Vandal defaces Prague mural honoring Operation Anthropoid

The Prague 8 Town Hall has filed a criminal complaint against the unknown vandal, who has damaged the mural for the third time.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 02.06.2023 10:05:00 (updated on 02.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A mural in Prague 8 honoring the Czechoslovak paratroopers who assassinated acting Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich during World War II has been defaced for the third time.

Photos posted on social media show the word “censored” in Czech covering the lightning-shaped letters of the Nazi SS in brown paint. The figure of one of the paratroopers is also defaced, and words roughly translating to “Nazi bastard” are next to him. Prague 8 officials say they believe the same person is responsible for all three incidents.

“We've really run out of patience with this fool who is damaging the memory of Operation Anthropoid. That is why we are filing a criminal complaint for the offense of damaging someone else's property. I hope the police will uncover him and the court will punish him fairly," said Prague 8 Mayor Ondřej Gros said on social media.

A post on Prague 8’s Facebook page says the vandalism is from someone who is ignorant of history and does not seem to understand the meaning of the mural. Prague 8 Councilor Jana Solomonová, responsible for culture and heritage preservation, said she is extremely saddened by the repeated vandalism.

“It is a work of art in a public space and it is good that it evokes emotions in people, that is part of art. However, there is another way to express your opinion than destroying someone else's work, regardless of the fact that the repair is financially demanding,” she said.

The estimated cost of the mural's repair has not been disclosed. Prague 8 said it cleans illegal graffiti continuously throughout the year, but the district at the same time supports street art as a beneficial element in public space. Street art, however, must be based on the agreement between the property owner and the artists.

Mural was part of a National Gallery project

The mural was created in 2021 on Zenklova Street in Prague’s Libeň district near the site where paratroopers ambushed Heydrich in his car on May 27, 1942. Heydrich died from blood poisoning on June 4. After Heydrich died, the villages of Lidice and Ležáky were destroyed in retribution. The paratroopers were tacked down and killed on June 18.

The mural, designed by architecture student Jakub Marek, was part of a project overseen by the National Gallery Prague to reclaim unsightly urban spaces. Prague 8 said that the mural, done in a graphic-novel style, is a way to communicate history to the younger generation. Another monument to the paratroopers, three metal statues on a tall plinth, was unveiled nearby in 2009. 

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