The 71st anniversary of the Lidice tragedy will be remembered with a memorial service at Stoke Minster on Sunday.
The 2013 service will start at 4pm and will be conducted by Reverend David Lingwood.
This year the service will see the story of Lidice told through a five-minute animation called Lidice Shall Die on a large screen, followed by a drama named The Miners Respond: Lidice Shall Live. They have been produced by local artists Sarah Nadin and Nicola Winstanley, known as Dashyline, as part of the Unearthed project. A sculpture is also being built in the city centre to symbolise Stoke-on-Trent’s links with the Czech Republic village which will be unveiled later this year.
Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Sheila Pitt, who will attend the service, said:
“It will be a tremendous honour to represent the city as Lord Mayor at the service.
“It’s an emotional and inspirational story and I think the whole world should know about our links with Lidice.
“We will always remember the victims of Lidice but also the tremendous spirit and generosity of the people of Stoke-on-Trent in the months and years that followed.”
The service will include prayers, hymns and a period of silence to remember the tragedy. It was on June 10, 1942 when Nazi soldiers entered Lidice and killed all of the village’s 192 men, while 198 women and 98 children were separated and taken to a concentration camp. Of the 198 women, only 146 are known to have survived, while only 17 younger children survived. Lidice was then razed to the ground in order to wipe it off the map forever.
News of the tragedy soon reached the rest of the world as it was filmed and broadcast by the Nazis. The massacre inspired city councillor Barnett Stross to ‘Let Lidice Live’ and enlisted the help of local coal miners. Together they founded the campaign ‘Lidice Shall Live’ to raise funds for the rebuilding of the village. The ‘Lidice Shall Live’ campaign was launched in a packed out Victoria Hall on September 6, 1942 and in 1947 Lidice began to be rebuilt with the help of the £32,000 raised by people from the Potteries.
Former Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Terry Crowe will be travelling to Lidice with his wife Linda at their own expense to represent the city at the village’s annual service, which takes place on Saturday. They will also present a framed photograph to the mayor of Lidice of the official unveiling of Lidice Way in the city centre last month.
Councillor Crowe said:
“Me and my wife attended the service in Lidice last year and it was a very moving experience. We were given a fantastic reception by the people of Lidice and we’re very much looking forward to seeing everyone again.”