German president meets Klaus, honours victims of Lidice

German President Joachim Gauck arrived on Wednesday for a one-day working visit in the Czech Republic, the first in his capacity as president. On Wednesday morning, he met with his Czech counterpart Václav Klaus at Prague Castle and later with Prime Minister Petr Nečas. After his meeting with Mr Klaus, the German president praised Czech-German relations as the best they had ever been. On Wednesday afternoon, accompanied by President Klaus, he travelled to Lidice - a village which the Nazis razed to the ground in 1942 in retaliation for the assassination of Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich. In Lidice, all 173 men were executed, women and children were sent to concentration camps, while some of the children were selected for re-education in Germany. After the war, only 143 women and 17 children returned to the country.

The visit to Lidice was on the agenda at the German president’s request and he became the first German head-of-state to visit the site of the village. Mr Gauck laid wreaths at the graves of those killed in the massacre and at the Lidice memorial.

Author: Jan Velinger