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In April 1939, the Nazis came into Lidice, Czechoslovakia. None of the residents paid much attention, but what happens three years later almost put Lidice off of the map. What did Lidice do to deserve what happened to them? The Lidice massacre all started with mission “Operation Anthropoid.” The mission was to assassinate top Nazi officials. The SOE chose Reinhard Heydrich to kill. Heydrich was a man who randomly executed people to strike fear in the country, and he also imprisoned millions. He was also one of Hitler’s best men. Agents Jan Kubis and Joseph Gabcik were elected to take out the mission. They located Heydrich’s coordinates, and as Heydrich’s car rounded the corner, Gabcik came out of hiding, ready to shoot, but his gun jammed. Luckily, Kubis acted quick and rolled a bomb under Heydrich’s car. Heydrich ended up dying 8 days later in the hospital by a blood infection. Heydrich’s death enraged Hitler. He ordered 10,000 Czech’s dead, he even said, “teach the Czechs a final lesson of subservience and humility.”
By Heydrich’s death, 157 people had already been executed, and Hitler was on the move to find the murders of Heydrich. The Germans searched over 5,000 countries, arrested 3,180, had 1,344 people in line to be executed, and Hitler threatened to kill 30,000 innocent Czechs. These plans thankfully never went into action. With these new orders in place though, Prague (the capital of Czechoslovakia) had a curfew for its people. Nine days after this order went out, Kubis and Gabcik were discovered. Kubis died of wounds and it is said that Gabcik committed suicide in order to not be captured. After the agents were dead, Hitler wanted more revenge. He ordered that Lidice was to be demolished. The Nazi were supposed to destroy a different Lidice, but the plan was already in action before anyone noticed. On June 9th, 1942, 10 trucks filled with nazi “police” came into Lidice. They took all of the villagers to the square. There they seperated women and children to one side, and males (15 or older) to the other side. Women and children were held in a school, but men were taken to a farmstead nearby. The men were put up against a barn 10 at a time and shot immediately. 192 males were shot along with a couple of women who had been at work while the Nazis were taking everyone.
On June 11th, 30 jews were brought into Lidice to dig graves for the men and to build a fence with a sign that stated, “Anyone approaching this fence who does not halt when challenged will be shot.” The women were transferred to Ravensbruck along with four pregnant women who were “allowed” to give birth to their babies that they would never see again. I found that only 60 of the 203 women that went to Ravensbruck died, which is relatively low, but amazing that that many lived. With the kids, the Nazis picked a handful to be “germanized.” To be even more rude though, Hitler picked only seven from the handful to be “germanized” and said to kill the rest. The remaining kids, who weren’t able to be “germanized” were sent to an extermination camp in Chelmno. It is said that they were killed the day of their arrival. 82 kids died there. Only 17 kids ever even returned home. After the all the villagers were either shot or deported, the Nazis raided the houses and took anything of value. After they took their values, engineers came to Lidice and blew up any standing buildings. Even pets were shot. You might think all of this was sick (which it is), but the sickest part is that Nazi propagandists filmed the entire massacre. They filmed it because they thought it would one day be german rule. A town next to Lidice named Lezaky had the same fate, but was never rebuilt. Luckily, Lidice was rebuilt, right next to the old one.
After the war on June 3rd, 1945, Red Army Soldiers upraised a monument on the grave site of the the men of Lidice. This spot was later announced as a national cultural memorial. There is also a famous statue/s for the children killed in Chelmno and for all the children killed during the massacre. The statue is 82 bronze children, 40 boys and 42 girls. Other countries heard about Lidices tragedy and a donation of 29,000 rose bushes were given to Lidice from 32 different countries. Lidice started a rose garden with all of their rose bushes not to far from the 82 statues. We will never forget the tragic events that happened to the people of Lidice, and the statues and roses are great way to remember the children of Lidice, Czechoslovakia.
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