Assassination attempt on August Gölzer
In the final phase of World War II perpetrated on 7. February 1945 the cousins Alois Bauer and Vladimír Blažka in Brno an assassination attempt on August Gölzer , a representative of the German protectorate in occupied Czechoslovakia . After Reinhard Heydrich , who was fatally assassinated by Czechoslovak parachutists in May 1942 , SS-Hauptsturmführer August Gölzer was the second highest SS officer who was targeted by the resistance in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and was killed. The two assassins were members of the Předvoj resistance group (and its operational defense group Národní revoluční armáda ), one of several resistance groups in the protectorate that fought for the liberation of the country with military means.
Procedure and consequences
Assassination attempt and manhunt
On the evening of February 7, 1945, Bauer and Blažka spoke to the SS officer in front of his house and fired three to four shots at him from a pistol. Gölzer was injured, taken to the hospital two hours later and operated on, but died that same night. The Gestapo and the Brno Criminal Police immediately imposed a strict blackout on news. It was not until March 22nd, after rapid night raids, further intensive searches and denunciation, the Gestapo succeeded in arresting the two resistance fighters. A simultaneous arrest operation against members of the Předvoj resistance group also contributed to this. Through interrogations by the Gestapo, some of which were very harsh, it was possible to obtain information about Vladimír Tišnovský , who was a prominent member of the resistance group and was arrested as a result. In an equally tough interrogation, Tišnovský revealed the names of Bauer and Blažka to the Gestapo after he had been promised criminal advantages. Alois Bauer was arrested on March 22, 1945, and shortly afterwards Vladimír Blažka, when a pistol was found that could be identified as the murder weapon.
The two assassins were transferred to the Kaunitz student dormitory (Kounicovy koleje) in Brno, which was used as an internment and prison camp at the time of the Gestapo Protectorate . This was followed by lengthy, sometimes brutal interrogations, which were carried out, among other things, by the criminal adviser of the Brno Gestapo and head of the execution department, Otto Koslowski . They came to an end on April 13, 1945. On this day the Minister of State in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia with the rank of Reich Minister, Karl Hermann Frank , arrived in Brno on a special train. He had the documentation and minutes of the Gölzer case handed over to him and, as part of a short process, ordered an "immediate physical liquidation" of the assassin. The executions took place on April 14, 1945 (twelve days before the liberation of Brno) in a courtyard of the Kaunitz dormitory; those executed were buried in a mass grave in the city cemetery. The shootings took Otto Koslowski in person with his service weapon. An originally planned public execution near the crime scene was abandoned.
There was a special reason why Koslowski carried out the executions personally: When Koslowski was brought to court in Brno in 1947, he stated that during the interrogation of Vladimír Blažka he had learned that it was not Gölzer who was supposed to be the target of the assassination himself. Gölzer was the victim of a mix-up by the assassins. In July 1945, the bodies of the two resistance fighters were exhumed and solemnly buried in a grave of honor in the Brno Central Cemetery.
- Vladimír Tišnovský , an activist of the Předvoj group and its operational defense group Národní revoluční armáda (NRA, National Revolutionary Army), who had numerous contacts with other people and groups of the communist resistance, was brought before a people's court as a denunciator in 1946 . With the help of other participants at the time, he was able to prove that he had betrayed the names of the assassins under duress and torture. He was acquitted.
- Otto Koslowski , who arrested, interrogated and then shot the two resistance fighters, fled to Bavaria on May 6, 1945 and lived there under his name. In September 1946 he was arrested as a war criminal by the US military administration and extradited to Czechoslovakia in January 1947. In the trial against him he was sentenced to death in April 1947 and executed on May 3, 1947.
Lack of reception due to cover-up
The coverage of the attack was marginal both at the time of the attack (and immediately after it) and after the end of the war, which prevented a greater reception of the attack - the exact circumstances are in the dark because the interest in this case has only grown in recent years is. It could not be clearly established which chain of command led to the attack: Was it or was it leading members of the resistance, was it the leadership of Předvoj, was it an action by the two of them, agreed with other members of Předvoj (or the NRA) an action on your own? The role of intelligence services (or, as in the case of the assassination attempt on Heydrich, the Czechoslovak government in exile ) has not yet been investigated (as of 2018). The historian Jiří Skoupý , who has been dealing with the case for several years and made it known, provides two explanations for this :
- The news blackout imposed immediately after the crime by the Protectorate authorities and the Gestapo, which served to cover up: On the day of the Gölzer assassination, the suicide of SS-Standartenführer Ernst Wille, who served in Gaya and shot himself in a hotel in Brno, was also known ; shortly after it was announced that a resistance group in Valašské Meziříčí exposed undercover agent had killed the Gestapo, František Šmíd.
- In post-war Czechoslovakia there was no interest in opening the case. Especially after it became clear in the trial against Vladimír Tišnovský that a leading resistance fighter, who was generally attributed to the communist resistance, had denounced two fighters to the Gestapo under pressure and thus extradited them, the attack could hardly be used for propaganda purposes. The case was therefore forgotten for a good 65 years.
- David Hertl: Případ zapomenutého atentátu (The Case of the Forgotten Assassination), contribution of the Český rozhlas radio station from March 4, 2017, online at: plus.rozhlas.cz / ...
- Till Janzer: Resistance in the Protectorate: the unknown assassination attempt in Brno , broadcast by Radio Praha from April 22, 2017, online at: radio.cz / ...
- Atentát na Augusta Gölzera v Brně , material from the Encyclopedia of the City of Brno, online at: encyklopedie.brna.cz / ...
- Jiří Skoupý: Případ zapomenutého atentátu (The Case of the Forgotten Assassination), in: II. Světová , Extra Publishing, Prague 2016, 2016/4, pages 22-25, ISSN 1805-0298, cited. according to material from the Brno City Encyclopedia, online at (cache): encyklopedie.brna.cz / ...