If I had been a boy, I would have been shot…
The reminiscences of Jaroslava Skleničková cover the life history of one of the people born in Lidice whose fate was touched in a very cruel manner by the wiping out of the village.
The reminiscences of Jaroslava Skleničková cover the life history of one of the people born in Lidice whose fate was touched in a very cruel manner by the wiping out of the village. The Nazis carried out this massacre as a barbaric act of revenge against a quite innocent and basically selected-by-chance group of people. In doing so, they set in advance precise bureaucratic rules according to which they treated all persons who had been officially registered for permanent residence in Lidice and which determined who was to be shot and who would be subject to "special treatment", who was to be Germanised or "only" put into a concentration camp. In June 1942, Mrs Skleničková was 16 years old, and without realizing it, she had double "good luck". If she had been born a boy, the Nazis would have murdered her along with the other men of Lidice, and if she had been born not quite three months later, she would not have been a woman according to the Nazi machinery, but a child and in that case, there would have been little chance of her outliving the Nazi "special treatment."
The recollections recounted by Jaroslava Skleničková allow readers to see the Lidice tragedy from the inside, through the eyes of one human fate. At first, before our eyes comes the description of an ordinary but also happy childhood in pre-war Czechoslovakia. Very soon, though, we are confronted with the absurdity of a reverse situation, in which the young Jaroslava found herself together with the other women of Lidice - absolutely out of the blue in 1942 they found themselves in concentration camp in Ravensbrück without knowing why, and with no knowledge of what awaited them and what had happened to their children, husbands and fathers. They did not learn the truth until their return to their homeland after the liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945. We can learn of the life of the author, marred by her Ravensbrück experience, and the fate, in general, of the Lidice women in the post-war period, too, or rather, to the end of the nineteen-seventies when she retired and returned to her birthplace - Lidice.
However, Mrs Skleničková's book is not only an account of how one terrible historic event affected a specific human fate. It is also the story of human solidarity and also about what it means to live a happy life despite historic tragedy and all the adversities of fate.