Thursday, 21 June 2018

Surviving children of Lidice to hand painting to Pope

18 May 2017

Prague/Vatican, May 17 (CTK) - Two of the children who were sent to Germany for upbringing after the Lidice tragedy 75 years ago will participate in handing a Lidice Madonna painting to Pope Francis in the Vatican at the turn of May and June, Czech ambassador to the Vatican Pavel Vosalik told CTK on Wednesday.

The work of art by Czech painter Zdirad Cech will be handed over by Czech pilgrims during a general audience with the Pope.

Lidice, a village in Central Bohemia, was obliterated by the Nazis on June 10, 1942, in retaliation for the assassination of high Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich by Czechoslovak paratroopers trained in Britain.

The Nazis shot all Lidice men dead, transferred the women and most children to concentration camps, where many of them perished, and sent the remaining children to German families for upbringing.

That is why the painting for the Pope is not a traditional picture of a mother with a child, but the woman symbolically holds a piece of empty white linen.

Vosalik said one of the two surviving Lidice children was in the group who were sent to Germany for adoption and who returned home after the war.

The other lady was born just before Lidice was razed to the ground, he said.

Both will be accompanied by a representative of the Lidice Memorial.

Besides the pilgrims, representatives of the Czech Ecumenical Council of Churches, Caritas Czech Republic and the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem will arrive in teh Vatican.

The pilgrims will hand over the painting to the Pope at a general audience on May 31. They will acquaint him with the history of Lidice.

The Pope is to bless the painting which will be permanently placed in the Ss. Marceline and Peter Church which is the titular basilica of Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka. A national Mass will be said in the church on June 1.

A Mass will also be said in Santa Crosce di Gerusalemme which is the titular basilica of Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, who died on March 18 at the age of 84.

It is to be attended by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

A Prague children choir, established by the Prague Archbishopric, will sing at the Mass, Vosalik said.

The two Czech women from Lidice will open an international conference on child victims of wars in Rome on International Children' Day on June 1.

The commemorative events will also be attended by the mayor of Marzabotto, whose fate was similar to Lidice's just as that of another Italian town Santa´Anna di Stazzema.

Their tragedy was not unique during World War Two, but the Nazi did not boast in the world of any other crime like of the obliteration of Lidice.

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