Stoke-on-Trent City Council commemorated the 80-year friendship between Stoke-on-Trent and Lidice, in the Czech Republic with the official unveiling of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by representatives of the city council, Lidice Town Council and the Lidice Memorial.
The memorandum was originally signed in 2012 to celebrate the ‘deep and profound friendship’ between the two locations ever since the Lidice Shall Live campaign was launched on 6 September 1942. The copy of the agreement was unveiled at an event at the Kings Hall, in Stoke, which was led by Lord Mayor, Cllr Faisal Hussain, the leader of the city council, Cllr Abi Brown and representatives of the Lidice Lives organisation.
On the 10 June 1942, Nazis entered the village of Lidice, shot 173 men, removed all the women and children and razed the village to the ground. In Stoke-on-Trent, the response to the brutality of Lidice was led by local GP and Councillor Barnett Stross with the North Staffordshire Miners’ Federation. On 6 September 1942, the “Lidice Shall Live” campaign was launched at a mass meeting in the Victoria Hall, Hanley. The campaign was named in defiance of Adolf Hitler’s claim that “Lidice Shall Die”.
The event is part of a commemorative programme of events, organised by ‘Lidice Lives’, to be supported by the city council and agreed unanimously at a full council meeting in October 2021. Other elements include Hanley Town Hall being illuminated in red and yellow, the colours of Lidice, and the Czech flag being flown from Hanley and Stoke Town Halls.
Lord Mayor, Cllr Faisal Hussain (pictured unveiling the Memorandum of Understanding 6 September 2022) said: “I was honoured to visit Lidice in June on behalf of Stoke-on-Trent for the anniversary commemorations and have the opportunity to meet the Mayor of Lidice, Mrs Veronika Kellerova. I am incredibly proud to represent our city in remembering not just the tragedy that took place in Lidice but the heart-warming response of the people of Stoke-on-Trent. The events to mark 80 years of the Lidice Shall Live campaign will help to cement the enduring friendship between the two communities.”
Cllr Abi Brown, leader of the city council, said: “I have long supported the campaign to strengthen the city’s relationship with Lidice and visiting the village in June was a profoundly sad but also peaceful experience. At the launch of the Lidice Shall Live campaign, at the Victoria Hall in Hanley, Dr Benes, the Czech President in exile said ‘From now on, Stoke-on-Trent will live forever in the heart of every Czech citizen.’ While visiting Lidice I was delighted to see continued evidence that the citizens of Stoke-on-Trent, and the local miners who led the fundraising for the new village, are still remembered in Lidice today.”
Cllr Cheryl Gerrard, trustee of the Lidice Lives organisation said: “The Lidice Shall Live campaign spread across the globe, from the city of Lídice, Rio de Janeiro, to the Lidice neighbourhood of Crest Hill, Illinois. The inspirational Lidice Shall Live movement was launched here in Stoke-on-Trent, by Lidice’s fellow mining community. The Lidice Lives organisation is proud to have worked to spread the story of Lidice and the campaign to rebuild the village in the face of Nazi atrocity.”
Read more about the Lidice atrocity and the Lidice Shall Live campaign here www.stoke.gov.uk/Lidice
(Main image Cllr Gerrard, Cllr Brown, Cllr Platt, LM Cllr Faisal Hussain, Jon Rouse, Cllr Pitt, Alan Gerrard at the unveiling which took place Tuesday 6 September 2022).