Lidice Revisited via Muslim Brotherhood
Seventy-one years ago, The German Government, on orders from Adolf Hitler and Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler
proudly and formally announced to the world that it had razed the tiny village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, to the ground; destroyed every structure including the ancient Church of St . Margaret's; killed every man (including the priest) and fifty-two women; driven the surviving women off to 'concentration camps' and herded the children into 'educational institutions.' Lidice, they proclaimed, was now forever erased from the map and the memory of the world. This deed they did because of an unproved suspicion that the village had transiently harbored the executioners of the Hangman, [Reinhard] Heydrich (From the Foreword to the "Murder of Lidice" by Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1942).
The women were sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. A "few children considered racially suitable...were handed over to SS families and the rest were sent to the Chelmno extermination camp where they were gassed to death." Seventeen children survived the war. Images of the destruction of the town can be found here. Here are the names of the children who were murdered at Chelmno.
The whole world holds in its arms today
The murdered village of Lidice,
Like the murdered body of a little child,
Innocent, happy, surprised at play,--
The murdered body, stained and defiled,
Tortured and mangled, of a helpless child!
...The maniac killer who still runs wild-
Where he sits, with his long and cruel thumbs,
Eating pastries, moulding the crumbs
Into bullets (for the day is always near
For another threat, another fear,
Another killing of the gentle and mild)
In fact, "Hitler was frantic with rage [at the death of Heydrich] and, characteristically, what he called for was not justice but vengeance. He ordered the instant execution of 30,000 Czechs as a reprisal" for the death of Heydrich, a man some believed Hitler was grooming to succeed him. On the "night of May 27th, Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, ordered Karl Frank to shoot 100 'intellectuals.' Over the next few days, 3,188 Czechs were arrested of whom 1,357 were executed, while 657 died in police custody."
This was not sufficient for Hitler but, ever the pragmatist, he also "realized that 30,000 executions of Czechs would have a negative impact on the labor force" so he demanded that a "small community near an industrial center be selected and wiped out as punishment." Thus, there would be negligible impact on the Czech labor force as a whole.
Lidice was doomed from the start. It was claimed that one of the men who assassinated Heydrich had links to Lidice. Also the Gestapo had intercepted a note that contained the name Lidice but, in actuality, it was another Lidice in Czechoslovakia.
Dead mouths of men once happy as you,
As happy as you and as free,
Till they entered our country and slaughtered and slew,
And then-oh, never forget the day!-
On the tenth of June in '42,
They murdered the village of Lidice!
At the Nuremberg Trials, the footage of the mass murder at Lidice was shown as Document Number 379. After the Nazis exterminated this town, they moved onto the village of Lezaky. The villagers were taken to Pardubice Castle where 18 women and 34 men were shot to death. Between June 25 and July 2, 1942, more than 40 people were murdered. The 13 children taken from the village met the same fate as many of the Lidice children.
So what does this have to do with the title of this article and the Muslim Brotherhood?
Everything and nothing depending upon the whims of the world.
Dead mouths of men once happy as you,
Up through the ashes of Lidice...
Before you think, before you think
What is the best way
To keep your country from the foe you hate-
Keep it from sloping bit by bit
Down to what is the death of it!
Movies have been made; literature has been written; poems have been authored about the tragedy of Lidice. The remarkable sculpture seen here looks out at us and all I can see are the current pictures of Coptic Christians being systematically murdered in Egypt, circa 2013! How can we mobilize and get these people out? They do not want memorials of their families; they want freedom from oppression now!
Oh my country, so foolish and dear,
Careless America, crooning a tune,
Please think! - are we immune?
Catch him! Catch him and stop him soon!
never let him come here!
Ask yourself, honestly: what have we done? -
Who, after all, are we? -
That we should sit at peace in the sun,
The only country, the only one
Unmolested and free?
Catch him! Catch him! Do not wait!
Or will you wait, and share the fate
Of the village of Lidice?
Or will you wait and let him destroy
The village of Lidice, Illinois?
Oh, catch him! Catch him, and stop him soon!
Never let him come here!
(by Edna St. Vincent Millay (in response to the Writers' War Board resolve to do all in its power to make sure that Lidice, far from being destroyed, would never be forgotten)
Eileen can be reached at email@example.com