This Day In History: June 10

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On June 10, 1942, Nazi troops obliterate the village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia after killing all adult males and deporting most of the surviving women and children to concentration camps. The brutal action came as part of a retaliation for the assassination of Nazi SS leader Reinhard Heydrich, known as Heydrich the Hangman—despite there being no solid evidence connecting the town to the assassination plot.

The massacre was carried out a day after the Nazis rounded up the residents of Lidice, located near Prague. SS troops herded all the town's male residents age 16 and older—more than 170—to a local farmstead, and gunned them down. Germans shot seven women trying to flee, and deported the remaining women to Ravensbruck concentration camp, where about 50 died and three were recorded as “disappeared.” Of some 105 children in the village, one was reported shot while running away, approximately 80 were reported murdered in Chelmno killing center, and a handful were reported murdered in German Lebensborn orphanages. A few of the orphans, 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.

Marie Supikova, a Lidice survivor who was just 9 during the massacre, recalled a horrible train ride to Poland after her father was executed and her mother was sent to Ravensbruck.

“We cried and cried because we were very scared, upset and confused,” Supikova told BBC in a 2012 interview.

Supikova 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-ise 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 annihilation of the village.