In 1941, Free Czechoslovak agents assassinated SS Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich, Hitler’s protege and Nazi boss of occupied Czechoslovakia. In retaliation, Hitler rounded up and killed 4,000 Jews and, razed to the ground the mining village of Lidice, killing all the 199 men and boys over the age of 16, and transporting the 207 women to concentration camps.
87 children were gassed in specially-adapted lorries. Eight children were chosen by the Nazis to survive, because of their fair hair and blue eyes; they were billeted on German families to be brought up as Aryan Nazis.
Hitler declared: The name of Lidice will be obliterated from the face of the earth.
This film shows why this has not happened. We have filmed in a mining village in Wales, Cwmgiedd, where the children every year remember Lidice in poetry and song; we go back to Lidice from Swindon in England with Win, the widow of a Lidice family, the Horaks, who were suspected of being involved in the successful plot to blow up Heydrich’s car.
We have found the Nazis’ own film of the destruction of Lidice, and have a photograph of the smiling film crew which recorded this horrendous war crime. And we embrace the brilliant British propaganda film, SILENT VILLAGE (1943 Crown Film Unit) directed by Humphrey Jennings, in which the village of Cwmgiedd becomes Lidice and is annihilated by the SS, as a warning to the British of what would happen if the Nazis invaded the UK in World War Two.
This film is a tribute to the brotherhood of man and, particularly, of miners. For Lidice refused to die. It has been rebuilt on the hillside overlooking the valley in which the original Lidice once stood.
LIDICE: THE VILLAGE THAT REFUSED TO DIE is written, produced and directed by Peter Williams. It was already won two awards – from the international IMPACT festival for its strong message, and from the international IndieFEST film festival in three categories – Documentary feature, History/Biographical and, to the director, an Award of Excellence.
The film will be premiered on Thursday September 28th at 7pm at The Welfare, Ystradgynlais, and at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff on Sunday, October 1st.
Profits from this film are supporting two charities: Lidice Shall Live, and the Josef Herman Foundation, Cymru.