Holocaust Memorial Day, a time when we consider the potential callousness of human behaviour if we are not forever vigilant, presents us with an opportunity to reflect on Stoke-on-Trent's friendship with Lidice and developments over the last decade or so.
“The British people did not betray you, but would have gone to war on your behalf. It is not likely that the people of these islands will ever again allow any men to say that what happens in a far-off country to a free people is no concern of theirs.”
It was Thursday, the 10th of July, and the audience with Marshal Stalin had been arranged for 9.30am. Masaryk and Drtina met half an hour earlier in one of the rooms of the State residence put at their disposal, but Gottwald was late. They became impatient as the minutes passed, so
It was announced in late 1943 that Coventry was to join the Lidice Shall Live movement. The decision was made at a meeting at the Council House on Wednesday the 1st of December, attended by representatives of the churches, Civil Defence force, social and other organisations.
On Saturday 13th November 2021, the community of Lidice and all those who knew him, raised a final glass to Václav Zelenka. Lidice had suffered a great loss but Václav's impact on humanity will remain impressed on the beating heart of communities around the world for generations
Dr Beneš, visited Durham on Sunday the 22nd of November 1942, at the invitation of the Durham Miners' Association. He thanked the miners of Durham and Great Britain for their camaraderie in supporting the people of Czecho-Slovakia during their darkest days.
The aim of the programme of cultural events was to give a platform to the young people of the occupied states of Yugoslavia, Czecho-Slovakia, Greece, and Poland, allowing them to explore, debate, fashion and creatively present the culture and heritage of their respective homelands to British audiences.
Not everyone was happy with efforts to rebuild Lidice. An article, anonymously penned by “The Calcutta Statesman” and published in the Evening Sentinel in October 1942, was keen to point out Britain’s lack of obligation towards the Czech people
Formal Inauguration of the First Lidice Shall Live Committee…Formal Inauguration of the First Lidice Shall Live Committee…
The inaugural Lidice Shall Live Committee was formally constituted in Stoke-on-Trent in early October 1942 and comprised a mix of elected representatives, miners' delegates, and members of the Czecho-Slovak - British Friendship Club, Rotary Club, North Staffordshire Architectural Society and influential members of the public...
“Lidice, by its destruction, became a symbol: it belonged not only to Czechoslovakia but to all nations. It should become for us a memento and a pledge never to allow the conditions to arise that would make an occurrence of this type possible again.”
The physical deconstruction and erasure of the old village of Lidice took over two years of solid graft, was financially costly, and was paid for by the victims’ bank accounts. It was not until September the 25th, 1944, that Karl Frank could finally announce with much satisfaction that the clearing
When the formation of the committee was formally announced on September the 21st, 1942 in Washington D.C., the Lidice Lives Committee declared its ambition to create “a village named Lidice in each Allied country, reaching a number of 30 to 36 Lidices all over the world by the end of the
Lidice and International Commemorations – San JeronimoLidice and International Commemorations – San Jeronimo
“Women from remote Lidice, widows from concentration camps who know not where their children are, our home is your home, too. We shall never forget you.”
Commemorating Lidice in US Czechoslovak CommunitiesCommemorating Lidice in US Czechoslovak Communities
News of Lidice severely impacted the American Czechoslovak communities. Many locals could remember the village of Lidice from the days of their youth or as the home of some friend or relative. Residents decided they needed to take action to commemorate fellow citizens sacrificed “on the altar of freedom.”
On August the 15th 1947, 104 miners lost their lives in a pit explosion at the William Pit coal mine in Whitehaven, Cumbria. On the 27th of September, Evžen Erban, Secretary General of the Czechoslovakian Central Council of Trade Unions, announced a proposal for a Czechoslovak supported miners’ recreation home
At a meeting of the North Staffordshire Miners’ Federation, at the Miners’ Hall, on the 10th of August 1942, Dr Stross presented fresh news to the union executive - with a view to securing a greater depth of commitment from Britain’s coal-mining communities:
A committee of activists, all heavily involved in the Lidice Shall Live project and led by Dr Barnett Stross – met to discuss arrangements for the launch at the Victoria Hall on the 6th of September.
