Lidice’s children - Memory makes us free

Lidice’s children

Following the Nazi occupation of Slovakia, the German general Reinard Heydrich was killed in 1942 in Prague, in an ambush organized by some Czechoslovak patriots (the so-called Anthropoid operation), who subsequently were quickly discovered by the Nazis and slaughtered in their turn.

Hitler himself, however, decided to retaliate, rake and destruct, the 10th  June of the same year, the entire village of Lidice, Place of Origin of the Patriots’ Chief of Command; actually, the motivation appears a pretext to justify in the eyes of public opinion a massacre that in reality was a warning to all dissidents

The entire village

was razed to the ground, all buildings destroyed with dynamite and the 173 men from the age of 16  and above that lived in Lidice, were killed immediately, during an execution (before five, then ten of them at a time) that lasted five hours! Women and children were taken away. Some of them, 17 to be exact, were chosen to be germanised and adopted by German families

The other 82 were transferred to the extermination camp of Chelmno instead and sent to die in the gas chambers.

This heartbreaking sculpture which today stands before the Lidice Memorial is dedicated to them, 42 women and 40 men.

Memoriale di Lidice

Ottantadue statue in gesso, ritraenti i Bambini di Lidice frontalmente

The sculpture was started in 1969, by the Czech artist Marie Uchytilova-Kucova, who has dedicated her entire life and all her savings to this project, without, however, being able to complete it. It took twenty years to create eighty-two statues of children in plaster life-size, but at her death only three of them had been made of bronze

Her husband, JV Hampl, finished her work and realized her dream: the first 30 children in bronze appeared in 1995, the others were added a little by little until 2000.

Ottantadue statue in gesso, ritraenti i bambini di Lidice lateralmente

Today, everyone has the opportunity to admire the opera – maybe by going personally to the memorial of Lidice – and cannot help but cross his/her own eyes with those of the  lost, severe, frightened 82 children that can deeply touch the soul of the visitor, telling with the immediacy of a glance, the tragic futility of a massacre, that well represents the madness that crossed Europe in the years of Nazism.

Ottantadue statue in gesso, ritraenti i bambini di Lidice posteriormente

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