Czech officials remember victims of 1942 Lidice massacre

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and others laid wreaths at the memorial to victims of the massacre in Lidice today.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 12.06.2021 16:53 (updated on 12.06.2021)

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, leaders of the houses of Czech parliament, and other politicians laid wreaths at the memorial to victims of the Lidice massacre today. The ceremony commemorated the 79th anniversary of the massacre by Nazi forces on June 10, 1942.

Due to ongoing concerns related to the coronavirus epidemic, the event took place without members of the public.

The ceremony was also attended by Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and Central Bohemia Regional Governor Petra Pecková. President Miloš Zeman sent a wreath to the Lidice memorial, but did not attend the ceremony in person.

Czech Senate chairman Miloš Vystrčil, deputy chairpersons Jiří Růžička and Jiří Oberfalzer, Chamber of Deputies chairman Radek Vondráček and deputy heads Tomio Okamura and Vojtěch Pikal also took part in the ceremony.

After laying wreaths, a prayer for the victims of the Lidice massacre took place, followed by the Czech national anthem. Lidice Memorial director Eduard Stehlík thanked participants in the ceremony.

"Lidice is not only the site of a tragedy, but also an immense symbol. Lidice is not just ours. If you travel abroad, you will find out that Lidice is known all over the world," Vondráček said.

"The worldwide importance of Lidice lies in the fact that it revealed the atrocity of Nazism. I think that this was a breakthrough moment during WWII and the fight against Nazism," he added.

"We must remember the atrocities of the Nazis," Babiš said.

"We must think about how this could have happened. Possibly, even today we should be pondering why there is such strong hatred in our society."

Lidice, a village with some 500 inhabitants, was razed to the ground on June 10, 1942 in retaliation for the assassination of high-ranking Nazi officer Reinhard Heydrich by Czechoslovak paratroopers in May, 1942.

A total of 173 men were executed directly in Lidice; those not in the village at the time were rounded up and executed later. The village was completely burned to the ground.

Women and children from Lidice were sent to concentration camps, while a small number of children were selected for re-education in Germany. A total of 53 women died in the camps, while 82 of the children were murdered at an extermination camp. After the war, only 143 women and 17 children returned to the country.

Reports of the Lidice obliteration spread all over the world. Many sites in various countries were named Lidice in honor of the Czech village.

Do you have a story to share with our readers? Find out more