Lidice memorial open day pays tribute to devastating chapter of Czech history

President Petr Pavel and other dignitaries are expected to attend the public memorial service. Here's how to visit. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 08.06.2023 14:00:00 (updated on 08.06.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

The men of the village of Lidice in Central Bohemia were massacred 81 years ago on June 10, 1942, in retribution for the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich. Women and most of the children were sent to concentration camps. Out of a total of 503 inhabitants of the village, the Nazis killed 340 people – 192 men, 60 women, and 88 children.

This year, commemorative events open to the public are at the Lidice Memorial on June 10, and admission to the entire site, including exhibitions on the history of Lidice and the massacre, will be free.

A mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Jan Graubner at the village's Church of St. Martin at 9 a.m., This will be followed by events at the Lidice Memorial from 10 a.m. to shortly after noon.

Dignitaries will lay flowers at the graves of the executed men and at the memorial statue for the children. There will also be prayers, singing of the national anthem, and some speeches. President Petr Pavel is expected to personally lay a wreath.

A second village, Ležáky, was also destroyed in retribution for the assassination, though this event is not as well-known. Memorial events will take place there on June 24 and 25.

Memorial is still being expanded

The memorial and reverent were created in the 1950s, with the circular pavilion dating to 1962. It was renovated in 2004. Since 2005, the adjacent museum has had a permanent multimedia exhibition called And Those Innocent Were Guilty … It makes use of raw concrete to create an austere atmosphere around the historical photos and artifacts, and includes a wall with the names of all of the victims.

The gallery is in a former cultural center that was renovated in 2002–03. It has art donated from people across the world in a permanent exhibit called Remember Lidice as well as temporary exhibits.

People can also see house number 116, which was built just after 1945. Exhibitions there cover the history of the village after its destruction. The interior shows village life from the end of the 1950s, including typical furnishings.

The most touching part of the memorial complex is the Children’s War Victims Monument, with 82 different larger-than-life sculptures of children. It took sculptor Marie Uchytilová 20 years to make all the models. By the time Uchytilová passed away in 1989, only three had been cast in bronze. The last seven were installed in 2000.

Memorial to the Children Victims of the War in Lidice via iStock / hopsalka
Memorial to the Children Victims of the War in Lidice via iStock / hopsalka

The idea for the memorial’s rose garden began in Britain with the group Lidice Shall Live. It began in 1955 as the Garden of Peace and Friendship. It now has 240 types of roses and over 24,000 bushes.

Renewal and expansion of the memorial are ongoing. A new part of the memorial opened last year, called Pod Tribunou. It has an updated and expanded history of Lidice with original artifacts and reproductions, plus continuous screenings of some videos and pictures. Admission to this exhibition is always free.  

How to get there

From Prague, you can get to the Lidice Memorial by bus. From Nádraží Veleslavín, you take the bus 300 or 322 to Lidice, Památník. Bus 300 is faster, as the route is more direct. From Zličín, you take the bus 324 to Lidice, Památník. Bus 322 also has an additional stop at the memorial site’s gallery at Lidice, ObÚ. Each bus runs about once an hour on weekends.

Lidice memorial / Photo via
Lidice memorial / Photo via

Current bus schedules can be found online and also on the PID Lítačka app. Full-price tickets for bus 300 to Lidice are CZK 30, based on a travel time of under half an hour, while for buses 322 and 324 tickets are CZK 40 because those routes take longer. Since Lidice is outside of Prague, people with transit passes valid only for the city will have to buy a ticket to cover the additional zone.

While visiting the memorial’s exhibitions is free on June 10, on other days admission for adults is CZK 150, with discounts for seniors and children. This includes the museum, the gallery, and the family house.

Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guided tours of the reverent area, which must be booked in advance, cost CZK 500 in English or CZK 300 in Czech. Some parts of the grounds can be seen without a ticket. The memorial is closed from Dec. 25 to Jan. 1.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more