Lidice, Czechoslovakia file photo [25258]

Lidice Massacre

9 Jun 1942 - 10 Jun 1942


ww2dbaseOn the morning of 27 May 1942 in the streets of Prague, Czechoslovakia, the region's highest ranking Nazi officer, Reinhard Heydrich, was attacked while riding in his car. Heydrich survived the initial attack but after refusing surgery from non German doctors, he died of his wounds eight days later on 4 Jun 1942. The German response to the assassination was swift and exceedingly brutal. Everyone the Germans could locate who had any part in the ambush or in protecting the attackers was summarily executed, along with their entire families. In the days between the attack on Heydrich and his eventual death, at least 157 people were killed in the reprisals. But it did not stop there.

ww2dbaseActing on weak evidence that later proved to be completely unfounded, German SS officials turned their attention to the village of Lidice northwest of Prague, a small farming and coal mining village of about 500 people. On 9 Jun 1942, the chief of the SS police in Prague, Horst Böhme, along with the top SS officers in the region, Karl Hermann Frank and Kurt Dalüge, directed SS troops to surround Lidice and block all paths of escape. From there, they executed a set of explicit orders given by Adolf Hitler himself to wipe complicit villages off the map.

ww2dbaseThe bad information that brought the Germans to Lidice led them specifically to a farm on the edge of town that had been owned for generations by the ancestors of Bohumil Horák. Bohumil Horák was not there at the time but the barns and cellars of the Horák farm were taken over and all of Lidice's men 16 years of age or older were herded inside for the night. All of the village's women and children were detained inside the school. Any villager who resisted, whether man, woman or child, was shot on the spot. Starting at dawn the following morning, the men were led out of the cellars five at a time and into the garden next to the Horák barn where they were shot. Before long, they were led out in groups of ten at a time. When the cellars were empty, 173 men lay dead, including the village priest, Father Josef Stemberka. 203 women and 105 children were removed from the Lidice school and sent temporarily to the nearby town of Kladno. All of the animals in the village were also killed, both farm animals and pets.

ww2dbaseWith no more residents in Lidice, the SS troops took anything of value from the village. That included opening every grave in the cemetery and removing gold teeth and jewelry. Jewish slave laborers were brought in from the nearby Theresienstadt concentration camp to dig a mass grave for the dead men. Once the village was fully looted, the buildings were burned and then the remaining stone walls were knocked down. Explosives were used to bring down the sturdy Saint Martin's Church that had been standing since 1732. The stones of the town, including the broken up headstones, were then hauled away and used elsewhere as road material. The stream through the village was re-routed and crops were planted over the area, thus completing Hitler's orders to remove any visible trace that the village ever existed.

ww2dbaseWhile the village structures were being demolished, nineteen Lidice men and seven women who had not been in the village at the time of the massacre were rounded up and executed, including Bohumil Horák. At the same time, Böhme, Frank, and Dalüge took their show on the road and conducted a nearly identical operation against the smaller village of Lezáky about 150km away.

ww2dbaseThe Lidice women were taken from Kladno with most sent to the RavensbrĂĽck concentration camp in Germany. Four pregnant women were forced to undergo abortions. Eighty-eight of the Lidice children were sent to LĂłdz, Poland. Seven of the children who were considered "racially suitable" were placed in SS families for "Germanisation." By late June 1942, Adolf Eichmann ordered the execution of the remaining Lidice children at LĂłdz and they were transferred to the death camp at Chelmno, Poland. Only 143 of the Lidice women and 17 children are known to have survived the war.

ww2dbaseNothing in the treatment of Lidice derived from any of the Nazi ethnic policies. Lidice was predominately a Roman Catholic peasant village. The operation at Lidice was simply a reprisal; a stark demonstration of ruthless power. Lidice was intended to serve as an example so the Germans made no attempt to conceal it, as they had with other massacres. Indeed, the event was publicized to the world. The entire operation was well photographed and a documentary film was made by filmmaker Franz Treml. The world reaction was swift and filled with shock and outrage.

ww2dbaseThe collection of German photographs and films later became exhibits in the war-crimes trials in Nürnberg, Germany and other cities. Karl Hermann Frank and Kurt Dalüge were tried as war criminals, based largely on the events at Lidice, and both were executed in 1946. Horst Böhme was declared a war criminal and remained on the wanted list for years without being apprehended. He was declared dead in 1954 but his true fate was never determined.

ww2dbaseThe village of Lidice was not rebuilt at its original location but a new village of Lidice was built about 300 meters away. The boundaries of the original village were used to define a "Reverent Area" that is part of a larger Lidice Memorial, which still remains.

Lidice Memorial
Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
Quido Jerábek and A. Hamerky via
The War Illustrated

Last Major Update: Dec 2015

Lidice Massacre Interactive Map


Lidice, Czechoslovakia in the 1930s.Lidice, Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. Courtyard of the Horák family farm. The X marks the entrance to the cellars where the village men were gathered on the night of 9 Jun 1942.Lidice, Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. Gate to the courtyard of the Horák family farm. The village men were marched through this gate and into the cellars on 9 Jun 1942.Lidice, Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. St. Martin’s church built in 1732 seen in the distance from the village cemetery.
See all 28 photographs of Lidice Massacre


Map of the layout of Lidice, Czechoslovakia. A symbol of a cross with a wreath marks the location of the Horák family farm where all 173 of Lidice’s men were murdered by the SS on 10 Jun 1942.

Lidice Massacre Timeline

9 Jun 1942 SS personnel under Horst Böhme, Karl Hermann Frank, and Kurt DalĂĽge surrounded the village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia.
10 Jun 1942 Czechoslovakian towns of Lidice and Lezáky, incorrectedly linked to the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, were wiped out per personal orders of Adolf Hitler; all males were murdered; all females were deported to the RavensbrĂĽck concentration camp, and all buildings were leveled to the ground.

Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds

Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Michael Frederick OLIVE says:
9 Feb 2019 12:01:32 PM

I do not think 'Did you ENJOY this article' APPROPRIATE!

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments


1. We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

2. For inquiries about military records for members of the World War II armed forces, please see our FAQ.

Search WW2DB
More on Lidice Massacre
» Böhme, Horst
» Daluege, Kurt
» Frank, Karl
» Heydrich, Reinhard
» Hitler, Adolf

» Czechoslovakia

Lidice Massacre Photo Gallery
Lidice, Czechoslovakia in the 1930s.
See all 28 photographs of Lidice Massacre

Famous WW2 Quote
"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us... they can't get away this time."

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal

Support Us

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 a month will go a long way. Thank you!

Or, please support us by purchasing some WW2DB merchandise at TeeSpring, Thank you!