After the war, a memorial was built on the land that had formally housed the town of Lidice. Moreover, just outside of the memorial, a new town was built. The town itself is beautiful and quaint. Every building there along with its streets has such an unassuming nature. Coming from the city feeling of Prague (which is magnificent in its own right) it was a welcome and much needed change. I had not realized how much I had been craving quiet. But alas, this post is not about the town but about the memorial that now remembers its horrific past.
Before being there, all that we had been told was that the memorial was a garden of sorts. The word that was most often used to describe it by others was, “green.” The whispers on the bus leading us to Lidice were that of genuine interest or perhaps more appropriately concern. We had been told that we could spend as much time as we liked there and that because of that we were to take a bus back to Prague on our own. The concern was how we were expected to spend all day with nothing before us but a plaque and grass. Thankfully, we were much mistaken.
The place is absolutely breathtaking. I wish I could live in the newly built town just so that I could walk through the park everyday. The memorial started in a building. As a group we watched a short film in a circular room and were left with the image of the village being bombed. Then we went though the rest of the museum on our own. The lighting was dark and there were voice overs and films to be found in the corners of the walls. Here and there were little stone benches with lone walls straight ahead flickering through pictures. Still, other walls were lined with photographs and names to go with them of members of the town or depicting gruesome scenes that occurred near its end. The most touching aspect to be found was in a small room that showed a projection of hand written letters by the children of Lidice to their families before they were gassed in Chelmno. Each letter was accompanied by the gentle voice over of a child saying aloud what had been written in them.
After that I walked out into the main causeway outside and I felt as if I had just stepped into a scene one would find in a Jane Austen novel. There was a long and narrow fountain along with these gorgeous but odd looking trees. They were short and instead of its branches standing outstretched and tall, they slumped over so that the tops of them consisted of all branches and its leaves hung low to the ground. Then I took a turn and began walking through the most stunning garden I have ever laid eyes on. There were flowers of all varying colors, set into interesting designs. Once I got to the center, all of the flowers were red roses in full bloom. I do not know how I managed it but to say that the timing was perfect, because from the moment that I had stepped into the garden, I had been by myself. No one was with me or near me. It was perfect. I found myself feeling as if I had been transported into a mixture of Oz and Wonderland.
I then found my way further onto the grounds. It was so tranquil. I veered off of the path and chose to walk through the trees and on the grass. As I did so, I passed several statues and structures dedicated to various aspects of the town. I stopped by each one and would sing a quiet song. I ended up walking into the forest and stayed within range of the openness of green. Eventually I made my way toward the small lake that was nestled nicely between the moderate hills leading up to the new town and the forest. I stayed along the lake for a while and hummed a soft tune here and there. Every once in a while I would stop to watch the waters surface that would only be disrupted by the occasional fish poking its head out of the water in hopes of catching a bug hovering just above the surface. After what seemed too short of a time, I made my way to the bus stop and waved goodbye.