Book of Remembrance – Writing Assignment #21 (Part B)

Note: I published this blog article about a year ago, in 2014.  I am publishing it again today with a few modifications for our:

Writing by Inner Vision Journal

Writing Assignment #21 – Part B

How to write a journal assignment about a historical event.

***

June 10, 1942
Lidice, Czechoslovakia

Lidice_ChildrenSculptures

A bright and lovely June day in western Pennsylvania is everything we could imagine such a day would be. The birds are singing as they normally do on a June morning. The sun was up in the sky well Before 7 am:

     My dogs have had their morning walk. Bob and I have had a good breakfast together; we had toast and eggs and orange juice. Bob has gone into town to do some errands. I am at home in my office. I have some forms that need my attention today and I plan to get them all finished up and sent out today. In the kitchen, country music is playing on the radio. It’s a normal June 10th day in every way.

Eventually, the date of June 10th crossed my mind again. This time though, it was like a soft whisper from the distant past. Then, I began to remember something else. I remembered Lidice. I had visited Lidice once a year, on my summer travels in Europe. This village was so important, I believed, that I took my students there to stroll about the rolling landscape, walk through the fields of summer wild flowers that were blooming everywhere.

When I wrote my book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, I included a short historical note about Lidice. And, after that, I included the poem I wrote, “Book of Remembrance in Lidice.”

Below, I have put those two pieces from my book into this Blog post today, for you to read.

The journals that I kept each summer  as I traveled  became the source of information I needed to write about Lidice. I often turned to my journals for material to write new poems and essays.

 ***

Lidice_Field

from my book,

“Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” 

pages 9 – 11

Historical Note:

The earliest records concerning the village of Lidice is found in the 13th century. The village was dominated by St. Martin’s church. 

Lidice, a  typical Czech village,  had the first school with central heating in Bohemia in the 1700’s.

St Martin’s church was destroyed during the Hussite wars and again in the Thirty Years’ war.
It was rebuilt and decorated by Czech artists.

On June 9, 1942 the village of Lidice had 102 houses and 493 residents. The oldest woman was 88 years. The youngest infant was 2 weeks. There were 14 farms and a mill in the village.

On June 10, the shooting began:

192 men shot dead
7 women shot dead
52 women martyred in the concentration camp
88 children assassinated

Lidice was leveled to the ground.

___________

Book of Remembrance in Lidice

In the museum
a Book of Remembrance
records the facts –
names, dates, village

A Plexiglas box
holds debris –
sand and dirt
human remains

A basket of flowers on
an embroidered hanky
with lace around the edges
hands clasped in friendship
on a corner of the lace scallop.

Envelopes
with tea colored letters
faded red stamps
written in pencil
postmarked.

A wall for the men
A wall for women
with photos and
names
pf the dead
posted

Eighty-two bronze children stand
In the field just off the path
It’s a secluded place
beneath a solitary pine tree
where chicory frolics with the grass.

I imagine it was such a lovely summer meadow
Clover, Sweet Peas, Dandelion,
Crown Vetch, Queen Anne’s Lace
a large snail in a smooth spiral shell
beneath the silent pine tree

Zum Gedenhen an die millionen kinder, Die Dem 11. Weltkrieg zum opfer gefallen sind.

In Memoriam – Jahre 1942
The Children of Lidice

______________

…all past events are more remote from our senses than the stars of the remotest galaxies, whose own light at least still reaches the
telescopes. But the moment just past is extinguished forever, save for the things made during it.
George Kubler

Lidice_Memorial_2010_11

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