Prague – The work of a memorial site in Lidice, the site of a World War II massacre in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, has become cloaked in controversy following the ouster of director Martina Lehmannova.
After the head of the Lidice Memorial in the modern day Czech Republic was forced to resign, 10 department heads and curators voiced their support for her, a spokesman for the group said on Friday.
In an open letter, the employees criticised growing pressure from Czech Culture Minister Lubomir Zaoralek and the controversial, communist dominated Czech Freedom Fighters’ Union (CSBS).
The workers warned that independent academic research was under threat.
Lidice was the site of a brutal Nazi massacre in World War II.
German soldiers razed the Central Bohemian village on the morning of June 10, 1942, in revenge for the assassination of a senior SS officer.
One hundred and seventy-three men were killed on the spot and 26 were killed later.
Women and children from the village were sent to concentration camps.
In a documentary broadcast by the Czech Republic’s CT television channel, a historian claimed that a Jewish woman from Lidice was sent to Auschwitz and killed after being betrayed by her landlady.
Lehmannova had called for the Jewish woman to also be commemorated at the memorial site. Some of the Lidice survivors were appalled by the idea, while others supported the move.
Around 150,000 people visited the Lidice Memorial near Prague last year, including many school children.