After the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Gestapo agents found the radio transmitter in Ležáky which belonged to Operation Silver A. Alfréd Bartoš, the leader of resistance group Silver A, committed suicide in a hopeless situation. On June 24th, 500 SS troops and policemen surrounded Ležáky, took away all the inhabitants and the village was reduced to "rubble". All 33 villagers (both men and women) were shot and thirteen children were taken away into custody. In mid-December 1943, the débris of Ležáky was pulled down by 65 men from Nazi work camps.
Among the 13 children, sisters Jarmila and Marie Šťulík were selected for the 'Aryanisation' programme (both were later found and returned after the war). The remaining 11 children were sent to the Chełmno extermination camp and in summer 1942 gassed (together with one girl from Lidice).
Ležáky was not rebuilt after the war, and only memorials exist today.
On June 10, 1942, all 173 men over 15 years of age from the village were executed. Another 11 men who were not in the village at the time were later arrested and executed. Meanwhile, 184 women and 88 children were deported to concentration camps; a few children considered racially suitable for Germanisation were handed over to SS families and the rest were sent to the Chełmno extermination camp to be gassed to death, after the war ended, 153 women and 17 children survived and returned.
The village of Lidice was set on fire and the remains of the buildings destroyed with explosives. Even those buried in the town cemetery were not spared. Their remains were dug up and destroyed.
All this was in mistaken retaliation for the assassination of SS-Obergruppenführer and General of Police Reinhard Heydrich, Acting Reichsprotektor of the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemian and Moravia. The village of Lidice, unlike the village of Lezaky which was also destroyed and its people massacred, had nothing to do with the assassination plot.
On this day, June 4, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich died of sepsis, a complication from the assassination attempt on May 27th.
Heydrich was a high-ranking German Nazi official during World War II, and one of the main architects of the Holocaust: Earlier, he helped organize the Kristallnacht. During the war, he was directly responsible for the Einsatzgruppen, the special task forces which traveled in the wake of the German armies and murdered over one million people, including Jews, by mass shooting.
Heydrich was attacked in Prague on May 27, 1942 by a British-trained team of Czech and Slovak soldiers who had been sent by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile to kill him in Operation Anthropoid.
Thomas E. Keefe
Assistant Professor of Humanities,