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THE CZECH VILLAGE OF LIDICE

The Equator Project Team are now working on to obtain materials from the Czech village of Lidice, population 503 in 1942, had existed for hundreds of years; perhaps a thousand. The first written mention of the village dates from around 1300.

Following the assassination in Prague of SS Reichsprotector Reinhard Heydrich in the II World War, a man so brutal even Heinrich Himmler was afraid of him, the Nazis made a brutal move. A man serving in the Czechoslovak army in Britain was from Lidice; his family, the Horáks, remained in the village. The Gestapo unit based in the city of Kladno became suspicious that the Horák family had something to do with Heydrich’s death. They searched the house and found no sign that the family had been involved in any way with the assassination, but the Nazis wanted blood, and they were determined to have it.

“The Lidice Massacre” Very early in the morning of June 10, 1942, cameras shot silent footage of the events at Lidice. The Horák farm served as the execution ground for 173 males above the age of sixteen; all were shot to death. The women and children were taken to the gym of the elementary school in Kladno.  Three days later, the children were taken from their mothers.

The women were sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. The children – the youngest a year and six days old – were sent to Lodz, Poland. There they lived for the next three weeks.  Then, an order came that they were to be sent to the Chelmno death camp.

“The Children of Lidice”

The children were told to undress for a “shower” before the journey. In their underwear, holding soap and towels, they were loaded onto a truck that had been modified so that the exhaust fumes were sent into the back of the vehicle. Within eight minutes, the children in the truck were dead. There had been 105 children in Lidice. Seventeen survived the war. It took more than two years after the war’s end to find the final survivor and bring him home. Now that the village and its buildings were empty, the Nazis burned, then blew up, the structures. They razed the church and desecrated the cemetery.

It took little time for the news of the Lidice massacre to spread around the world. At least four towns worldwide are now named Lidice; so are many women born during and after that time. On June 10, 1945, a peace rally was held, attended by some of the women who had survived the massacre. Seventeen children survived. 143 women came back to what was once home. In 1947, the Czech government began to rebuild Lidice. The new village rose approximately 150 meters from the former site. On June 19, 1955, a rose garden opened in the “Park of Peace and Friendship”.