Lidice to mark 75 years since tragedy

The Central Bohemian village was destroyed during World War II

Events to mark the 75th anniversary of the destruction of Lidice will take place June 10, 2017, at the memorial site of the Central Bohemian village. The village was destroyed by the occupying German army in 1942 in retribution for the assassination of acting Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich. All of the adult males from the village were executed, and the women and most children were sent to concentration camps. Some children were placed into German homes for so-called re-education. It is also 70 years since the cornerstone was laid for a renewed village in 1947.

On June 10, 2017, events will take place throughout the morning and early afternoon, and the memorial and galleries will be open free of charge for the entire day. Events start with a mass celebrated by Plzeň Bishop Tomáš Holub. This will be followed by a visitation to the collective grave site, several speeches and the national anthem. More details will be available closer to the event.

Earlier, on May 27, 2017, the village of Lidice will commemorate 70 years since the foundation stone of the first new buildings were laid. President Miloš Zeman will receive the key to the village, and several diplomats have been invited to attend.

The tourist season starts March 29, 2017, with the opening of a new permanent exhibit called We Are Building a New Lidice (Stavíme nové Lidice). The exhibition is in a house from the 1950s that has been restored as much as possible to its original appearance to show how the village started to come back to life after the war. The house is č. p. 116, as all the village house addresses are known simply by numbers. The opening day also has a book launch and performance by concert soloists.

The rebuilt village was done according to set guidelines, and only a few colors were allowed on facades. The shapes and sizes of new buildings was also limited by an urban plan. The buildings were high-standard compared to other government construction at the time. Even today, major changes must be approved by preservationists.

Days during 2017 when there will be free admission to the memorial are International Museum Day on May 18, the 75th anniversary on June 10, Day of European History on Sept. 9, and Czechoslovak Statehood Day on Oct. 28.

Lidice in 1942 had some 503 inhabitants, and currently the new village has 543. After World War II ended, 143 women and 17 children from the original village returned.

After the tragedy in 1942, other towns across the world adopted the name Lidice so it would not be forgotten. There is a Lidice in Panama and in Brazil. San Jerónimo Lídice is a part of Mexico City. There is a Lidice district in Crest Hill, Illinois. Stoke-on-Trent in Britain has long had a sister city relationship with Lidice.

An eponymous film but the fate of Lidice was released in 2011. The story of Heydrich assassination was told in Anthropoid, released in 2016.

For more visit: Lidice Memorial

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