June of nineteen

Jan Hyrman
On the tenth of June nineteen forty-two, one hundred and seventy-three men and boys of Lidice were shot in the courtyard of Horak's farm, including the fifteen-year old Josef Hronik. 

Eight men and seven women of Horak's and Stribrny's family were executed in Prague according to false accusations.

Nine men of Lidice, who were on a night shift between the ninth and the tenth of June were executed in Prague as well.

Frantisek Pitin, who managed to escape and hid in the woods around Unhost, was given away by Josef Cerny, a forester, caught and executed. (In 1947, the forester was sentenced to a life's imprisonment.)

Bohumil Pospisil, a miner from Lidice, was brought from the Kladno hospital, where he being attended due to his broken leg, to Prague, where he was shot with the plaster still on his leg.

Forty nine women of Lidice died in the Ravensbrueck, Lublin, Auschwitz and Gruenneberg concentration camps.

Ninety eight children, of whom seven were under one year of age, were haled off, six children were born after the devastation of Lidice. Most of those dragged away children were imprisoned in the collection camp of the Berlin Main racial and re-settlement office in the Polish town of Lodz, in today's Leszna Street (Gneisenau-Strasse at that time). One of their letters, a card from Anna Bulinova to her grandmother Alzbeta Malikova in Dobroviz, speaks for them all:
It is 1942, the ninth of June, the summer will begin soon and amidst fields a few miles off Kladno, the great church of St. Martin looms over the roofs of houses and farms. It was built just after the Thirty Years War by Grand Duchess of Toscany, Maria Anna. I found a job here today, will work for Mr. Stepan Kotmel, a local farmer. Many men from here commute to work at the mines and steel mills of Kladno, a day shift or a night one, depends on the day. Others work in the surrounding fields, their children got to the village school, built already in 1824 - they say it was the first such institution in Bohemia with a central heating.

There is no main road around and time goes very slowly between the harvests, but once there is a harvest season, the time flies crazily, regardless of hot summers or tired men and women. The dignified teachers look very serious on the photographs, taken with their pupils in front of the school house. News from the town are being brought mainly by miners and steel workers, coming back from Kladno, exhausted, but often full of hatred toward the German employers, who have no remorse about squeezing their employees 'for the victory of the Reich'.

The ninth of June is a day like any other. Men and women leave for the afternoon shift as usual, others prepare for the night shift. Mines and steel mills can never stop, the furnaces never cool down. There is still enough work at the farms until late evening, but even here the rush stops and everyone finally goes to bed.

A few days ago Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich, a butcher with Czech blood on his hands, was assasinated in Prague. Finally his blood was shed as well! Now the whole country should suffer for it like never before, they say, but here in the village noone has felt the fury of the Nazis. The miners and steel workers bring terrible reports of executions and people dragged away into camps in Germany and Poland - everyone here wishes for the furor to end.

The tenth of June is a day like no other. Houses are aflame, but noone tries to extinguish the fires. The air is heavy with the smell of burning petrol, wood, flesh. Dust from collapsing roofs and walls fills our lungs. They dragged us from our beds and routed us into the cellars of Mr. Stanislav Horak's farm. Now they bring groups of ten outside to the courtyard. Blood boils in the veins, throbs in the head, our eyes are filled with coolness and tears of wrath, our ears with shots and the noise from outside. Now my group goes out, me and Mr. Kotmel step over bodies of the shot, now we know what is going on here. But why, for God's sake? We go over to the wall, to matresses which someone put against the wall... The local priest and the teacher lie here.

A squad of soldiers in grey-green uniforms stand against us, together with their commanders. "Gentlemen, tell us what you want and we will tell you everything!" Frantisek Kubik cries out in German. He is a local, but I was told he had been born in Germany and worked for the German press agency in Prague. But charges are not being read here, the judges probably know all the answers they would ever need for the sentence to be given. The firing squad turns around a little to his superiors, but Kubik's desperate cry is of no interest to anyone here. The sabre cuts through the ai
Dear Granny,

First of all, our greetings, I am sending you a lot of kisses and a thousand of our kindest regards. Granny, please, could you send me some dress to change and some underwear, I took nothing but one dress and we are bare-footed. Please send us a piece of bread, if you have any to spare. Granny, if you cannot get any clothes, I would have to wait - could you write to auntie to get some? Josef and Jaroslava told me to give you their regards, we are looking forward to your reply. Granny, send me some stationery so I can write. Please do not get angry at me for putting you to such inconvenience and asking so much, hopefully I will be able to return the favour.

Write soon, our heartiest regards,
Write soon and much. Anna.

Josef, Jaroslava and Anna
Josef Bulina, born nineteen thirty, Anna Bulinova, born nineteen twenty-eight, Jaroslava Bulinova, born nineteen thirty-one, were gassed in Chelmno together with further seventy-nine children.

Five children of Lidice, born shortly before the tragedy of Lidice or within the same year, died in Nazi orphanages.

Seventeen children, haled off to German families for re-education and Germanization or to Prague orphanages, lived through to see liberation in nineteen forty-five.


V. Konopka:
Zde stavaly Lidice (Here stood Lidice), Nase vojsko, Prague 1978