Lidice – A Name Forever Associated with Peace and Reconciliation 1942 –

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 1945, he was taking part in the establishment of the Worldwide Labour Union Federation. In 1942, he participated in the foundation of the General Union of Workers (UGT) and was its General Secretary. That same year, his wife gave birth to a baby girl on June 10th. The following day came the dreadful news about the razing of Lidice.

Lidice &Quot;The Name&Quot; By Artist Steve Shaw. Available From Theartbay Gallery And Fine Art Publishing.
Lidice: The Name: Steve Shaw

For Jose D’Elía, there seemed to be only one proper course of action. His daughter must receive the most honourable and best-sounding name her parents could think of—“Lidice.” When the Uruguayan trade unionist later visited Czechoslovakia, he brought back to the girl a handful of Lidice soil and some flowers. While we cannot verify that the case of Jose D’Elía and his wife is the first of parents baptising their daughter with the name of the village, it certainly was not to be the last.

Jose D’elía, Uruguayan Labour Leader, Trade Unionist, And Politician
Jose D’Elía, Uruguayan labour leader, trade unionist, and politician

Throughout the summer of 1942, the reports from the East relayed increasingly alarming news about the whereabouts of the children of Lidice. Nazi statements about their so-called “re-education” could not be independently verified, and soon information about the children dried up entirely. The free world became gravely concerned about their welfare.

Soon, across the Western Hemisphere and other nations of the world, while the young of Lidice were losing their names, lives, and culture, people of goodwill began preserving those names. Baby girls christened Lidice stamped the village’s name on humanity for generations to come, along with the inalienable and invincible power of life.

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