Do you know the story behind this sculpture of the children of Lidice Village in Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic)?
One of the deadliest battles in the history of mankind is World War II. Around 50 to 85 million people were killed because of such merciless warfare. The war broke off just because of two Utopian ideologies. Without out, the battle only benefited those of the upper echelons and not those who have bravely fought them. You could say the cruelty of the killings and attacks were unbelievable. Both the Soviets and the Nazis carried out their part. The massacres of the Holodomor and Holocaust, as well as the strategic bombing — these all wasted precious lives. And, their memory today remains.
Among the cruelest acts by the Nazis involved the wiping out of a whole village. It was the Lidice village in former Czechoslovakia, which is now part of the Czech Republic.
82 bronze children sculptures of Lidice Village in Czechoslovakia overlook their old home.
These sculptures of children created by Marie Uchytilova pay tribute to the children that lost their lives to the Nazis. The murderous act took place in the summer of 1942. At present, the sculptures include 82 children; there 40 boys and 42 girls. They were all mercilessly gassed at Chelmno. This Polish town had an extermination camp that the Nazis built during World War II. It was even the first that they’ve set up with a specific aim. It was to target ethnic groups, cleansing them by way of mass killings.
The Nazis killed all of these children during the Second World War.
On June 10, 1942, the Nazis had nearly finished off all the inhabitants of the Lidice Village. Theirs was a reprisal for a Nazi official’s assassination. The official’s name? Reinhard Heydrich — he was the Reichsprotektor of the Protectorate of Moravia and Bohemia. The Nazis have eventually destroyed all of the Lidice Village in Czechoslovakia. They killed the men, and then they separated the women and children, sending them off to concentration camps. It was the children’s last summer.
The Nazis completely destroyed the Lidice Village.
After Heydrich’s assassination, Hitler ordered the mass murder of thousands in Czechoslovakia to avenge the death of his Nazi official. Hitler also wanted to carry out severe punishments for anyone who would eventually harbor the assassins. Village residents were then bound to a fate: their adult men would get killed. Their women — brought to concentration camps. The children who resembled the face of an Aryan — the Nazis would “Germanize.” And, the remaining children would have to die a cruel death.
The Lidice Village became a specific target because one of its families had a son who was part of the England Czech army.
The Nazis executed all of the men in the Lidice Village. Then they took the women to concentration camps.
On that day, June 10, 1942, the Nazis had killed 173 adult men and took 184 women and 88 children. They dumped the poor children to an unused factory in Lodz, Poland. Then, the Nazis picked a few ones for Germanization. And, they brought the remaining 82 children to the Chelmno extermination camp. Finally, they gassed these poor ones.
Decades later, these children would forever haunt the village in the form of bronze statues.
Czech sculptor, Marie Uchytilova, created the haunting memorial.
Marie Uchytilova-Kucova was an academic sculptor professor. She was born in 1924, and the history of unbelievable cruelty to the children of her nation has deeply touched her heart. She decided on 1969 to create a commemorative tribute to all the young victims through a bronze monument.
It took the sculptor two decades to finish the memorial.
The 82 statues took two decades to finish. They were all above life-size in height. While Marie was working on her noble project, several people have come to visit her atelier. These later began helping her by collecting money for the commemorative tribute. Finally, in March 1989, Marie finished her sculptures in plaster. And yet, she has never seen that collected money. As such, Marie had to cast her first three statues in bronze through her own savings. Unfortunately, she died later that same year. And so she has left her project unfinished.
These children sculptures in Lidice Village now stand as a silent memory to the young lives that have been lost in the merciless killings.
After Marie’s unexpected death, J.V. Hampl, her husband, took over the work. By 1995, 30 children statues in bronze finishing were sent to their mothers in Lidice.
Finally, in 1996, they installed more sculptures, and later on uncovering the last ones by 2000. At present, you can see 40 boys and 42 girls in the monument. They were murdered in 1942, and they’re now overlooking a historic valley.
Source: Lidice Memorial