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Members of the Schutzpolizei (German protective police) pose in front of the Horak
family farm, which they just destroyed.

The Social Democrat Underground in Danger
In the summer of 1940, the Gestapo seized the records of the Czech Social Democrat underground, Peticni Vybor: Verni Zustaneme ("Forever Faithful"; PVVZ), in the Protectorate of BOHEMIA AND MORAVIA. Based on the information they found, the Gestapo arrested 1,772 underground members. As a result the PVVZ was put out of action, and essentially only the Communist underground remained.

The Killing of Heydrich
This situation alarmed the Czechoslovak government - in - exile, in London, and they decided an attempt had to be made on the life of the Reichsprotektor (governor) Reinhard HEYDRICH. On October 4, 1941, several two - man teams of parachutists were dropped into the Protectorate. One, which consisted of Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik, attacked Heydrich on May 27, 1942 at 10: 30 am, with the help of the small "Sokol" underground organization. Hand grenades were lobbed at his car and Heydrich was seriously wounded, dying of his wounds on July 4.

German Retaliation
The Germans immediately declared a state of emergency. Within two hours of the attack, Hitler ordered the execution of ten thousand Czechs; later, when Heydrich died, he increased the number threefold. Within twenty - four hours of the assault, the Germans raided five thousand towns and villages. By September 1, 1942, 3,180 persons had been arrested and 1,344 sentenced to death. The assassins and other parachutists who had taken refuge in the Saints Cyril and Methodius Church in Prague, were killed when their hiding place was divulged, but not before putting up desperate armed resistance.

The Razing of Lidice
Early in the morning of June 10, 1942, all the inhabitants of the village of Lidice were taken out of their homes, and all the men of the village - 192 in all - were killed, as were 71 women. The remaining 198 women were imprisoned in RAVENSBRuCK, and of these, 143 returned to the village after the war. 98 children were "put into educational institutions, " and of these no more than 16 survived. In the presence of the Protectorate's secretary of state, Karl Hermann FRANK and Heydrich's successor, Ernst KALTERNBRUNNER, the village of Lidice was razed to the ground. On orders from Heinrich HIMMLER, 252 relatives of people from Lidice were taken to MAUTHAUSEN, where they were killed on October 24, 1942; the victims included 130 women and many youths. In another village, Lezakey, near Pardubice, a radio transmitter was discovered, and the entire village, accept for two children sent to Germany to be "reeducated, " were killed. Lidice was rebuilt after the war and became a symbol of both the Nazi terror and the heroism of the Czech resistance.

Courtesy of:
"Encyclopedia of the Holocaust"
1990 Macmillan Publishing Company
New York, NY 10022

 


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