published: 08.06.2012, 15:09 | updated: 08.06.2012 15:24:10
Prague - German President Joachim Gauck said in a letter to his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus today that Germany is aware of its historical responsibility for the terrorist acts in the destruction of the Czech villages of Lidice and Lezaky and that he feels ashamed of them.
Gauck wrote in the letter on the 70th anniversary of the Lidice and Lezaky massacres, that German ambassador to the Czech Republic Detlef Lingemann brought to Klaus this morning, that he shares pain for the victims.
He expressed admiration for the courage of the Czechoslovak paratroopers who committed an attempt on the life of Deputy Reichsprotector of Bohemia and Moravia Reinhard Heydrich in Prague on May 27, 1942.
Heydrich succumbed to the wounds he suffered in the attack. The Nazi occupiers retaliated with terror. They declared martial law in the country and executed many Czechs.
Lidice, central Bohemia, was obliterated on June 10 and Lezaky, east Bohemia, was burnt to the ground on June 24.
In Lidice alone, 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.
Gauck wrote that thinking of the despicable terrorist acts in Lidice and Lezaky fills him with a deep sorrow and shame, and that Germany is aware of its historical responsibility.
He said all political effort must be exerted to prevent a repeat of war and terror.
Gauck wrote that the horrors of World War Two arising from Germany have left over deep wounds.
However, there is also hope because the Germans and Czechs are today partners and friends in a free and united Europe that feels committed to human rights and freedom, Gauck wrote.
Klaus wrote to Gauck that he esteems the letter very much.
He said he appreciates very much Gauck´s effort to give a new impulse to the overcoming of the remnants of mistrust that persist in the public on both sides of our common border.
Klaus wrote that he considers the letter a strong statement about the tragic period of occupation and the crimes of Nazism, and that the letter is a positive gesture towards the Czech Republic.
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