I’d seen the 1975 film Operation Daybreak and was aware of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, but what I wasn’t aware of was the utter destruction of the village of Lidice as an act of vengeance and how the Staffordshire miners helped with the rebuilding of the village after the war. That was until Russell Phillips shot me an email.
How North Staffordshire miners saved a Czech village during WWII.Lidice was a peaceful and vibrant community in Czechoslovakia with a rich mining heritage. But an act of Nazi revenge saw this village wiped from existence in a horrifying chapter of European history.Disaster struck for Lidice in 1942 ruck for Lidice in 1942 when the prominent Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated. Described by Hitler as "the man with an iron heart", Heydrich was one of the key architects of the Holocaust.
His death, after an attack by members of the Czech resistance, left Hitler furious and desperate for vengeance. Looking for a scapegoat to blame for Heydrich's death, he settled on the village of Lidice, which had been falsely linked to the assassination.
In a brutal act which shocked the world, Lidice was completely destroyed. The men were shot while the women and children were rounded up and sent to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps.
Hitler was determined that by the time he had finished, no one would even remember Lidice, let alone live there. What he hadn't reckoned on was the efforts of a group of campaigners in Britain, who resolved to make sure Lidice would never be forgotten.
A Ray of Light tells the tale of Lidice's downfall and what happened next. Would the village simply be allowed to become a footnote in history, or would it rise from the ashes and forge a new future?
This book is a compelling testament to the power of friendship and solidarity, and how empathy and compassion can help rebuild the world.
Russell’s book is A Ray of Light: Reinhard Heydrich, Lidice and the North Staffordshire Miners. Its not a long read but is a book that everyone should read!
For one month from release you can get discount on your copy of the book by going to:
For Russell’s map on all things Lidice go to: