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Updated: Apr 4

December 29th often goes unnoticed as we are busy preparing to say goodbye to the old year.

But, this day marks an important moment in Slovak, European, and even global history.

On December 29th, 1941 members of the group Anthropoid were dropped into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia to carry out a top-secret mission.

The British-trained paratroopers Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš who had completed their parachuting and military training in Manchester, England earlier that year, were mobilized by the exiled Czechoslovak government in London. They were to execute a daring, and some would even say insane mission.

The country was broken up in September 1938 and surrendered to Adolf Hitler. The Czech lands came under the occupation of the Third Reich, while Slovakia became a satellite state of the Nazis.

In December 1941, the person in command of the heart of Europe was Reinhard Heydrich. Hitler’s right-hand and the architect of the Holocaust. Known for his cruelty, he was nicknamed the Butcher of Prague.

Heydrich was the target that Gabčík and Kubiš were sent to assassinate. He was one of the highest-ranking and most protected Nazi officials, after Hitler.

It took five months on the ground before the team was ready to execute the mission. They were successful, but both Gabčík and Kubiš, as well as other men and women involved in the operation, would pay for it with their own lives.

As tragic as it was, the event overturned the course of the war and changed the world forever.

So let us remember that momentous December 29th.

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