Slovak President honors victims of Nazi massacre at Lidice for first time ever
Slovak President Andrej Kiska laid wreaths in honor of the victims of the Second World War at the Lidice memorial in the Czech Republic on 10 June. The wreaths were laid at the mass grave of the victims of the Lidice massacre and at the memorial to the child victims.
Kisak became the first Slovak President ever to commemorate the events at Lidice, which was destroyed by the Nazis 73 years ago in retaliation for the assassination of Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich. Prior to his visit there he met with Czech President Miloš Zeman at Prague Castle.
A trio of survivors of the Nazi massacre and Mayor Veronika Kellerová welcomed Kiska to Lidice. Responding to the memorial depicting the child victims, he said: "This just highlights their fates, even though it cannot accurately portray their faces, but it is something that leaves deep emotions in the soul of every human being. Every single face, every single eye expresses the enormous tragedy that happened here. I am glad I can be here and show respect for their memory."
Kiska also visited the Museum at the Lidice memorial and emphasized that we should be aware of what extremism can result in. He said he believed the statue of the child victims of Lidice should be a memorial warning us against such danger.
The Nazis destroyed Lidice on 10 June 1942. During a bloody massacre, they shot dead 173 men there.
The women were transported to the concentraiton camp at Ravensbrück. Some children were chosen to become Germanized through adoption, while children under the age of one year were poisoned with exhaust fumes from specially-designed vehicles at the Nazi extermination camp in the Polish town of Chelmno.
A total of 340 citizens of Lidice fell victim to the Nazi murder spree. After the war, 143 women returned to their homeland and, after two years of searching, 17 children were returned to their mothers in Lidice; a total of 503 inhabitants lived in the village prior to the massacre.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Czech Social Democratic Party) also commented on the razing of Lidice and the murder of its citizens, saying it symbolizes the atrocities and despotism of Nazism and the horrors of the Second World War to the entire world. He also said he believes it is necessary to thoroughly confront the forces of evil and hatred today "so that such tragedies as those symbolized by the village of Lidice will never be repeated."
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