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Jan Kubiš
Born (1913-06-24)June 24, 1913
Died June 18, 1942(1942-06-18) (aged 28)
Place of birth Dolní Vilémovice, Moravia, (now Czech Republic)
Place of death Prague
Buried at Ďáblice cemetery
Allegiance  Czechoslovakia
 France 1939-1940
 United Kingdom
Service/branch French Foreign Legion 1939-1940
Czechoslovakian army in-exile
Years of service 1939-1942
Rank Rotmistr (Staff Sergeant)
Unit Special Operations Executive
Battles/wars

Second World War

Awards Croix de Guerre

Jan Kubiš (24 June 1913 – 18 June 1942) was a Czech soldier, one of a team of Czechoslovak British-trained paratroopers sent to assassinate acting Reichsprotektor (Reich-Protector) of Bohemia and Moravia, SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, in 1942 as part of Operation Anthropoid.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Jan Kubiš was born in 1913 in Dolní Vilémovice, Moravia (now Czech Republic). Jan was a Boy Scout.[1][2] Jan Kubiš, having previously 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, where he entered the French Foreign Legion. He fought in France during the early stage of World War II and 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, Shropshire, 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. The remains of his body 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 also buried at the cemetery. However, in 1990 mass graves were excavated and a memorial site with symbolic gravestones was established instead.[3] In 2009, a memorial was built at the place of the attack on Heydrich.

The assassination in Prague[edit | edit source]

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 (who had different missions) 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.[4]

On 27 May 1942, 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 his driver, 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, and its fragments ripped through the car’s right-rear fender, embedding shrapnel and fibres from the upholstery into Heydrich’s body, even though the grenade failed to enter the car. Kubiš was also injured by the shrapnel. Heydrich, apparently unaware of his shrapnel injuries, got out of the car, returned fire and tried to chase Gabčík but soon collapsed. Klein returned from his abortive attempt to chase Kubiš, and Heydrich ordered him to chase Gabčík. Klein was shot twice by Gabčík (who was now using his revolver) and wounded in the pursuit.[5][6] The assassins were initially convinced that the attack had failed. Heydrich was taken to Bulovka Hospital. There Heydrich went into shock, dying on the morning of 4 June 1942.

Attempted capture of the assassins[edit | edit source]

Bullet-scarred window of the Church of St. Cyril and St. Methodious in Prague where Kubiš and his compatriots were cornered.

Kubiš and his group were found on 18 June in the Church of St. Cyril and St. Methodious in Resslova Street in Prague. In a bloody battle that lasted for two hours, Kubiš was wounded and died shortly after arrival at the hospital.[7] The other parachutists committed suicide to avoid capture after an additional four-hour battle with the SS.[8]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Knobel, Bruno (1962) (in German). Das große Abenteuer Lord Baden-Powells. Zürich: Polygraphischer Verlag AG Zürich. p. 232. 
  2. "Skauting »Historie" (in Czech). Junák - svaz skautů a skautek ČR. http://verejnost.skaut.cz/skauting/historie/. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  3. http://zpravy.ihned.cz/cesko/c1-55848560-cesky-narod-se-zrika-hrdinu-uznava-jen-mucedniky-a-obeti-rika-badatel-cvancara
  4. Burian et al 2002, pp. 48 – 49
  5. Burgess, Alan, Seven Men At Daybreak, p. 160. ISBN 0-553-23508-7
  6. Burian et al 2002, p. 64
  7. McDonald, Callum, The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich: The SS Butcher of Prague. ISBN 0-306-80860-9
  8. Ray R. Cowdery with Peter Vodenka: Reinhard Heydrich: Assassination. Victory WW2 Publishing Ltd. (1994) Lakeville, MN, USA

External links[edit | edit source]


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