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The last days of the Third Reich in Brno

The last days of the Third Reich in Brno

Our city had to wait for its  liberation until the very end of the war. The tumultuous spring of 1945 is recalled by the exhibition End Of The Swastika Rule in the Moravian Regional Museum.

The project represents the course of the last year of war in Moravia, which culminated in the attack of the 2nd Ukrainian Front of the Red Army in southern Moravia. This operation, called by military historians the "Bratislava-Brno Operation", was launched on 25 March 1945 by crossing of the Central-Slovakian river Hron.

Three hundred and sixty thousand Soviet soldiers clashed during it with quarter-of-a-million-strong Wehrmacht troops, commanded by Field Marshal Schörner. This fanatical Nazi mass-executed his men who tried to defect or failed to show enough faith in their ultimate victory; not in vain was he called Bloody Ferdinand.

His counterpart over military maps was the USSR Marshal Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky. This member of the Karaim minority, i.e. a Crimean Jew of Turkic origin, joined the Tsar's army in a barely legal age and later on joined the Bolshevik troops. In the 1930s, he was saved during Stalin's purges, and in the end it was him who led the battle of Stalingrad, accepted the surrender of fascist Romania and led the Soviets into the heart of Central Europe.

His troops arrived in Moravia on 7 April, when they managed to capture the bridge over the river Morava southeast of Lanžhot. After the liberation of the town, the Soviet troops began an attack on Hodonín and then continued towards Velké Bílovice, where further hard fights were taking place. The defending German units were reinforced by other troops that had already been withdrawn from Vienna, already occupied by the Red Army. Additional fierce clashes took place near Šitbořice and Ořechov.

Alongside the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS troops, Brno was defended  also by the Volkssturm units, aptly dubbed V3 by the Czech-speaking Brno residents in allusion to the Nazi wonder weapons, which in the Czech-Austrian jargon pronunciation sounds like "fathers". On the night of 23 April, air strikes on Brno began, and the Soviet troops went on the attack in the morning. The following, villages on the southern outskirts of Brno day were liberated, and on 25 April the Red Army invaded the city. Most of the city was liberated on April 26, but the attack continued on the northern suburbs and surrounding villages.

Soviet soldiers were seconded by Romania who defected to the side of the Allies and fought mainly in southern Moravia, and later near Znojmo, Rosice, Tišnov, Zlin and lower Haná. In mountainous areas of the Beskydy and White Carpathians, as well as in the Czech-Moravian and Drahany Highlands, the invading troops were helped by guerrilla units. Spend the end of the war in Moravia in the Dietrichstein Palace.

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Admission: full 80 CZK, discounted 40 CZK, family 200 CZK