In August 1942, having received consent from the President of the Mineworkers’ Federation of Great Britain, Will Lawther, at their Conference in July, the British Crown Film Unit began scanning the country’s coalfield looking for a location to create a propaganda film based on the Lidice atrocity. Aspiring producer, Humphrey
Ostensibly, the situation immediately after the war seemed favourable for developing contacts between Britain and Czechoslovakia – there was complete cooperation between the freshly coalescing political establishment in Prague and the British Lidice Shall Live committee. In most cases, the mediator was the Czechoslovak Embassy in London. Contact between the Lidice
Alan Bush, the Workers’ Music Association & LidiceAlan Bush, the Workers’ Music Association & Lidice
Following Dr Barnett Stross and the British Lidice Shall Live delegation in their pilgrimage to Lidice in 1947 were eminent composer and conductor Alan Bush and his Workers’ Music Association (WMA) Singers. Bush had established the WMA in 1936, and they were visiting Czechoslovakia to participate in the First International Youth Festival
“We say this village shall be re-modelled and rebuilt!”“We say this village shall be re-modelled and rebuilt!”
The “Lidice Shall Live” scheme envisioned by Dr Barnett Stross and the North Staffordshire Miners’ Federation gained clear support from the Midlands Miners’ Federation. George Jones, the Midlands Miners’ Secretary from the Warwickshire branch, put the Lidice Shall Live proposal forward as a suggestion on behalf of his members on
At the start of the 1950s, a severe mutual distrust began to freeze East-West relations, and international communities feared the start of a fresh global conflict. A rise in tensions between the Super Powers, combined with a proliferation of atomic bombs on each side, meant the world lived in terror
12th July 1942, Stern Park Gardens – Lidice Illinois12th July 1942, Stern Park Gardens – Lidice Illinois
The first activities of the US Lidice Lives committee would focus on a small community called Stern Park Gardens, found on the outskirts of Joliet, Illinois. Merely two weeks following the disaster which befell the citizens of Lidice, the Chicago Sun magazine had an idea. It approached the Czechoslovak community
During the Second World War, General Aircraft Limited (GAL) became an important designer and manufacturer of gliders, in particular the massive Hamilcar troop and equipment carrier. GAL was also part of the Civilian Repair Organisation, repairing Supermarine Spitfires and modifying Hawker Hurricanes to enable catapult-launching from convoy escort ships. The work
Like the Writers’ War Board, the United States Office of War Information (OWI) sponsored and provided the concept for the highly popular Victory Theater with the help of CBS and legendary film-maker Cecil B. DeMille. From June the 7th, 1942, supported by celebrities from the world of stage and screen,
President Beneš had acknowledged the likelihood of reprisals when discussing the pros and cons of Anthropoid with Colonel Moravec the previous autumn; and must have expected some backlash following the death of Heydrich. Nevertheless, even he seemed genuinely shocked at the savagery of the Nazi response. When he made a
The Garden of Peace and Friendship had been opened on the 19th of June 1955. In 1956, the musical composition “A Rose for Lidice” was commissioned retrospectively by the Lidice Shall Live Committee to celebrate the opening of the rose garden. The choral piece was written as a soprano solo with
To the Writers’ War Board, the fate of Lidice presented the ideal opportunity for focusing the eyes of the American people on the malevolent ideology and methods of Nazi Germany. As early as June 12th, in their reporting of the atrocity, many newspapers in the USA emphasised a sense of incredulity
Eighty-eight children of Lidice were separated from their mothers and deported from Czechoslovakia by the Nazi Main Race and Resettlement Authority to a transit camp in Łódź, at Gneisenaustraße 41. The children were put in this former textile factory where two halls on the upper floor had been reserved for
The idea for a production line of professional writers, who would create high-quality propaganda to ensure America’s war effort remained resilient during the years of conflict ahead was initially proposed by Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau Jr., who agreed to an initiative to seek civilian writers to help promote the
If there is an instance of a catalyst for the trend of christening baby girls “Lidice” it would be José D’Elía (21 June 1916 – 29 January 2007). The high-profile Uruguayan labour leader, trade unionist and politician, worked as a shop employee at first before joining the trade union movement. By
