial was built at the place of the attack on Heydrich. Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš were airlifted along with seven soldiers from Czechoslovakia’s army-in-exile in the United Kingdom and two other groups named Silver A and Silver B by a Royal Air Force Halifax of No. 138 Squadron into Czechoslovakia at 10pm on 28 December 1941. In Prague, they contacted several families and anti-Nazi organizations who helped them during the preparations for the assassination. On 27 May 1942, Heydrich had planned to meet Hitler in Berlin. German documents suggest that Hitler intended to transfer Heydrich to German occupied France, where the French resistance was gaining ground. Heydrich would have to pass a section where the Dresden-Prague road merged with a road to the Troja Bridge; the junction, in the Prague suburb of Libeň, was well-suited for the attack because motorists have to slow for a hairpin bend.
At 10:30 AM, Heydrich proceeded on his daily commute from his home in Panenské Břežany to Prague Castle. Gabčík and Kubiš waited at the tram stop on the curve near Bulovka Hospital in Prague 8-Libeň; as Heydrich’s open-topped Mercedes-Benz neared the pair, Gabčík stepped in front of the vehicle, trying to open fire, but his Sten gun jammed. Heydrich ordered SS-Oberscharführer Klein, to stop the car; when Heydrich stood up to try to shoot Gabčík, Kubiš threw a modified anti-tank grenade at the vehicle, its fragments ripped through the car’s right-rear fender, embedding shrapnel and fibres from the upholstery into Heydrich’s body, upon detonation, wounding him. Kubiš was injured by the shrapnel. Heydrich staggered out of the car unaware of his shrapnel injuries, with his gun in his hand. Heydrich chased Kubiš and tried to return fire. Kubiš pedaled away. Heydrich became weak from shock and collapsed. Heydrich, still with pistol in hand, gripped his left flank, bleeding profusely, he ordered Klein to chase Gabčík on foot.
Klein was wounded in the pursuit. A Czech woman flagged down a delivery van. Heydrich was first placed in the driver's cab, but complained that the van's movement was causing him pain, he was placed in the back of the van, on his stomach, taken to the emergency room at Bulovka Hospital. Heydrich had suffered severe injuries to his left side, with major damage to his diaphragm and lung, he had fractured a rib. Dr Slanina packed the chest wound, while Dr Walter Diek tried unsuccessfully to remove the splinters, he decided to operate. This was carried out by Drs Diek and Hohlbaum. Heydrich was given several blood transfusions. A splenectomy was performed; the chest wound, left lung, diaphragm were all debrided and the wounds closed. Himmler ordered Dr Karl Gebhardt to fly to Prague to assume care. Despite a fever, Heydrich's recovery appeared to progress well. Dr Theodor Morell, Hitler's personal physician, suggested the use of sulfonamide, but Gebhardt, thinking Heydrich would recover, refused. On 2 June, during a visit by Himmler, Heydrich reconciled himself to his fate by reciting a part of one of his father's operas.
Heydrich slipped into a coma after Himml
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was a protectorate of Nazi Germany established on 16 March 1939 following the German occupation of Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939. Earlier, following the Munich Agreement of September 1938, Nazi Germany had incorporated the Czech Sudetenland territory as a Reichsgau; the protectorate's population was majority ethnic Czech, while the Sudetenland was majority ethnic German. Following the establishment of the independent Slovak Republic on 14 March 1939, the German occupation of the Czech rump state the next day, Adolf Hitler established the protectorate on 16 March 1939 by a proclamation from Prague Castle; the German government justified its intervention by claiming that Czechoslovakia was descending into chaos as the country was breaking apart on ethnic lines, that the German military was seeking to restore order in the region. Czechoslovakia at the time under President Emil Hácha had pursued a pro-German foreign policy. Hácha was appointed president of the protectorate the same day.
