Son of detested Nazi leader sparks outrage after announcing he wants to restore castle where 'Butcher of Prague' ruled
Outrage is growing in the Czech Republic after the son of the country's bloodthirsty Nazi leader said he wanted to restore the castle where his father lived during the Second World War.
Reinhard Heydrich was the protector of Czechoslovakia, which was renamed the province of Bohemia and Moravia by the Nazis. He was a key organiser of the Holocaust, the head of the dreaded security section (SD) of the SS and tipped to one day succeed Hitler as Fuehrer.
Monster: Reinhard Heydrich was the head of the dreaded SS security section and the 'protector' of Czechoslovakia. Bottom, his son Heider has said he wants to restore his father's castle outside Prague
Outrage: The upper castle at Panenske Brezany, near Prague. Reynard Heydrich lived in the lower castle and his family continued to live there until the Red Army forced them out in 1945
Assassinated by a Czech commando squad trained in Britain in 1942, his name is still reviled to this day.
The decision by Heider Heydrich, his son, to help rebuild the dilapidated castle in Panenske Brezany, near Prague, where he once lived has provoked fury. Thousands have signed an internet petition opposing having anything to do with his offer.
Newspapers have carried strong editorials decrying his 'insensitivity' at wanting to restore a place 'from where orders for the deaths of thousands were given'.
Reign of terror: Czech people wait in Berlin for transportation out of the capital. Thousands of Czechs and Slovaks died under Nazi occupation of the country
Heider Heydrich, now 76, made an offer to the Panenske Brezany municipality to 'find finances' for the reconstruction of the chateau where he also lived.
After Heydrich's funeral in Berlin - the biggest of its kind in Nazi Germany - he and his mother continued to live in the castle until approaching Red Army troops forced them in 1945 to head back into Germany, where he now lives.
Reinhard Heydrich, also known as The Butcher, rose to be Obergruppenführer of the notorious S.S. in Nazi Germany. He established the much-feared counter-intelligence unit with the S.S., the SD, and went on to head the Gestapo and unite the German police under the control of his mentor, Heinrich Himmler.
In 1941, he was appointed as 'protector' of Bohemia and Moravia, the part of Czechoslovakia incorporated into the Third Reich. He led a brutal regime against the people, executing and arresting thousands and sending many to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.
Heydrich was assassinated in 1942 by Czech commandos trained by Britain as he drove to Prague. In response, Hitler authorised the destruction of the towns Lidice and Lezaky - including the killing of all the men and transporting of women and children to concentration camps.
Heydrich played a prominent role in the Holocaust. He chaired the 1941 Wannsee Conference in Berlin which signed off the campaign against Jews.
Libor Holik, mayor of the municipality, said: 'I had a chance to talk with Heider Heydrich in order to put the chateau into its original shape. 'He offered to help gain money for it, for instance, via the European Union.' He added: 'We must distinguish the son from the father. The son was only ten years old when he left Panenske Brezany at the end of World War Two, so he did not know what war was then.'
But many believe it would besmirch the memory of tens of thousands of Czechs and Slovaks who died under Nazi occupation to have any part in a scheme associated with Heydrich. It was from the castle that Heydrich, who chaired the 1941 Wannsee Conference in Berlin that signed off the Holocaust programme, plotted SS round-ups of resisters.
He drove from the castle on the morning of May 27, 1942, to Prague, where his car was ambushed.
Shot and wounded from a blast from a hand grenade, he died eight days later from blood poisoning by the metal fragments lodged is his body. The revenge Hitler wreaked on the Czech people was terrible. An entire village, Lidice, where the commandos were falsely alleged to have received help, was decimated. All the men were shot and the women and children were sent to concentration camps. The whole village was razed to the ground.
But the director of the Lidice memorial, Milous Cervencl, is not opposed to the castle being restored.
He said: 'I don't have a problem. I see it as a form of compensation, an apology for the crimes for which his father had to answer.'