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Lidice, Lezaky, Lesaky, Lesaty, Czech, Heydrich, assassination, reprisal
On the night of June 9–10, 1942, German police and SS officials were deployed to the Czech town of Lidice in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (the German-annexed Czech lands). The Nazis targeted Lidice as a reprisal action for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the governor general of the territory, who died from his injuries on June 4, 1942. German officials erroneously claimed that two families from the town of Lidice had aided the assassins and the Czech resistance.
Nazi authorities vowed to obliterate the name of Lidice from the map of Europe. First, units of the German police shot all males over the age of 15. Most of the town’s women were deported to concentration camps, while the majority of children were gassed at the Chelmno killing center. Finally German officials razed Lidice to the ground.
The destruction of Lidice and the brutal treatment of its inhabitants was widely reported internationally. Lidice became a symbol of Nazi Germany's wartime brutality.
The Nazis did not stop their retaliation efforts with Lidice. They carried out further reprisals in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
The fifty-person village of Ležáky was treated similarly to Lidice. On June 24, 1942, Ležáky’s adult residents, both men and women, were shot. Thirteen children were deported, and most were killed, probably in the Chełmno killing center. The small town was likewise razed to its foundations.
As part of the reprisals for Heydrich’s assassination, German authorities arrested 3,188 Czechs and sentenced 1,327 to death. In addition,they deported thousands of Jews from Prague to the Lublin concentration camp (also called Majdanek), as well as to other camps.
Dates to Check
Typically, daily newspapers reported news the morning after it occurred. However, some papers were printed in multiple editions, including evening news. If you are using an evening paper, begin your search on the same day as the event being researched.
June 10, 1942 - October 1942 News articles, editorials, opinion pieces, letters-to-the-editor, and political cartoons about the destruction of Lidice.
June 25, 1942 - October 1942 News articles, editorials, opinion pieces, letters-to-the-editor, and political cartoons about the destruction of Ležáky.
Lidice: The Annihilation of a Czech Town (Encyclopedia Article)