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How Stoke-on-Trent helped Lidice recover from the Nazis

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TV celebrity Nick Hancock visits the Czech republic to find out about the Nazi massacre in Lidice - and how the people of his home town of Stoke-on-Trent have helped in its reconstruction

The destruction of the Czech village of Lidice by the Nazis during WWII is a sad but little known part of European history. In a revenge incident, the Nazis murdered all the the men of the village, sent the women to concentration camps, then razed their homes to the ground.

Even less well known, it seems, is the role that Stoke-on-Trent played in the reconstruction of the village. A city doctor, Sir Barnett Stross, horrified by the news, set up his 'Lidice Shall Live' campaign, which raised what would now be £1m. Much of it was raised in the city; and, when it was finally given over to the Czech government after the war, helped to construct a new, model village.

Forgotten History

It was a piece of history that was all but forgotten. That was until the campaign was once again brought to the public attention by Alan and Cheryl Gerrard from The artbay Gallery, Fenton.

In fact the programme came as a result of their work and the direct links they had with the people in Lidice.

The project's objectives was to provide inspiration for the young people of Stoke-on-Trent, encourage in them a greater sense of community pride and lift their aspirations.

In doing so the aim of both Alan and Cheryl was to raise the profile of Stoke-on-Trent and change its perceptions from negative to positive.

Ongoing Work

The Gerrards continue with the project by recounting the story of Lidice, to schoolchildren around the area.

This year Stoke-on-Trent schoolchildren took part in an annual International Children's Art Competition set by the Lidice Gallery which celebrates the achievements of Sir. Barnett Stross and the people of Stoke-on-Trent in helping to rebuild Lidice.

Other work in their sights include a museum which commemorates Lidice and celebrates the work of the "Lidice Shall Live" campaign and developing a new "Barnett Stross" and "Stoke-on-Trent" rose for the Memorial Garden in Lidice.

Click to send a message of support to The Art Bay There is also a page devoted to Lidice

This film was first broadcast on BBC Midlands Inside Out.

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