The assassination of Heydrich, one of the masterminds of the Holocaust, was carried out on May 27, 1942 by paratroopers Jozef Gabčík, Jan Kubiš and Josef Valčík. While the representative Reich Protector died of his injuries a week later, the assassins, on the recommendation of resistance fighter Petr Fafko (†49), together with other paratroopers, hid in the crypt of the Orthodox church in Nové Město. There, they were mainly cared for by parish priest Václav Čikl (†42) and chaplain Vladimír Petřek (†34) with the permission of the chairman of the church council of elders, Jan Sonnewend (†61).
The refuge of the heroes managed to remain undiscovered thanks to the absolute dedication of the priests. “Chaplain Dr. Petřek, who organized the entire care, went so far in his personal assistance that he went to empty the bucket with excrement, which served as an emergency toilet, with his own hands. stated the final Gestapo report from the investigation of the case. Bishop Gorazd II. learned about the hiding of the paratroopers only on July 11, the day after the annihilation of the central Bohemian village of Lidice, and immediately ordered their relocation to another hiding place. However, that did not happen.
Betrayal in the name of Čurda
When parachutist Karel Čurda reported his colleagues to the Nazis on June 16, 1942, they soon discovered their hiding place. Early in the morning of June 18, Chaplain Petřek was arrested and after a harsh interrogation, he was taken to the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, where the battles of seven paratroopers with the Germans were already taking place. “Here they tell me to surrender. So I’ll take care of it for you. They say nothing will happen to you and they will treat you like prisoners of war.” said Petřek. The answer was pistol shots and shouts of: “We are czech. We never give up, you hear? Never!”
Process just by eye
After the death of the paratroopers, the fate of the four clergymen was decided on September 4 during a staged reenactment of the court-martial. A day later, Bishop Gorazd II, parish priest Čikl and clergyman Sonnevend were executed in Kobylisy, Vladimír Petřek was shot on September 6. The activity of the Orthodox Church was banned due to its participation in the resistance and was only resumed after the war.