Poster Boy for Nazi Manhood

THE LIBERATION OF the Nazi concentration camps at the end of World War II gave the world a new atlas of atrocity. Ever since, place names such as Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen have been synonyms for evil. But during the war itself, if you had asked Americans to name a single place that summarized the reason they were fighting against Nazism, the most popular response would have been Lidice. On the night of June 9, 1942, Gestapo units surrounded this Czech village of some five hundred souls and wiped it off the map. All the men over the age of fourteen were shot on the spot; the women were deported to the Ravensbruck concentration camp and killed there. The children were subjected to a racial screening test: nine of them were found to be potentially “Germanizable” and were sent off to live with German foster parents, while the rest were murdered. The Gestapo went on to burn down every house in Lidice and then bulldoze the ruins.

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