Lidice

Lidice Memorial

The Lidice massacre was a complete destruction of the village of Lidice, in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in June 1942 on orders from Adolf Hitler and Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler.

The vague contents of a letter, addressed to a woman employed in a Slaný factory and held back by the factory co-owner, J. Pála, roused the suspicions of the Kladno Gestapo that there was some connection between Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich’s assassination and the Horák family in Lidice who had a son serving in the Czechoslovak army in Britain. Although investigations and a house-search produced no compromising material, weapons or transmitter, the Nazis needed to carry out an act of vengeance for the death of “an outstanding man of the German nation”, and for this they chose the people of Lidice.

In the late spring of 1942, all 173 men over 18 years of age from the village were executed on 10 June 1942. Another 11 men who were not in the village were arrested and executed soon afterwards, along with several others already under arrest.

The 184 women and 88 children were first taken to Lidice village school, then the nearby town of Kladno and detained in the grammar school for three days and then they were deported to concentration camps (four pregnant women were sent to the same hospital where Heydrich died, forced to undergo abortions and then sent to different concentration camps); a few children considered racially suitable for Germanisation were handed over to SS families and the rest were sent to the Chełmno extermination camp where they were gassed to death. After the war ended only 153 women and 17 children returned (Out of the 105 Lidice children, 82 died in Chełmno, six died in the German Lebensborn orphanages and only 17 returned home.).

The village was set on fire and the remains of the buildings destroyed with explosives. All the animals in the village—pets and beasts of burden—were slaughtered as well. Even those buried in the town cemetery were not spared; their remains were dug up, looted for gold fillings, jewellery and destroyed. A 100-strong German work party was then sent in to remove all visible remains of the village, re-route the stream running through it and the roads in and out. They then covered the entire area the village had occupied with topsoil and planted crops.

Lidice Memorial map

Information about almost every single person living in Lidice in the late spring of 1942 is available at http://www.lidice.cz/obec/historie/KLIKMAP/klkmp.html (unfortunately, so far available only in Czech). Website of Lidice Memorial: http://www.lidice-memorial.cz/en/ (some information also available in English).