Then & Now
Lidice in 1942 and 1945
The small town of Lidice is shown at the top of the picture at left before it was targeted for destruction by the Nazi high command in 1942 in retribution for the assassination of the head of Nazi-Occupied Czechoslovakia Reinhard Heydrich.
The area once occupied by the town of Lidice is shown at the bottom of the picture at left. In the center of the photo is the memorial to the town that was created in 1945 by the Soviet Red Army. The memorial rests on the site of the mass burial of the town’s men, killed by a Nazi firing squad on June 10, 1942.
Lidice Commemorative Ceremony in 1945
A commemorative event was held in 1945 where Lidice once stood. More than 100,000 people attended the ceremony, including some of the women of the town who survived the attack and imprisonment at one of the Nazi’s forced labor camps. A video recording of the commemorative services may be viewed on YouTube.
The Men’s Tomb
The original memorial to Lidice built by the Soviet Red Army in 1945 placed a tall metal cross in the midst of a stand of trees, each one planted in memory of one of the men executed by Nazi riflemen on June 10, 1942. The Lidice Commemorative today maintains the cross and the trees, erected on top of the mass grave where the men’s bodies were buried.
Memorial and Reverent Area
Today’s Lidice Memorial rests on the site where the Soviet Union’s Red Army soldiers erected the original memorial in 1945. The first museum was built in 1952. It was replaced by a new museum ten years later on the 20th anniversary of the destruction of the town.
A garden of peace, with 29,000 rose plants donated by 32 countries around the world, was opened in 1955 and renovated in 2003.
The Children’s War Victims Monument
A professor of sculpture Marie Uchytilová created a bronze monument for Lidice children as well as other children killed in war. The monument consists of 82 larger-than-life-size statutes that took Uchytilová more than two decades to complete. The sculptor finished a plaster version of the artwork before she died in 1989. Her husband, J. V. Hampl, continued the work. Hampl completed 30 bronze statues in 1995 and continued to add more statutes until 2000, when the last seven were installed. The Children’s War Victims Monument today features 42 girls and 40 boys looking over the Lidice Valley, in remembrance of those who died in 1942. For more information, see http://www.lidice-memorial.cz/en/