Two Day Trips Throughout Czech Lands

Trip Start Jan 19, 2012
Trip End Jun 04, 2012

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Středočeský Kraj,
Monday, April 16, 2012

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a day trip that would be put on by USAC. We would be visiting a few different places throughout Prague's outlying areas including: Lidice, Litoměřice, & Terezín. Lidice was a small farming town that was in existence until half way through WWII. There are not many situations throughout history that we can without a doubt say we are certain about, but unfortunately, there is no question to the exact day that the town of Lidice was removed from this planet. On the 10th of June 1942 the Nazi army surrounded the small town and started to fire heavy artillery and literally bomb the town. After an initial bombing the Nazi SS went into the town and found all men over the age of 15 and murdered them in none other than precise Nazi efficiency. After the men were all murdered the women and children were rounded up and put on trains destined for concentration and extermination camps. Now I am sure that by now you might be asking yourself why would the Nazi forces want to completely remove all evidence that a town and all of its inhabitants ever existed; the truth is simple yet incredibly sad. The Czech Republic had until this time in the war not made a very substantial effort to without the Nazi forces and the rest of the Allied forces wanted some sort of proof or evidence that the Czech Republic were really on their side. In order to prove their alliance two Czech paratroopers were sent in on a covert and very dangerous mission to assassinate the Reich Protector Reinhard Haydrich, who was in charge of all Czech lands. The two paratroopers were successful in their mission and Haydrich turned out to be the highest SS officer ever killed while in service. After his assassination the Nazi's came up with a random connection between the two paratroopers and the town of Lidice, and as punishment for their resistance the Nazi's decided to erase the town from existence. 

After we finished our time at Lidice we went on to the town of Litomerice, but we would not be there very long pretty much only to get a good lunch before moving on to Terezin. Terezin is a town in the Czech Republic about an hour and a half outside of Prague, it was originally built as a military fortress and a town to house and train the soldiers in. Unfortunately, when the Nazi's found the town they realized that with its high walls and very defensive position it would also be a great prison. The Nazi's turned Terezin into a concentration camp mainly for Jews and Gypsy's, but it also had a wide variety of musicians and artists. The concentration camp had deplorable conditions and there was an all to often occurrence of death, in fact there were so many dead bodies that the Nazi had to build a crematorium in order to burn the dead bodies so that they would not take up so much space. It was a very strange feeling to be at a place where so much death and evil had occurred. It is always one thing to have learned about history from afar and never actually going to the place where it occurred, but once you visit these kind of places it changes your perception of history and gives you a slightly more realistic view on the world and all of its virtues and vices.    

A couple of days after the USAC trip Kinsey, her mother, and I went on a little exploration of our own to Karlstejn castle, which was home to King Charles and is located just a short 40 minute train ride outside Prague. The castle was nestled in between the woods on a rocky hill that would have been nearly impenetrable in Midevil times. It was a short 35 minute walk up to the castle from the train drop-off point and the view was as beautiful as ever on a rare and very nice warm clear sunny day. Once we reached the castle we took a tour of the grounds and learned a little something about the history of the castle as well as getting to see the inside of a true Midevil castle, which was nothing like the inside of the castles we saw in Germany or Cesky Krumlov.  This one was definitely more functional, as to serve its purpose of protecting the crown jewels. 

After our tour we ate lunch from the top of the castle over looking the valley before starting our journey back to Prague. Overall they were two very good trips and gave me a little more insight on the Czech Republic and its incredible history. 
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