Until spring 1942, Lidice was a village only 22km far from Prague. 493 people lived there in 102 family houses. Most of the men worked in steelworks and coal mines in 7km distant Kladno.
Since march 1939, the Czech Republic, like many other regions in Europe, had been occupied by National Socialist Germany and the territories had been degraded to and treated as colonies. In May 1942 an assassination was attempted on Reinhard Heydrich, ruler of Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Heydrich died on June 04th 1942. The day before, on June 03rd the Gestapo discovered a trace – a misinterpreted love letter- which led to Lidice. Investigations in Lidice gave no confirmation on the suspicion that the residents were involved in the attack. Nevertheless, an example should be set.
On June 09th, the day of Heydrichs burial in Berlin, the fate of Lidice was sealed in a leaders meeting:
Concerning the town of Liditz, Kladno district. On 09.06.1942, at 7:75pm; the SS- Gruppenführer K.H. Frank from Berlin announced by telephone that due to a meeting with the Führer the village of Litittz had to be treated as follows:
Böhme, Commander of the Security Police and the SD, June 12th 1942
The murderous plan was implemented and Lidice was razed to the ground.
Just a few weeks after the liberation from Hitler fascism the Czechoslovak government decided to build a new Lidice. Many people, especially young people from Czechoslovakia and other countries of the world, contributed to this development. A new settlement was build where the residents still live.
Today a memorial, surrounded by a big rose garden in which rose trees out of 25 countries from all over the world are growing, is located in the valley of Lidice. In 1955 the „rose garden of friendship‘‘ with roses from all around the world was planted.
Thus the rose became the symbol of Lidice - a symbol of love that is stronger than violence.
Lidice is alive!