The Site of a Squashed Rebellion: Lidice
This quiet town has an incredible history, and without wandering far enough into what looks like a dog park complete with an information center, you would have no idea what it is: Lidice. In the last week, each of my classes has touched on the events of Lidice. To give a quick recap: during WWII, Hitler’s third in command, Reinhard Heydrich, an incredibly brutal SS officer who was in charge of Czech land, was assassinated by two British-trained Czech officers. This move, while successful in its mission, resulted in an intense manhunt for the culprits and made Hitler so angry that he annihilated the whole town o f Lidice and Ležáky.
From where we were standing, though, it was hard to imagine that a whole town bustling with families and business had actually been there. The area was covered with lush, green grass and occasionally a person would bike or walk through the cement paths. We started at the museum in the information center. Pictures of elementary school classes and families were up on the walls, videos of older people who had lived through it played on a loop, and a picture of all men over 16 (who had been shot to death) was projected against one of the walls—a haunting image. We walked outside to the monument in the park, a creative sculpture of the children of Lidice, each sculpted child with a unique face and expression. Next to the piece, people who had come to pay their respects had brought small toys of all colors and shapes. Some were miniature trains and others were little plastic dolls. Our group took pictures and then headed off to meet with a woman who had been a child in Lidice at the time and had been sent to a camp.
She spoke of her life and experiences with the Holocaust, something she admits to not having done for many years—a common theme for most Holocaust survivors. She explained how the children were taken from their parents, and her feeling of dread that she would not see her mother again. It was fantastic that she made it through everything and was still around to speak with us! She also shared passages of her book. I got to read a chunk to the group. Her husband, an incredibly sweet old man that I would be ecstatic to have as a Grandpa, took an innumerous amount of pictures of us as she spoke. We even got a group shot in. I only wished that I could speak Czech well enough to interact with him directly.