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.
“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.”
It was Thursday, the 10th of July, and the audience with Marshal Stalin had been arranged for 9.30am. Jan Masaryk and Dr Drtina met half an hour earlier in one of the rooms of the State residence put at their disposal, but Gottwald was late.
On Saturday 13th November 2021, the community of Lidice and all those who knew him, raised a final glass to Václav Zelenka.
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 48).
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.
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
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 work had definitively ended.
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 war.”