This past Saturday, June 15, hundreds of people in Lidice, Kladno, commemorated 77 years of extermination by the Nazis. The diocesan bishop Vlastimil Kročil took part in the ceremony.
The commemoration was preceded by Mass on the foundations of the Church of St. Martin, which was celebrated by the bishop of České Budějovice, Vlastimil Kročil, who honored the memory of the Lidice victims.
“It is not easy to speak at this point, for human words are not enough in the face of the tragedy that occurred here; how hard it is to express what a person feels in his heart at the thought of that day in June 1942, ” said the bishop.
According to the prelate, we should remember that ” totalitarian regimes do not arrive from one day to the next, but in small steps, all the time under the guise of democracy, law and freedom. The consequences of such a government, however, can be absolutely frightening.”
“‘Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’, ‘No’.’ This word of Jesus is a challenge for all of us to stand guard for the values of the Gospel and for all the noble human values and also to be determined and brave to face the evil that is in present.”
“If we celebrate the Eucharist together here, we do so with responsibility and commitment. Into this eucharistic sacrifice we want to put in the names of all the victims of the Lidice tragedy, and I want to remember in particular the name of the priest Josef Štemberk because just a month ago we commemorated his 150th anniversary. After all, he, too, was one of those who brought to life the words of Jesus that we are thinking today; from them he drew strength as he stayed with his parishioners and spiritually strengthened them before death. May his example encourage us to always remain strong in situations where it is necessary to express ourselves clearly and say “yes, yes” or “no, no!”, Bishop Vlastimil Kročil emphasized in the homily.
The main speech, attended by representatives of the state and public life, was presented by the President of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondráček, and the final prayer was delivered by Miloslav Kloubek , a military chaplain .
Hundreds kidnapped and murdered
The fate of Lidice was consummated on June 10, 1942. After the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich on May 27, the village was demolished. 173 men were shot, women and children were taken to Kladno, to the secondary school, where the children were subsequently separated from their mothers. The women were taken to Ravensbrück and 82 children were murdered at Chelmno.
Only 143 women and 17 children survived the war from about 500 inhabitants. But the Nazis’ original intention to wipe the village from the face of the Earth did not work out. Lidice has been restored and a number of squares, streets, municipalities and even women all over the world bear the name of Lidice in honour of the village.
(Radka Blajdová, Czech Bishops’ Conference)