Hello everyone, this article will not be directly related to tanks, but to history itself. In the past, I translated an article called “Inconvenient Heroes – Part I” by Václav Vlk sr., dispelling the myth of massive Czech collaboration with the nazis in WW2. Today, I am going to continue with second part. Inconvenient Heroes by Václav Vlk Sr. – Part II In order to explain our own history and to get rid of layers of propaganda lies, we will use the documents, created by the “other side” – the nazis. Let’s start with a quote from a letter, written by R.Heydrich to Martin Bormann on 18.5.1942, shortly before his assassination, where he openly stated the pillars of his policy: “The main idea is to strenghten the German influence (in the Protektorat) as much as possible without further interruptions, which means to practically take away any authonomy, to take way the Czech national identity itself from the people, to take away their leadership, to divide the people and to support everything that is German…” (1) Newly published materials consist of the so-called Pannwitz report, or (in its full name) “Closing report of IV.Department of SD about the current status of Heydrich assassination investigation” from 21.7.1942, intended for the main SD office in Berlin for the Chief of SD, Müller (2). It is historically confirmed that Hitler himself knew about the contents of this report and thus it is clear that this report was not biased or lenient in Czech favor. Thus, it is an important document, showing the real state of things in the investigation. Nazi – and later communist – propaganda created a lot of myths about the behavior of Czechs during the occupation, but the reality was different, as shown by the German document, named above. A “Special Committee” was created by the commander of Gestapo in Prague, SS-Standartenführer JUDr. Hans Ullrich Geschke on K.H.Frank’s orders. Here, it’s worth noting that the Gestapo interrogators, working for the committee, were not “dumb brutal thugs”, as they are sometimes depicted in movies. For the beating and torture during interrogations, Gestapo “invited” young SS members (aged up to 20 years) – these were the main direct torturers (dispelling the myth that some young SS members were just “innocent kids pressed by circumstances”, as some people like to point out). Geschke himself was an educated and experienced lawyer and a very active nazi. For example, he personally arrested the former prime minister Alois Eliáš and he personally wrote the prosecution letter, based on which Eliáš was executed. Geschke was also partially responsible for the nazi destruction of village of Ležáky (and the murder of its inhabitants) and he personally also “sentenced” in a secret hearing 294 alleged “helpers” of the Czechoslovak commandos, who assassinated Heydrich to death. He was promoted “for merits” in October 1941 to the rank of SS-Standartenführer (an equivalent of a colonel). At the end of the war, he disappeared and was never found. The Committee worked under direct supervision of a comissar (and from June 1942 he held a rank of senior criminal investigator) SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinz Pannwitz (who also commanded the GII department of Gestapo Prague). He was an interesting character – an illegitimate son of a high German official and a poor girl, he originally was a metalworker – when he lost his job, he used the “vacation” to finish his high school studies, followed by 1,5 years of theology studies, from where he went to work for the police and later for Gestapo. He personally, along with K.H.Frank, commanded the forces attacking the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Prague, where the commandos were hiding after the assassination. He was the first, along with other Gestapo officers, to breach the church, but not out of bravery from his side – he used the local priest as a human shield. This operation was also assisted by Geschke and by SS Gruppenführer Carl von Treunfeld. Later on, Pannwitz’ task was to root out the Soviet spy group “Rote Kapelle”. His final fate is unknown – some reports state that he was arrested by NKVD and transported to Moscow, where he was held for 10 years. After his return to Germany, he allegedly lived well there, becoming an agent of the West-German secret service from August 1956. In Germany, he was never investigated, prosecuted or sentenced for his wartime crimes, committed against the people of the Protektorat, despite the fact that the authorities knew full well who this man was (so much for the “exemplary” way Western Germany “dealt with nazism” and “punished nazis”, unlike us and our “communist criminals”). On the other hand, in East Germany, the chief of Gestapo in Kolín (Czech city) Paul Feustel was sentenced and executed by hanging for his murders of Czech citizens and Major Fritz Gottspfennig, the regional commander of death squads was sentenced to life imprisonment for his crimes. It is worth noting that the Pannwitz report is stored in Bundesarchiv Berlin (main German archive). It was discovered first by Czech historian Jaroslav Čvančara and will be published in Czech (3). It is very important not to mistake this report with earlier literature (S.Breton) or with Pannwitz’ memoirs from 1959 – in fact, these archive documents prove that the memoirs were intentionally distorted in writer’s favour, a thing very common with memoirs (not only for nazis). The Assassination Generally speaking, whenever the assassination of Heydrich operation is mentioned, the subject is usually just the assassination itself, as if the paratrooper units Antropoid, Silver A and Silver B did not have other tasks as well. The Germans were keeping the other part of the operation secret (and so did communits after them). The other task of these groups was to help the bombers navigate towards the Škoda factories in Pilsen, one of the most important wartime weapons manufacturers. Pannwitz states on this matter: “On 17.4.1942, the assassins left for Pilsen, because that’s where the bombing of the Škoda plants was supposed to be organized, after the operation was ordered by Bartoš (Motyčka), based on his regular radio communication with London. The assassins lived (along with other agents) in Pilsen in a house of seamstress by the name of Aloisie Hrdličková, born on 18.2.1891 in Milevsko, living in Pilsen, Klatovská street 76 and in a house of landlord Věra Kučerová, born on 15.6.1923, in Resslova street 4, Pilsen.” (this confirms that the people, participating in these operations – definitely punishable by death – were no “James Bond” trained agents, but regular people) “The operation on 26.4.1942 went exactly as planned. The agents, tasked with the operation, set two barns on fire – one Continue reading →

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