Lidice Memorial

Intersection of Hormer Lane and Prairie Avenue, Crest Hill, IL

A memorial to the citizens of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, massacred by the Nazi Gestapo in 1942

Photos 

Overview

This is one of two Lidice memorials located in the Unites States. The other memorial is located in Phillips, Wisconsin.

This memorial is situated in a subdivision and isn't easy to find.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in March 2020

Enlarge

Map 

Description 

In a cornfield north of Joliet, Illinois in 1942, Dominic Romano was developing a subdivision he had called Stern Park. When he heard of the Nazi atrocity against the village of Lidice, he renamed the development Lidice in honor of those who lost their lives at the hands of the Gestapo. It was the first town or part of a town to be named in honor of the obliterated village, others would follow around the world.

In September 1941, Adolph Hitler placed his hand-picked supervisor and third in command, SS Obergruppenfuhrer Reinherd Heydrich, as Acting Reichs-protektor of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, Bohemia, and Moravia. A ruthless dictator and an author of "The Final Solution," Heyrich was hated by the citizens for the imprisonment of 5,000 partisans, including the execution of some. Heydrich was executed by two members of the Czech army, operating in exile in England. They parachuted into the area and eventually placed a bomb in Heyrich's car. Heydrich was severely injured and died several days later in a Prague hospital. Hitler was outraged and demanded retribution against the citizens of Czechoslovakia.

No one is sure why Lidice, and two weeks later, the nearby village of Ležáky, were chosen for destruction. On June 9, the Gestapo surrounded the village and on June 10, rounded up everyone. They shot all men over 16 and children were separated from their mothers. The women and all the children, except for a few that were selected for "Germanization" were sent to a concentration camp, where many perished.

After WWII came to an end, the surviving women and children returned to Lidice where a new village was built near the old one. Crest Hill is a sister city to Lidice in the Czech republic.

Romano created a memorial to Lidice in 1942 and the exiled president of Czechoslovakia attended the dedication of the memorial. The Lidice subdivision became part of the city of Crest Hill in 1960. The original monument was damaged by vandals in 1995, but it was replaced by the Czechoslovakian American Congress thanks to donations of Czechs, Slovaks, and Moravians from around the Midwest.

This is one of two memorials to Lidice in the United States, the other is in Phillips, Wisconsin, which was built in 1944 by expatriates who resided in the area.

For more about Lidice, follow any of the links below or see the memorial in Phillips, Wisconsin. An essay appears in the Phillips, Wisconsin listing, written by Toni Brendal. She has done extensive work to the memory of Lidice and Ležáky, another village destroyed by the Nazis two weeks after Lidice.

Update Log 

  • March 4, 2020: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • March 4, 2020: Added by J.R. Manning

Related landmarks 

  • Lidice Memorial (Same design) - There are only two memorials to Lidice in the United States. The other is in Phillips, WIsconsin

Sources 

  • J.R. Manning - Lugnuts969 [at] gmail [dot] com