June 11 & 12, 1942: Women and children, separated

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KLADNO, June 11, 2018 — Marie Dolezalova Supikova, 85, and her great-granddaughter Karolina, 10,  lay a bouquet of palm foliage and carnations on the gymnasium floor at Kladno Gymnasium (high school), marking the site where, in 1942, the Gestapo separated … Continue reading

Moving toward peace: June 9, 2018-May 31, 2019

Beginning with an evening concert and lighting ceremony on June 9, the story of Lidice continues to memorialize victims of all wars, as well as those whose lives and homes were destroyed in June 1942 at Lidice, a village near Prague, Czech Republic.

June 9, 8 p.m., Lidice, Czech Republic: Concert for Lidice

June 10 and beyond:  Press release and schedule for memorial services and events commemorating the 76th anniversary of the annihilation of Lidice. Additional events and exhibits take place throughout the year at Pamatnik Lidice, adjacent to the original village site.

Events and facilities of Pamatnik Lidice are under the direction of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.

 

The village that would not disappear

RoseBookPage1-1Cerven 10.1942 — Cerven 10.2017 (June 10, 1942 — June 10, 2017)

The world’s responses have been swift and persistent, protesting the horrors Adolf Hitler inflicted upon the people of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, on June 10, 1942.

Artists, musicians, poets and horticulturists continue to interpret the significance of the Fuhrer’s vow to erase this Roman Catholic village from maps and memory. Despite Hitler’s pledge, the original village site — 15 miles northwest of Prague — has been preserved, and a new village named Lidice thrives nearby. Bridging the old and new: a public museum and art gallery flanking a vast memorial rose garden. Aerial shot of the rose garden, above, courtesy of Pamatmik Lidice (Lidice Memorial).

Opened on June 19, 1955, the Garden of Peace and Friendship continues to heal the wounds of war. It’s also a popular venue for wedding ceremonies and anniversary celebrations. Its 24,000 rose plants bloom in shades of white, pink, orange and scarlet, signifying “the lost children of Lidice,” the village men and boys murdered by Nazi firing squad, the village women who were sent to Nazi work camps, and the fire that ultimately destroyed the village, including structures dating to the 14th century.

As reports of Hitler’s atrocities rippled across the airwaves in 1942, people throughout the world kept alive Lidice’s memory by naming their babies, hospitals, communities, streets and parks “Lidice.”

The horrors of June 10, 1942, became a wake-up call for Allied Forces in WWII.

Pronunciation of Lidice: leed – yit – seh. Emphasis is on the first syllable.

Context at the crossroads

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Land of castles and legends, war and peace

By contrast to Prague’s bustle and its in-your-face memorial to heroes of the Heydrich assassination, the nearby villages of Lounovice, Benesov (top photo) and Lidice seem leisurely and pastoral. Like Prague, however, they shelter a rich collective cultural history shaped by coincidence and geographical coordinates.

As a whole, the Czech provinces —  Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Slovakia — are among the Old-World crossroads of Europe, where vivid legends fuse with centuries of cultural and political upheaval.  For centuries, artists, writers, musicians and merchants have traveled the road from Prague to Vienna and beyond. Armies — both religious and political — have fought to control the people and the land, and its rich natural resources. In war and peace, folk legends including heroic knights and their horses sleeping in caves deep within Blanik Mountain, above and below, have been passed down as beloved national treasures.

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Introduction: A journey through Lidice’s past and present

St.CyrilMethodiusExteriorHeroes_BethThe story begins

PRAHA (Prague), Oct. 5, 2017 — On a busy street deep in the heart of this city stands Saints Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, a Czech Orthodox church that houses the World War II National Monument to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror (Národní památník hrdinů heydrichiády).

In late May 1942 the Czech government in exile, based in London, carried out a plot to assassinate “the butcher of Prague,” Reinhard Heydrich, whom Hitler had named reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia. Czech paratroopers were assigned to carry out the mission. They ambushed Heydrich on a street near Sts. Cyril and Methodius, fleeing afterward to its crypt, where they and other members of the Czech Resistance took shelter. Within a few days the Nazis discovered the assassins, along with their comrades and protectors. Nazi bullet holes are still visible in the exterior wall of the crypt where the assassins (heroes, by Czech standards) hid and died. Memorial tributes, flowers and other souvenirs continue to honor the heroes at the streetside memorial.

On June 10, 1942 (Cervna.10 1942), the massacre of the village of Lidice, northwest of Prague, was Hitler’s retribution against the Czech people for Heydrich’s death.

Photo below: the old church gates at Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Prague flank a plaque identifying the Czech Orthodox cathedral as the site of “The National Memorial to the heroes of the Heydrich terror.”

Photo, bottom: A glass case in the below-ground museum and crypt at the cathedral displays eye-color and skin-color charts used by Nazis to help determine who was fit to survive the atrocities they would commit across Europe. At Lidice, some children were selected for “re-education” and placed with German families instead of being gassed in a transport van with other children on their way to Chelmno, a concentration camp in Poland.  Some children placed with German families returned to Lidice. The rest are known as “the lost children of Lidice.”

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