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German Leader to Pay First Visit to Czech Massacre Site

President Joachim Gauck will today become the first German leader to visit the Czech village of Lidice, which was razed by the Nazis in 1942 following the assassination of occupation leader Reinhard Heydrich.

Gauck came to pay respects to Nazi victims of an event that is a reminder of a very “bloody” and “monstrous” past, he told a news conference aired on Czech state TV today.

The destruction of Lidice, near Prague, started on June 10, 1942, when its 173 male residents were executed and women and children were sent for re-education in German families or killed in concentration camps, according to the Lidice memorial website. In the Czech Republic, the village became a symbol of atrocities committed by Nazis during World War II.

Gauck and his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus wouldn’t discuss the expulsion of Sudeten Germans from the former Czechoslovakia after the war, when asked by journalist during the news conference.

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