Director of the Lidice Memorial in the Czech Republic has resigned
Michaela Lagronová, spokesperson for the Czech Culture Ministry, informed the Czech News Agency (ČTK) that Martina Lehmannová has resigned from her position as director of the Lidice Memorial in the Czech Republic. The former director did not immediately reveal why she has resigned.
Lehmannová has run the memorial site since April 2017. The institution will temporarily be led by the director's statutory deputy, the head of the facility's Economic Department, Dagmar Kosová.
The ministry will be announcing an open competition for the job, the spokesperson said. Lehmannová told ČTK earlier today that she is preparing a written statement about her resignation.
Last November the memorial faced criticism from people who had survived the Nazi razing of the village as children. Those survivors also criticized a reportage by public broadcaster Czech Television which reviewed the allegations that an inhabitant of Lidice had turned in her Jewish renters to gendarmes just a few days before the village was set ablaze by the Nazis.
In their open letter, the survivors wrote that they believed Lehmannová was indifferent to their suffering and that of their families and was not honoring the facts of the tragedy that happened there. They also said they felt they were just being tolerated for show as auxiliaries to the activities of the memorial.
Czech Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) inserted himself into the argument, visiting the memorial and saying the director had to attempt to resolve the situation. The memorial commemorates the Nazi annihilation of the village of Lidice on 10 June 1942.
The pretext for the Nazi action was the perceived association between the village and the assassination of Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich, and out of roughly 500 residents, just 160 survived the war. Directly in Lidice on 10 June 1942 the Nazis shot dead 173 local men, and on 16 June 1942 in Prague-Kobylisy another 26 Lidice residents were also shot by the Nazis.
The women from Lidice were sent to concentration camps, 53 of whom did not survive them. The children from Lidice, 82 of them, were gassed to death in a mobile gas chamber at a deportation camp.
After the liberation, 17 of those who survived the razing of their village as children and 143 of those who survived as adult women gradually came back to the village. At the close of 2019, one of the last two people to have survived the massacre as adult women, Miloslava Kalibová, passed away.
Mrs Kalibová was just shy of her 97th birthday when she died. Of those who survived Lidice as adult women, only Jaroslava Skleničková is still alive.
In recent years the number of people visiting the Lidice Memorial has grown, and in 2017 more than 150 000 people came to see it compared to 46 000 in 2015. The Lidice Memorial is also responsible for the remembrance site at the village of Ležáky, which also commemorates the despotism of Nazism.
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