The Petschek Palace
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at the end of the last war winter Gestapo succeeded in hitting a hard blow
to the Prague illegal CPC organization, the Petschek Palace filled again
with new arrestations. Since the 7th of March 1945 cruel interrogations
took place and arrestations spread even to the surroundings of Prague.
But Gestapo did not succeed in arresting the fourth illegal temporary CPC
central executive itself, with the exception of their member F. Šiška.
In April many arrested communists were transferred to Terezín small Fortress.
One of the greatest worries of Dr. Gerke was how to wipe out the prisoners.
He summoned several sessions and the executives of the executive offices
got the order to choose from all prisoners those defined to death and being
the most dangerous ones and mark them with the sign XYZ. Prisoners
marked like that should haven been done away with unconditionally and with
without court proceedings were carried out to a smaller extent in the police
prison at Pankrác and to a larger extent in Terezín small fortress.
It was as late as 2nd May 1945 that Gestapo left the Petschek Palace with
Gerke's order on account of which more 50 prisoners were shot in Terezín
in the afternoon of the very same day. They were mainly leading members
of the youth illegal revolt organization "Předvoj" and members of the fourth
illegal temporary executive of the CPC, who had been arrested by Gestapo
at the end of the year 1944 and at the beginning of the year 1945.
This mass murder should have given to the Communist movement a heavy blow,
from which it would never have recovered not even in the future.
This crime, however, was not yet the last word of Dr. Gerke.
to his instructions even the other prisoners should have been wiped out.
The Hitlerites were planning that in case of immediate danger they would
blow up the Terezín small fortress and then kill all the survivors by shooting
or flame throwers.
charged the part of the Prague police prison on Pankrác where convicts
stayed. The May insurrection of the Czech people and the quick advance
of the Red Army frustrated the realization of those criminal plans.
of the Czech people on the 5th of May 1945 surprised Gestapo. A part
of Gestapo from