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Foundation stone of controversial monument laid in Lidice

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Lidice, Central Bohemia, Oct 10 (CTK) – A symbolic foundation stone of a memorial to pilots Josef Horak and Josef Stribrny was laid on the centenary of their birth today, but a part of the locals as well as some historians are opposed to it.

Horak and Stribrny survived the razing of the village to the ground by the Nazis and the killing of their families because they were in the western resistance during World War Two.

Lidice was obliterated on June 10, 1942, in retaliation for the assassination of high Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich by Czechoslovak paratroopers in Prague. All 173 men were executed, women and children were sent to concentration camps, while some of the children were selected for re-education in Germany. After the war, only 143 women and 17 children returned to the country.

Those opposed to the new memorial do not like calling it a “memorial,” its planned size and its dedication to “all those who fulfilled their oath to the Czechoslovak Republic.”

The opponents were not among the few dozens of the present preople today.

Many Lidice widows were opposed to Horak and Stribrny returning to the renewed Lidice after the war. On the other hand, when Stribrny was imprisoned like most of members of the western resistance after the communists seized power in former Czechoslovakia in 1948, he was released thanks to Lidice women having pleaded for him.

After the fall of the communist regime, Lidice streets were named after both pilots and a commemorative plaque was unveield to them in the Lidice Memorial museum reception.

Lidice was razed to the pretext of a presumed connection between the village and the attack on Heydrich after the Gestapo intercepted a love letter addressed to an Anna Marusczakova of Holousy, in which her lover wanted to make the impression as if he participated in the resistance activities. He asked her to pass to the Lidice families of the Horaks and Stribrnys greetings from their sons who served with the 311th bombing wing in England.

Milous Cervencl, director of the Lidice Memorial, who did not take part in today’s event, said previously he can see no historical connection between the Lidice tragedy and the war monument destined for “all.”

He said Lidice is a symbol of the war victims from among the civilian population, mainly children, and what is more, in a non-war zone.

He said the Lidice Memorial is to take care of the permanent preservation of the remembrance of the obliteration of Lidice and the sufferings of its citizens who fell victim to the Nazi violence, and the preservation of the name of Lidice as a world symbol of the victims of war crimes.

Cervencl also has objections to the name “memorial.” “In museology, we use the term ‘memorial’ for an architectonic monumental work decorated with sculptures, created in memory of an outstanding personality or event. A monument has a similar function, but smaller dimensions: a pillar, a stone to commemorate a personality or event,” he said.

It is not known yet when the memorial will be built because the association for its construction does not yet have the needed money, it must launch a tender for its form and contact the relevant offices.

ms/dr

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