heydrich the hangman

Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich was a high-ranking German SS and police official during the Nazi era and a principal architect of the Holocaust. Because of the horrific things the man known as “Heydrich the Hangman” had done, the Czechoslovakian government-in-exile had decided they needed to get rid of him. The assassination didn’t go quite as planned when the assassin’s gun jammed, but a bomb thrown succeeded, albeit after a few days, caused Heydrich to contract sepsis, which ultimately lead to his death on June 4, 1942.

There was no evidence that the people of the village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia had anything to do with his death, but that didn’t matter to Hitler. On June 10, 1942, Hitler sent his troops to obliterate the village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia. They had apparently been chosen as the example to all others that killing Hitler’s men was not going to be tolerated. The troops went in and killed all the adult males and deported most of the surviving women and children to concentration camps. The retaliation against these innocent people for something they had no control over, was brutal!! The massacre was carried out just a day after the Nazis rounded up the residents of Lidice, which is located near Prague. During the raid, SS troops herded all the town’s male residents aged 16 years and older…a total of more than 170…to a local farm and gunned them all down. The Germans then shot seven women who tried to run, and deported the remaining women to Ravensbrück concentration camp, which was a women’s slave labor camp. At Ravensbrück about 50 prisoners died, and three were recorded as “disappeared.” Of some 105 children in the village, one was reported shot while trying to run away, and approximately 80 were reported murdered in Chelmno Killing Center, and a handful were reported murdered in German Lebensborn orphanages. A few of the orphans, who were deemed “racially pure” by Nazi standards, were dispersed throughout German territory to be renamed and raised as Germans. After the massacre, SS agents burned Lidice, blew up what was left with dynamite, and leveled the debris. The destruction was to be complete at all costs.

On child, Marie Supikova, a Lidice survivor, was just 9 during the massacre. She tells of the horrible train ride to Poland after her father was executed and her mother was sent to Ravensbrück. “We cried and cried because we were very scared, upset and confused,” Supikova told BBC in a 2012 interview. Because she looked “racially pure” she was spared. She was sent to a German family living in Poland and had her name changed to Ingeborg Schiller. “We all had blonde hair and blue eyes. We looked like the type that they could German-ize easily and raise as a good German girl or boy,” she said. Today, the Lidice Memorial honors the memory of the victims killed in the totally senseless annihilation of the village of Lidice.

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