The Protectorate was a nominally autonomous Nazi-administered territory which the German government considered part of the Greater German Reich. The state's existence came to an end with the surrender of Germany to the Allies in 1945. On 10 October 1938, when Czechoslovakia was forced to accept the terms of the Munich Agreement, Germany incorporated the Sudetenland, on the Czechoslovak border with Germany and Austria proper, with its majority of ethnic German inhabitants, directly into the Reich. Five months when the Slovak Diet declared the independence of Slovakia, Hitler summoned Czechoslovak President Emil Hácha to Berlin and intimidated him into accepting the German occupation of the Czech rump state and its reorganisation as a German protectorate. Hácha remained as technical head of state with the title of State President, but Germany rendered him all but powerless, vesting real power in the Reichsprotektor, who served as Hitler's personal representative. To appease outraged international opinion, Hitler appointed former foreign minister Konstantin von Neurath to the post.
German officials manned departments analogous to cabinet ministries, small German control offices were established locally. The SS assumed police authority; the new authorities dismissed Jews from the civil service and placed them outside of the legal system. Political parties and trade unions were banned, the press and radio were subjected to harsh censorship. Many local Communist Party leaders fled to the Soviet Union; the population of the protectorate was mobilized for labor that would aid the German war effort, special offices were organized to supervise the management of industries important to that effort. The Germans drafted Czechs to work in coal mines, in the iron and steel industry, in armaments production. Consumer-goods production, much diminished, was directed toward supplying the German armed forces; the protectorate's population was subjected to rationing. German rule was moderate by Nazi standards during the first months of the occupation; the Czech government and political system, reorganized by Hácha, continued in formal existence.
The Gestapo directed its activities against Czech politicians and the intelligentsia. The eventual goal of the German state under Nazi leadership was to eradicate Czech nationality through assimilation and deportation and to exterminate the Czech intelligentsia. In 1940, in a secret plan on Germanization of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, it was declared that those considered to be racially Mongoloid and the Czech intelligentsia were not to be Germanized, that about half of the Czech population were suitable for Germanization. Generalplan Ost assumed; the Czech intellectual élites were to be removed from Europe completely. The authors of Generalplan Ost believed it would be best if they emigrated overseas, as in Siberia, they were considered a threat to German rule. Just like Jews, Poles and several other nations, Czechs were considered to be untermenschen by the Nazi state; the Czechs demonstrated against the occupation on 28 October 1939, the 21st anniversary of Czechoslovak independence.
The death on 15 November 1939 of a medical student, Jan Opletal, wounded in the October violence, precipitated widespread student demonstrations, the Reich retaliated. Politicians were arrested en masse, as were teachers. On 17 November, all universities and colleges in the protectorate were closed, nine student leaders were executed, 1,200 were sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp within Nazi Germany. During World War II, Hitler decided that Neurath was not treating the Czechs harshly enough and adopted a more radical policy in the protectorate. On 29 September 1941, Hitler app
The Petschek Palace is a neoclassicist building in Prague. It was built between 1923 and 1929 by the architect Max Spielmann upon a request from the merchant banker Julius Petschek and was called "The Bank House Petschek and Co." Despite its historicizing look, the building was a modern one, being constructed of reinforced concrete and air-conditioned. It had tube post, phone switch-board, printing office, a paternoster lift, massive safes in the sublevel floor; the building was sold by the Petschek family before the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the family left the country. It was during the war years that the place gained its notoriety, as it became the headquarters of Gestapo for the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, it was here where the interrogations and torturing of the Czech resistance members took place, as well as the courts-martial established by Reinhard Heydrich which sent most of the prisoners to death or to Nazi concentration camps. Many people were put to death in the building itself.
A Blue plaque that commemorates the spirit of these war heroes was unveiled on the corner of the building. In 1948 the building was acquired by the then-Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Trade. Today it is the residence of a part of the Czech Ministry of Trade. In 1989 the building became a National Cultural Monument. Petschek Villa Radio Prague article in English, March 24, 2010, by Christian Falvey Technical info, in Czech Info about the founding family, in Czech