“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.”
Merely two weeks following the disaster which befell the citizens of Lidice, the Chicago Sun magazine had an idea. It approached the Czechoslovak community living in a federal housing project on the outskirts of Joliet. Officials of the estate agreed to change its name to “Lidice” so that Adolf Hitler’s announced intent of erasing the community off the map would not come to pass.
As early as June 12th, in their reporting of the atrocity, many newspapers in the USA emphasised a sense of incredulity and revulsion at the fate of the village. What is more, there was talk of retribution for Lidice and the need for a definitive end to Nazism.
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 war effort of the United States to its citizens.
If future generations ask us what we fought for in this war, we will tell them a story about Lidice… And here is our answer to the Nazis. You did not exterminate Lidice – you gave them an eternally lasting life. You have given them a name that will live forever in the hearts and minds of free people everywhere. You have made them a symbol of the struggle for freedom – the war call of millions who value freedom more than their lives.