The Tragedy of Lidice u Kledna
In May of 1942, a group (four?) of Czech British trained assassins parachuted into Praha on a covert operation to kill Reinhard Heydrich. German reichsprotektor Heydrich was the transgressor ghoul responsible for atrocities committed in Moravia and Bohemia during the Nazi occupation of World War II.
The men succeeded. They were able to toss a grenade into Heydrich's auto in an ambush on May 27th, 1942. A week later, Heydrich died. Mass chaos in the Nazi Party erupted. A hunt for the assassins and any of their collaborators ensued. Rumors steered the Nazis to the small town of Lidice. On June 9th, Nazis invaded the town, executing all of the men (173) (some of the men were at work in the nearby town of Kladnu, some fled, the rest were executed firing line style). and sent the women and children to concentration camps in Poland. 82 children were euthanized in Chelmno where some of the first gas chambers were used. The village was destroyed, burned to the ground and removed from maps.
The assassins were eventually found in their final hiding place at St. Cyril church in Prague. The heroic standoff left the basement of the church bullet ridden, holes still remain in the walls from the onslaught of bullets the Nazis rained upon the men.
Lidice was eventually rebuilt near the original Lidice. No churches or schools were built, just plain socialist housing. All of the soul, the life had been stolen from Lidice. The Czech people soaked up the devastation, they felt it too close to their hearts. It became them, and when time to rebuild came, it was inevitable to find the lack of culture in this air of sorrow.
There is a story of a man after the war returning to Lidice, his boyhood home. He walked there over the rolling hills and fields, searching for a place he knew, he loved. When he arrived to an empty meadow, he thought his steps must have led him astray. He walked around bewildered, wondering if the town had pulled an Atlantis. He walked to the next nearby town, (which he also knew as part of himself) and inquired about Lidice. The ruin, the sorrow shook his essence. Imagine all of your family, your friends, the feeling of home being wiped away, the runoff of war crushing into, washing over all of your belief in hope.