The Czech President-in-exile, Dr Edvard Beneš, had acknowledged the likelihood of reprisals when discussing the pros and cons of Operation 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 public statement about Lidice to the nation on the 29th of June through the Movietone newsreel, Beneš’s sense of hurt and moral outrage was unmistakable as he expressed a natural reaction that struck a chord with many:
“I have seen the eyes of Czecho-Slovak soldiers and airmen blaze with anger because of the massacre of Lidice. Some of those airmen took part in the fierce raids over Cologne and Essen. They will take part in many other raids before the war is ended.
“The whole Czecho-Slovak nation is determined to exact stern retribution for Lidice. That Justice, believe me, will come. The Nazis may have destroyed every single building in the village of Lidice and even obliterated the name of Lidice from their records.
“But in our own records and in the records of humanity, the name of Lidice will loom large and live forever.”