Reactions to Lidice from leading statesmen in the USReactions to Lidice from leading statesmen in the US
News of the terrible happenings in Lidice provoked a wave of moral indignation across the United States. Czechoslovak Foreign Minister and Vice President-in-exile, Jan Masaryk, was the first statesman to speak out publicly about the devastation which had taken place, when he spoke from his home in Washington on Friday,
The Lidice Shall Live Committee organised for children from Lidice to visit Britain on a number of occasions. One such cultural encounter took place in the summer of 1962 when 15 children and 5 women arrived on Tuesday the 19th of June to be the honoured guests of communities such
On Sunday, June the 20th, 1948, something significant happened at Victoria Hall, the birthplace of the Lidice Shall Live campaign. The event typified the change in direction the nation was taking. A mere three years prior, the flags of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union were warmly embraced in the auditorium. Now their
The Lidice Rose Garden of Peace and Friendship was opened on the 19th of June 1955. People poured to Lidice from far and wide to see the spectacle. Dignitaries were present from around the world, including Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India; as well as other leaders from both sides
Events to Celebrate the Anglo-Soviet Mutual Assistance Agreement – 19th – 21st June, 1942Events to Celebrate the Anglo-Soviet Mutual Assistance Agreement – 19th – 21st June, 1942
TREATIES and NEW HOPE. Across the free world, shock at the news of Lidice was tempered with the announcement by Moscow Radio, on Thursday June the 11th of the highly significant news of the signing of an Anglo-Soviet Mutual Assistance agreement – which would see the two nations support each other
In Britain, the first seeds of a national public response to the tragedy which befell Lidice were sown a mere three days following the atrocity, at an exhibition of artworks organised by the North Staffordshire Branch of the Czecho-Slovak – British Friendship Club at the old Hanley Museum, Pall Mall, Stoke-on-Trent (see
Marie Uchytilová-Kučová was born in Kralovice, Czechoslovakia, on the 17th of January, 1924. The daughter of a clerk, from 1945 to 1950 she studied sculpture under Otakar Španiel at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts. In 1956 she won a public competition to design the Czechoslovak one crown coin, secretly basing the figure of a
The health of Dr Stross declined from 1960. He had asthma and bronchitis, was very thin and was constantly coughing. This was especially because of his lifelong smoking habit; he had spent so much time warning others of the consequences of the addiction he had neglected to do anything about
These photographs, which exist in a traditional leather album, came into our ownership about a decade ago. The pictures were a gift from the Stoke-on-Trent based local historian, Fred Hughes, who had come across them at a car boot sale. Unfortunately close inspection of the photos and/or the folder gives
Saturday, May the 27th, 2017, and Mayor of Lidice, Veronika Kellerová presents three keys in a special ceremony: one to Czech President Miloš Zeman, the second to Jan Thompson, British Ambassador to Czechia at the time, and a third to US Charge D’affaires, Kelly Adams-Smith. A Lidice rose was also awarded
Formal negotiations on the renouncement of the Munich Agreement began at the end of January 1942. At a luncheon given by Anthony Eden on January the 21st, Dr Beneš was asked to prepare a proposal addressing the consequences of the Munich Conference - which would be acceptable to the British Government.
"Your hour of liberation is drawing near. Hold fast to your faith, faith in your own leaders in this country, faith in the miners of this country, faith in the United Nations who will again restore to you the liberty which you have lost and peace to this tortured world."
UNRRA was a United States led initiative under the auspices of the United Nations. Set up in Washington D.C. on the 9th of November 1943 at the White House, it was signed off by Franklin D Roosevelt along with 44 signatories representing nations throughout the world (this was later extended to
The Society for the Restoration of Lidice was set up to ensure the plans for Lidice became reality, and it had strong British connections through some of its members’ historical wartime links within the Czechoslovak Government-in-exile and the Lidice Shall Live campaign.