Among many who have come to the Czech Republic to mark this Saturday’s 75th anniversary of the Nazis’ annihilation of Lidice is Alan Gerrard of the group Lidice Lives, which is based in the UK city of Stoke-on-Trent. It is a kind of social media-based successor to Lidice Shall Live, a major initiative to rebuild the Czech village launched in Stoke in September 1942 by the politician Sir Barnett Stross. When we spoke, I asked Gerrard whether he had been inspired by Stross’s work.
Some of the children who were saved from the Holocaust by Nicolas Winton have unveiled a memorial recognizing their parent’s incredible bravery in putting them on “kindertransport’ trains to London in the knowledge they might never see them again. Close to 700 mostly Jewish children were sent away at the eleventh hour in the spring and summer of 1939, after Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. Most of their parents later died in gas chambers. The memorial, at Prague’s main railway station from where the trains were dispatched, is a replica of one of the original train wagon doors filled with a glass pane on which are engraved adult and child hands evoking scenes of the traumatic parting. Zuzana Maresova, one of the surviving Winton children who came up with the idea of erecting the memorial, says the scene at the railway station is one of her most vivid childhood memories.
The town of Lidice which was razed to the ground by the Nazis on June 10th ,75 years ago, celebrated the 70th anniversary of its resurrection. In 1947 the foundation stone of a new Lidice was laid 300 meters away from the original site and a new village of 150 houses gradually arose with the help of volunteers from around the country and support from abroad. The celebrations in Lidice were attended by President Milos Zeman, politicians and cultural figures. The British ambassador to the Czech Republic, Jan Thompson, and the US charge d’affaires, Kelly Adams Smith, received a symbolic key to Lidice as a show of gratitude for their countries’ support in rebuilding the village and the Russian ambassador to the Czech Republic Alexander Zmeyevskyj a symbolic rose of gratitude for the liberation of Lidice’s survivors by the Red Army.
Czechs are marking the 75th anniversary of Operation Anthropoid, a daring mission in which Czechoslovak parachutists were dropped into occupied Bohemia to assassinate Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich. He succumbed to his injuries on June 4 and the Nazis unleashed a massive punitive action. The parachutists involved in the operation died in a siege of the Church of Ss. Cyril and Methodius where they had found sanctuary. The Nazis then hunted down and killed all those connected with them and those suspected of having helped them. That same month they razed to the ground the villages of Lidice and Lezaky, killing the male inhabitants and sending women and children to concentration camps as exemplary punishment for the assassination. The brave act of resistance significantly boosted the morale of the occupied nation.
Seventy-five years ago, on May 27, 1942, Czechoslovak parachutists dropped into Bohemia carried out one of the most daring actions of World War II, the assassination of Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich. The heroes of Operation Anthropoid later hid in the Church of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in central Prague, where they met their deaths following a massive SS siege on June 18. Join us on a visit to that church.
War veterans, diplomats and members of the public gathered in the French port of Dunkerque and the Belgian town of De Panne over the weekend to pay homage to the soldiers who lost their lives in the heroic siege of Dunkerque and the liberation of the French-Belgian border areas. Among the heroes of Dunkerque are members of the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade which, although heavily outnumbered, fought to contain German units within the fortress up until their surrender in May, 1945.
Hundreds of politicians, foreign dignitaries and members of the public
attended the annual commemorative ceremony in Terezín, the site of a
former Nazi concentration camp. Speaking at the gathering, marking the
camp's liberation, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka recalled the
horrors of Terezín and warned against division in society. He also said
peace and freedom were the result of a joint European effort to overcome
Also known as Theresienstadt, the 200-year-old fortress town was transformed by the Nazis into a camp where Jews from across Europe were gathered until they could be transported to extermination camps. Of the 150, 000 people who were interned at Terezin between 1940 and 1945, 33,000 died and 88,000 were transported to Nazi death camps elsewhere.
Czech Post on Wednesday unveiled a new souvenir sheet containing a 46 crown stamp marking the 75th anniversary of Operation Anthropoid. In the mission, Czechoslovak parachutists were dropped into occupied territory to assassinate Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich. The souvenir sheet, about the size of a postcard, gave the artist greater room to pay homage to those who gave their lives in the operation or were murdered in reprisal by the Nazis.
Around 90,000 people attended a four-day Festival of Freedom in Plzeň marking the liberation of the city by US troops at the end of World War II, organisers said on Monday. The event reached a climax on Sunday when a convoy hundreds of vintage military vehicles paraded through the West Bohemian city. General George Patton’s Third US Army liberated Plzeň on May 5, 1945. Red Army troops reached Prague several days later.
Events have been held in the Czech Republic marking the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický, Chief of the General Staff Josef Bečvář and other senior Czech Army figures attended the main event at Prague’s Vítkov National Memorial on Monday morning. In the afternoon President Miloš Zeman named new generals, including the country’s first woman general, Lenka Šmerdová. Ceremonies marking the anniversary of VE day were also held at Prague’s Klárov and in Brno, while several days of celebrations in Plzeň reached a climax.
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