The village of Lidice, near Kladno, was razed to the ground by the Nazis in June 1942. Of the village’s population: 172 men were shot there while the rest of them were executed later in Prague, 196 women were taken to a concentration camp, 105 children deported for racial review, 17 survivors were found after the war.
This documentary points out how the view of the tragedy that happened 60 years ago has evolved with time. It shows the world’s reaction to it and further works with the film by British director Humprey Jennings called The Quiet Village which was shot in United Kingdom in 1942. The screenplay of this acted reconstruction of the Lidice tragedy was written by Czech writer Viktor Fischl who later served as an Israeli ambassador. The feature film was shot on location in a village of Cwmgiedd in South Wales and it became a transparent symbol of the fight against Nazism.
After the communists took over Czechoslovakia in 1948 Lidice was once again used as a propaganda tool substituting the word “fascism” with the word “imperialism” to serve the particular needs of the communist power.
Stingl’s film thoughtfully shows all the variations of the symbolism and intertwines it with the destinies of the people who were personally affected by the tragedy. Critical parts of the movie are represented by the use of the British film reconstruction of the tragedy. It stands in sharp contrast with the Nazis’ own recording of the events in Lidice both ethically and technically. The parts of the victims of Lidice were played by Welsh miners in the British movie. The living tried to portray the destinies of those already dead.
Stingl’s current view, using both the historical contrasts and personal memories of people from Czechoslovakia and United Kingdom, reveals yet another transformation of the Lidice tragedy courtesy of forty years worth of historic misrepresentation by yet another regime.