June 10, 2017, marks the 75th anniversary since Nazis decimated the inhabitants of Lidice, and annihilated their village in what was then Czechoslovakia. Known as one of the worst single act atrocities of WWII, many special events are being planned to remember and honor the village and its people in Lidice, Czech Republic. Events occur throughout the year, and can be found at www.lidice-memorial.cz.
In Phillips, when news of Lidice was heard on the radio, friends met on the streets, in stores, and at Sokol Hall. They were sickened to hear about the inhumane events. Many of the victim’s surnames were identical to their own. With mixed emotion of helplessness and despair, they made a plan to memorialize Lidice in their own village.
Residents of Phillips intended the permanent memorial to be significant in order to convey their heartfelt hope that those who died at Lidice had found peace and everlasting life. They hoped the world would never forget what happened. The final, permanent monument was placed in 1944 with assistance of Sokol and ZCBJ lodges.
|Lidice memorial at Phillips, WI.|
Its silo-like pillar symbolizes the United Nations. Three rods in the pillar portray the Czech, Slovak, and Moravian people leaning on the United Nations for support. The evergreen spray on the monument’s face symbolizes everlasting life for the people of Lidice. The molded circle represents the rising sun to indicate that the people of Lidice and Czechoslovakia would rise again. A small vault with soil from Lidice was buried at the base following the end of the war.
The Phillips Czechoslovakian Community Festival began because of the re-dedication of the Lidice Monument after it was damaged during a wind storm and repaired in 1983. Such interest was shown that it seemed something more was in order.
Original festival committee members were the children of Czech and Slovak immigrants who settled in Price County. They drew on memory to recreate traditions, foods, music, and song lyrics almost forgotten. They were the best advisors to preserve Czech and Slovak heritage and record the histories of the families who settled in the area, lest it be lost. Most of them still spoke the language learned at their mother’s knee. Personal tales spilled out while they baked and cooked in the school kitchen to prepare for the events. Soon, the Czech/Slovak singers were organized and sang at community events around the area.
Members of Western take part in planning and participating at the annual festival. The festival has taken place in Phillips each full third weekend in June. This year’s festival will be June 16-18, opening at the First Baptist Church on Friday evening with the Lidice Memorial Service at 7 p.m. Therese Trojak co-chairs the service with daughter, Maureen. Both are members of Nadeje Slovanu No. 236, Phillips, WI. A special 75th anniversary program is planned.
On June 17, the action moves to the Phillips High School on Flambeau Avenue/Hwy W in Phillips, WI. Doors open to lively music and the aroma of fresh batches of rolls and kolache being pulled from the oven. An aura of excitement fills the air as many attendees save this weekend for family reunions. Some travel great distances to see old friends as they find their way home for this special occasion. Entrance to the event is a $2 button. Food reminiscent of grandma’s kitchen can be purchased on Saturday. A bakery booth features kolache, rohleky, hoska, and rye bread for sale. A hospitality table offers coffee, kolacky, and other delectables for purchase. Plenty of seating is available so friends can sit and visit.
At the Kids Korner, kids are invited to create a colorful red felt vest with furnished embellishments. Several other artistic creations are available free to the children.
Members of the Price County Genealogy Society assist The Czechoslovakian Genealogical Society International in finding family connections for the many people who have an interest in genealogy.
The Miss Czech Slovak Wisconsin State Pageant begins at 10 a.m. in the auditorium as three judges seek the best candidate to reign as 2017-18 Wisconsin Queen. At various times in the two-day program, the candidates model their beautiful kroj and perform their talents. The winner is announced on Sunday afternoon.
|Miss Czech Slovak WI State Queen Pageant in Phillips, WI.|
Both days, strains of music waft from the gymnasium as couples dance in a special area set aside for that purpose. Plenty of vendors are on hand to display wares while others are there to promote organizations or do demonstrations. No. 236 will have a display and a drawing for a bicycle.
Chair Bill Moravek has lined up more entertainment for the weekend, which includes The New Czech/Slovak Singers, Frank Gust and his one man band, George Dums on his accordion, the Domaci Czech Folk Dancers, One Lane Bridge Folk Music, Don Foytik’s Olde Timerzzz Czech Band, and the Angelo Family Singers. That, along with an outdoor display of old restored farm equipment and tractors, garners something of interest for everyone.
A Polka mass is held at Saint Therese Catholic Church at 4:30 p.m., with music by George Dums. The Queen’s Dinner follows at Club 13, immediately after mass. Tickets are available at the Phillips Area Chamber of Commerce by calling 715-339-4100. An Old World Beer Garden and dance is held at the local VFW Hall on Saturday evening, with music by the Northernaires.
One of the big draws on Sunday, after the 9 a.m. Polka Mass at Saint John Lutheran Church, is the pork and sauerkraut dinner. The dinner is reportedly second-to-none in the entire state.
More information about Lidice and its memorials can be found in the book, Lidice: Remembered Around the World, by Toni Brendel.
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