LIDICE – PERU
Callao, a Peruvian seaside city and region on the Pacific Ocean, just outside the capital Lima, paid tribute to the memory of Lidice by re-naming one of its loveliest squares and unveiling a memorial in honour of the Czech village on the 20th of June 1943.
The campaign started in April with the regional broadcasting station Radio Collao launching a massive propaganda drive in connection with Lidice. Then, the station’s director, in conjunction with a Peruvian senator, proposed the setting up of a Peruvian / Czechoslovak Organisational Committee. The Czechoslovak diplomatic representative Vladimír J. Polodna managed to organise a large commemorative ceremony for re-naming a part of the town of Callao to Lidice. An intensive media push took place in the run up to the event, with promotional leaflets being widely circulated, posters appearing in the streets, and a press conference being held.
The rally, headed by the President, Manuel Prado Ugarteche was attended by many leading Peruvians, cabinet ministers, representatives of the Senate and Parliament, diplomatic staff, army generals, clergy, delegates from Allied nations, the Mayors of Callao – de La Punta and Bella Vista, and also the entire Czechoslovak community in the country. Polodna did not have any official influence as the Czechoslovakian Embassy had been handed over to Germany in 1939; and so, his attendance at the event was in the role of “diplomatic representative of the Czechoslovak Government-in-exile”.
The memorial bore the words: Lidice Vivira Siempre – 10 Junio 1942