web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Lessons Of Lidice

Lidice Memorial

Lidice Memorial

By bus Lidice is a 35-minute ride from Prague. It is a ten-minute walk from the Lidice bus stop through the well-kept gardens to the main building and entrance of the Lidice Memorial Museum. In the season of bloom the gardens display thousands of roses. There is little that suggests the vast human tragedy that transpired there in the course of one night seventy years ago.

The visit – including the video that served as document No.379 at the Nuremberg Trials, the wall exhibits, a visitors’ center, a small bookshop, and the imposing children’s memorial – took us no longer than two hours, without rushing. For so little time spent, the visitor is left with a lasting impact.

Essentially, it is a small Yad Vashem that deserves a stop by all who visit Prague. Not because the number of those who perished in Lidice was large; all told, 340 citizens were murdered in the town by the Germans. Many more perished in hundreds of other places during those blood-soaked years. And many more perish weekly now in Syria.

But Lidice presents a clear picture of the cold-blooded, calculated slaughter of innocents.

Lidice certainly merits a visit by any who still doubt man’s inhumanity to man. It is a story in which Jews were not directly involved, though lessons concerning the Holocaust of the Jews can easily be drawn and, as we will see, it ultimately had a definite bearing on us, too.

When the Allies bowed to Hitler’s threat of war with the Munich Agreement and forced Czechoslovakia to yield the Sudeten territory to the German Reich, they essentially deprived the small country of all its defenses and much of its heavy industry.

Five months after Munich, despite Hitler’s promises and Anglo-French guarantees of the new Czech frontier, German troops marched on defenseless Prague. In mid-March 1939, Czechia ceased to exist. It became a German Protectorate.

In September 1941, Reinhard Heydrich, former head of the Gestapo, was promoted to the chief position of the Protectorate. On May 27, 1942, two British-trained Czech and Slovak freedom fighters lobbed a grenade at Heydrich’s Mercedes in the Prague suburb of Holisovice as he was being driven to his office. Heydrich died from his wounds on June 4.

Between May 27 and June 4, Heinrich Himmler, the head of the S.S., ordered the execution on consecutive days of 100 Czech intellectuals and 1,357 Czech citizens, while 657 more died under police “investigation.” On June 9, a day after Heydrich’s funeral, Hitler ordered that a community be selected and wiped out to “teach the Czechs a final lesson of subservience and humility.” Hitler, who reportedly had been grooming Heydrich, the man with “a heart of iron,” to become his successor, yearned for revenge.

The Germans discovered that two young men from Lidice served in the Czech brigade of the British forces. In the middle of the night of June 9, German troops entered Lidice. All the residents were hustled to the village square. Their houses were attacked and gutted after everything of value was taken from them.

After the Germans executed the members of the Horak family whose son served in the British forces, they ordered all men above age 15 to be driven to the Horak farm. Mattresses were placed against a wall to prevent bullets from ricocheting. The men were lined up in groups of ten, without blindfold, for execution. All 199 adult men of Lidice were executed in this manner.

When the massacre of the men was over, the women and children, who had been locked in the local school, were put onto lories and driven away. Eventually, 184 women were transferred to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Of the 99 children, 17 with an “Aryan look” were selected for Germanization. They were shipped to Germany and handed over to trustworthy German families dedicated to the process. The other 82 children were gassed in Chelmno. A survivor still remembers her child yelling, “If you love me you can’t give me up!”

The Germans, known for their thoroughness, hunted down 19 people from Lidice who worked in the nearby coalmines for immediate execution. One document from the Lidice Museum sticks in my mind. Tracing every living soul linked to Lidice, the Germans learned that two were patients in Prague hospitals. They tracked them down and shot them on the spot.

About the Author: Dr. Ervin Birnbaum is founder and director of Shearim Netanya, the first outreach program to Russian immigrants in Israel. He has taught at City University of New York, Haifa University, and the University of Moscow; served as national superintendent of education of Youth Aliyah and as the first national superintendent of education for the Institute of Jewish Studies; and, at the request of David Ben-Gurion, founded and directed the English Language College Preparatory School at Midreshet Sde Boker. Dr. Birnbaum’s memoir, “Turning Obstacles Into Stepping-Stones,” is now in its second printing and can be acquired by contacting hadnerv1@012.net.il


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Lessons Of Lidice”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
UN Human Rights Council
UN HRC Condemns Israel (But Not Hamas) for War Crimes
Latest Indepth Stories
Jelgava Synagogue, Latvia

Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive

United Nations Building, New York City

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Zuckerman-070315

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

wedding cake

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly

What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?

Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach

The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi

The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”

“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.

And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.

Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel

In addition to the palace’s tremendous size it was home to the “hanging gardens,” which were counted among the seven wonders of the ancient world.

More Articles from Dr. Ervin Birnbaum
Israeli soldiers of the Golani Brigade blow the shofar at the Kotel.

Possibly the farcical motion would’ve failed but its consideration proves a deep anti-Israel bias

Birnbaum-040315

Our sages recognized that the 10 Commandments was meant not only for Israel but for all mankind.

“Israel=Apartheid state” is an outright lie exploiting the naiveté and ignorance of good people

In the course of the ages there wasn’t a Jewish community more convinced of its capacity for survival than the Jewish community of Hungary in the 19th and 20th centuries.

By bus Lidice is a 35-minute ride from Prague. It is a ten-minute walk from the Lidice bus stop through the well-kept gardens to the main building and entrance of the Lidice Memorial Museum. In the season of bloom the gardens display thousands of roses. There is little that suggests the vast human tragedy that transpired there in the course of one night seventy years ago.

What made the deportation of more than 80,000 Jews from Slovakia during World War II unique? It was this striking fact: In contrast with other countries, the Slovak government actually appealed to the Germans to enact deportation.

Barely five weeks after the Wehrmacht’s onslaught against Russia, Reich Marshal Hermann Goering issued the following directive on July 31, 1941 to Chief of Gestapo Reinhard Heydrich:

The place that holds the record for murders in a day – even over such ghastly places as Auschwitz and Treblinka – is Babi Yar. A ravine on the outskirts of Kiev, it is today incorporated within the urban, inhabited sector of the Ukrainian capital. The events described here took place seventy years ago, in 1941, on Rosh Hashanah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-lessons-of-lidice/2012/06/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: