The development of the reverent area

1945 - 1951

On the places of the houses that were burned out there were firstly planted just simple stone monuments with the names of the families. On the bottom of the hill Zárubka there was a wooden cross put up, surrounded by four mourning black flags. In the valley of the meander of the brook Ležák there was a granite monument planted covered with black gauze and surrounded by flower wreaths; underneath are two urns with ashes from Pardubice crematorium, on the sides there were two Greek flames blazing on granite pedestals. There used to be a wooden tribune with a platform standing in front of the monument on the side of the brook. It used to open northern towards the hillock on the gate of the hollow towards Dachcov. The authors of the original reverent concept were architects Brüx and Malínský. As it was written in the contemporary newspaper "they created pure but greatly effecting framework".

The preparation works for adjustment of the reverent area fall into years 1946 until 1948. From the year 1946-47 rough drawings of Ladislav Žák originate and the visions of reverent adjustments, sketches some of which originated in October 1946. The drawings record the solutions of western and eastern entrance to the reverent area, the president tribune, large monument with a chapel on the hill Zárubka, tombstone of the mill of Švanda, the solution of individual monuments of the people connected to Ležáky, ceremonial tribune with the group sculpture of martyrs of Ležáky, monuments of exterminated families and destroyed houses, monuments of troopers.

Illustrative photo In February 1948 Ladislav Žák made eight drawings of the chapel so called large monument for the hill Zárubka. The company for Lidice renewal received detailed executive project with the list of material and works. The height of the monument together with its pedestal should have been 22 metres. With this monumental simple construction the consistent symbolic conception of the reverent area adjustment should have reached its peak. The symbol of cross- symbol of suffering, repeating soul of immaterial aerial cross surrounded by material world. Due to many consequences that were brought by the change of social climate in 1948 and owing to financial heftiness (respectively due to then ideological and politically-economical priorities) the idea of building the chapel was waived. There were even probes carried out due to foundations and static calculations and the foundation stone of the chapel was consecrated. No matter of the placing and context, the chapel is one of the most important architectural plans of Žák on the whole and that is even in worldwide context of buildings of after war architecture that is similar in type. There was a selection procedure carried out for supplying of the tombstones and works. Since October 1948 the realization started. The granite tombstones of the families were sculptured, the granite borders of platforms of the destroyed houses, tombstones of individuals.

In 1951 the first phase of adjustment of the reverent area was almost completed. As the last thing there were the monuments of individuals who died in connection with the tragedy of Ležáky planted. Originally they were outside of the hollow of Ležáky and they were moved to the reverent area later. The question is how suitable it was to move the monuments of the individuals from the surrounding countryside to the hill nearby the orchards which happened during the area adjustments. Later on the pond Ležák was also renewed. Terrain adjustments took place. A part of these adjustments should have been placing of a bronze group sculpture of nine people. The project of Prague professor and academic sculptor Dvořák remained only in the plaster model and was never realized. In the ground traces of the original houses the monuments with names of the exterminated families were created. The simple monumental thought of carved intangible cross placed in granite blocks of monuments was used to create formal and super mortal basis of the reverent area. The most valuable, architectonically and artistically most worthy thing that is in Ležáky until nowadays was realized. The piece that has a deep idea of very simple and very unique shape. The idea as it was realized proved its super mortality and is from the architectural and sculptural (artistic) point of view a landmark itself in disregard of declaring Ležáky a National historic landmark.

1952 - 1954

Within de-centralization operating of the group for Lidice (and Ležáky) renewal was finished. Its duties were transferred to Ležáky at KNV in Pardubice. After the war the quarry still operated. Until December 31, 1954 the operative manager and keeper of the quarry was Czechoslovak state roads, since January 1 1955 it was Stone trade of Skuteč. The shape of the area was not adequate to its reverent character.

The quarry of Ležáky still operates. In KNV in Pardubice there were discussions held about the possibility of building a school that was originally supposed to stand in Miřetice.

Illustrative photo The reverent area is not kept adequately and granite is still mined in the quarry. The report "research in the area of Ležáky" made by the culture section of the national regional authority on September 10, informs about the shape of Ležáky in 1954. The stimulation to create a reverent area was complaints of inhabitants about the shape of the memorial. On the basis of investigation from September 9, 1954 it was discovered that "the whole area is not kept well at all". The culture section suggested making arrangements to change the shape and to allocate a place that would be permanently reserved as reverent area. This place should be separated either by hedgerow or by other kind of fence, it shall be shaped as a park and the surrounding properties should be used for farming.

On October 8, 1954 "the Comrade docent academic architect L. Žák, the professor of Academy of Fine Arts" was asked by a letter to loan his plans for adjusting of the memorial in Ležáky. The culture section of the national regional authority was asking him to loan his project for adjusting the area of the memorial in Ležáky. The office needs to lend the plan "for information about your plans for further adjustment of the whole area and they guarantee that it will not be used without your agreement".

1955 - 1989

Illustrative photo There was a building ban declared at the area. The Ministry of Culture decided that the reverent area will not be protected not due to preservation of nature but as a landmark. KNV Pardubice asked architect Žák to lend his project; he agreed and promised further cooperation. He was asked to provide simplified project. In summer he managed drawings for the reverent area. Towards the end of the year he handed over simplified project for the adjustment.

In 1956, the idea to establish a museum in the building of the former engine room straight here in the hollow of Ležáky was mentioned for the first time. The subject should be solved before the end of the year. As the settlement was taking long, the quarry buildings (mostly wooden) were breaking up. Architect Žák corresponds with KNV in Pardubice regarding his lingering fee for the project Ležáky.

In 1957 the advisory board for architecture recommended to approve finalizing of the adjustments of the reverent area in accordance with the plan of architect Žák. Žák was present at the discussion in Hlinsko. Demolition of (mostly wooden) operational buildings at took place at the former quarry of Ležáky.

At the beginning of 1958 the management of reverent areas changed from the section of local economy to the section of the section of education and culture of the board of KNV Pardubice. No adjustments happened at the area. During the whole year, correspondence between architect Žák and KNV Pardubice about his fees for the project Ležáky continued. Towards the end of the year he received partial fee and on September 8, KNV in Pardubice received complete list of given and valued project documentation of Žák.

Illustrative photo Realization of monolith for the hollow of Ležáky is being prepared (granite pyramid should have been supplied by the quarry Matula before the end of 1959, when works on its shape were almost finished). Towards the end of this year it is indicated where it should be placed. For the whole year Žák is corresponding with the institute of homeland studies in Pradubice about the supervision not being paid. Towards the end of the year Žák sends detailed planes of the pyramid and the surrounding vases with Greek flame.

In winter 1960 the shape of entrance columns was discussed. In spring fruit trees were planted at the mill. Also trees were planted at the main group of monuments. The channel of the brook that was led around the mill was only realized partially. In May a pedestal for the monolith was built from concrete in the hollow of the brook. On June 7 its placing was finished however the signs were not arranged. Terrain adjustments at the monolith and provisional planting were realized. Towards the end of September the vases for Greek flames were transported to the monolith. The pond was emptied. In turns they were working on a dam and water-gates. In June the pond was again filled but the water was not going through at the weir. The tomb houses were again adjusted and planted with flowers as weed had grown on them. In June heather was planted it patterns at the monuments in accordance with the architect Žák, already before Salvia splendens had been planted. According to Žák in summer some larch trees were planted. As there were some disagreements between the public administration office and Žák regarding the project and realization of adjustments in Ležáky in December it was decided by KNV to order the project to be completed by the state project unit (Stavoprojekt) and to finish cooperation with arch. Žák.

Illustrative photo Since January 1961 the investor of adjustments in Ležáky was the section of education and culture of district people’s committee in Chrudim. Survey of the area took place. There were some small adjustments of the hollow and the neighbourhood of the mill and pond arranged. Towards the end of 1961 participation of arch. Žák on the adjustments of the reverent area in Ležáky is finished. The entrance columns of Žák were not finished. Towards the end of the year he was asked to provide copies of the project documentation he created. This was the end of the first phase of the construction of the reverent area.

The area had been surveyed and traced. On February 21, 1962 the KSSPPOP received geometric topographic plan with traced area Ležáky, on March 3 the data was handed over to the regional project institute. In 1962 the cooperation with doc. Žák on adjustments of the reverent area was definitely finished. The second of Žák’s adjustments was also finished. Since that year Stavoprojekt Hradec Králové, resort of Pardubice occupied them with the area project.

From April 16, 1963 there is a record referring to judgement of the project documentation for adjustment of the reverent area of the village Ležáky. It was stated that the project took up the project of doc. Žák. The main principle was renewal and maintaining of the typical character of the countryside Vysočina where Ležáky belong to with respect of the original look of the hollow. The requirements of the committee of the section for education and culture of ONV Chrudim were respected. Things that had not been solved concretely from the overall general development plan were again mentioned.

Every year, before the peace manifestation the activities or efforts to do something at the area were raising. Besides engagements, cleaning and finishing operations there was audit and plans made. The tribune beside the road was half built in May. The second entrance column was ready waiting to be planted. The ledger should have been planted. However the works stopped. In 1963 and 64 there were no financial resources.

On February 25, 1965 the stone-mason- pensioner František Procházka from Mířetice wrote a letter to the President of the Czechoslovak republic. He writes about undignified treatment of the ashes of victims of Ležáky which was partially saved by the employees of Pardubice crematorium. Twenty years passed since the tragedy. The ashes are still provisionally placed at the former engine room of the quarry. In the next room refreshment including alcoholic drinks is served. The letter mentions backwardness in implementation and lacks in adjusting of the reverent area. Moreover workers from the neighbourhood were coming for refreshment room neighbouring with the urn with ashes.

Illustrative photo In 1966 the museum project was being solved. It was placed in the neighbourhood of the deserted quarry. Museum was, without any remarkable changes, built later on in a way that was discussed and as it was mentioned in the original report of the project. The restaurant with the capacity of 64-70 people and with platform of approximately 10x25m was suggested to be built near the pond. The adjustments of vegetation applied to finalization of out planting at the existing buildings and especially of ensuring of out planting at newly suggested objects. It is mentioned that part of the unsuitable vegetation by the pond should be liquidated. Weeping willows should be liquidated as well. Around the water source- the well some pine trees should have been planted. After 1966 both of the mostly discussed buildings, firstly museum and then restaurant became part of the reverent area.

In 1972 a cottage of angler’s club was built within the reverent area at the dam of the new pond. On June 8, local survey took place. On June 16, 1972 the Regional office of monument preservation and nature preservation in Pardubice sends a request the investment office- the unit of land register of north bohemian KNV to audit the circumstances of approve for the cottage construction within the monumental area from the side of the build-up unit of ONV in Chrudim. (Before this there was one pond from the original group of ponds northern from Ležáky renewed. It is a beautiful and significant object of the landscape which is not being mentioned in connection with Ležáky).

Since 1973 there are discussions about new bridge. On June 8 in Pardubice there was a discussion held over one sketch of the project of the new bridge. The entrance road towards the restaurant should have been supplied with bitumen hood and concrete edging. The bus turn at the exit to Dřeveš should have been repaired and extended. Together with the bridge the road to Dřeveš, Dachov and Mířetice should have been repaired. On July 27, the department for constructions and land planning of KNV agreed with building up.

The road investment unit VĆ. KNV in Pardubice called for local survey to be held on September 9, by a letter dated August 19, 1974 in order to "hand over and take over of the reconstruction of the bridge in Ležáky".

With respect to the order of ONV Chrudim from October 21, 1975 in June 1976 Stavoprojekt Pardubice finished the study "Reverent adjustment of village Ležáky- final adjustments". It was elaborated by Eng. K. Vaněk. The study referred mainly to the road system and adjusting of vegetation. The documentation was connected to the study solving extension of the protective zone of Ležáky area which was elaborated in 1972.

By the government decision no. 70 from February 24, 1978 the reverent area "Castle" in Pardubice and Ležáky were declared as Historic landmarks. Basic data and explanation: "The colony Ležáky, similarly as Lidice, was during the period of Heydrichiade levelled with ground on June 24, 1942. All inhabitants were dragged and executed together with the main group of troopers, descend Silver".

Since March 1981 discussions were carried about building up of cattle-range of JZD Miřetice. It interfered in the reverent area. In their plan, JZD placed the cattle-ranges straight to the first protective zone, to the inner area of Ležáky. By the decision of the office for monument preservation the cattle-ranges were excluded from the first protective zone. The cattle-ranges used to spread in the second and third protective zone. Due to some restrictions the original area of cattle-ranges was reduced from 221 ha of 18,5 hectares as this piece interfered into the reverent area. Because of the reverent area, it was requested for the stable fencing to be made of wood and for replacement of liquidated vegetation. They did not manage to avoid partial liquidation of "stone dykes"- border walls built from stones without using concrete that were tracing the original properties of fields and their owners.

On February 24, 1982 during the meeting of the committee for finishing of building Ležáky, it was said that it is impossible to find out all owners of the properties in accordance with the evidence of Geodesy Chrusim. It was suggested to consider declaring all properties as deserted estates. Reconstruction works within the area, the roof of the tribune and its covering were ordered from the Regional construction company. Roses were bought and they were prepared for spring planting. In winter project documentation for social settlement was made and it was handed over to KNV. The Ministry of Culture should have ensured and financed installing of Sychra’s mosaic and the group sculpture of stone-mason’s family before the end of five-year plan. Further on the task of properties and its transmission to the state ownership should have been discussed on proper places.

During local survey on May 4, 1983 in Ležáky, it was discovered that that the cattle-range of JZD had not respected the protective zones ant the conditions set by the regional office of monument preservation. It referred especially to the first protective zone which was removed from the cattle-range but it was now pastured. There were also concrete poles for fencing. Behind the restaurant there was illegal dumping. Only regular and standard servicing was arranged which could not involve many inadequacies. Within the revision of the borders and memorial protective zones of NHL in East- Bohemian region in 1983 there was a new border suggested for the NHL Ležáky.

Following the aim from 1984, of the Ministry of Culture of CSR, KNV in East Bohemian region and ONV Chrudim, the National Memorial to the victims of Nazism in Ležáky should have been finished in the eighth of five year plan. "This aim was judged by the ideological council of the Ministry of Culture of CSR, by the representatives of East Bohemian region of KNV, representatives of ONV Chrudim and the result was that the studies for adjustment of the area Ležáky elaborated until then do not correspond with current requirements and therefore analysis of the current shape and plans that had been elaborated until then are required. New architectonic and urban study needs to be elaborated so that the memorial could be built. With respect to this aim and an order from the section for culture of the regional people’s committee in Chrudim the committee for art of ČFVU- Architectonic services received on October 12, 1983 an elaboration of study of the National historic landmark Ležáky including the current revision of the realization. There were two phases set: I. phase- December 1983- analysis and evaluation of the current shape, completing of all data including geo-botanical analysis of the area, II. Phase- September 1984- elaboration of a study". That was the covering report from the study of prof. Pechar and Tichý.

In 1985 approving and remarking to the study of the adjustments of the reverent area continued. "The aim of the adjustments of the vegetation of the wooden species is to obtain view-through from the memorial to the obelisk and pond as well as to open up views to individual monuments. The intervention to the vegetation of wooden species also aims for esthetical unsuitable wooden species to be liquidated, especially those air-raid and on the other side space shall be made for perspective wooden species. 293 of leaf trees and 61 of pine trees were marked to be liquidated. The interventions were done in accordance with new study "Study of adjustments of the reverent area NHL Ležáky".

During winter period of 1986 the wooden species were cut. Afterwards the premises were again adjusted by work team of the regional institute for memorials from Pardubice. Consequently during the year the regional concern Chrudim arranged establishments of lawns and planting on selected places.

In February 1988 Stavoprojekt Pardubice finished the one-stage project "Ležáky- national memorial, annex, elaborated by Eng. arch. L. Driml and Eng. arch. Klimeš. The project had been worked on also in 1987. The project was solving positioning of Sychra’s mosaic to the museum that was being extended. The mosaic was an idea of arch. Pechar and arch. Tichy who introduced it in 1984. Since 1985 its positioning was being solved. In 1987 it was decided about this place. Part of the project was also overall adjustment of the reverent area.

On September 14, 1989 the ONV in Chrudim including KNV was requesting to receive a statement about extension of the memorial in NHL Ležáky. "On the basis of discussion of ONV and the Ministry of Culture it was decided, that in NHL Ležáky the mosaic of prof. Sychr will be realized. The instalment will be ensured by the centre of art crafts in Prague". The shell should have been finished towards the end of the year 1989, the instalment of the mosaic in the course of the first half of 1990. One-stage project was elaborated by Stavoprojekt Pardubice, Eng. arch. Driml. "At the same time the memorial should be circled out from the restaurant before the end of 1989. The project and its realization shall be arranged by Dílo Hradec Králové".

1990 - 2005

Dne 22. 3. 1990 se v Miřeticích uskutečnil "aktiv" občanů, na kterém byli krajským památkovým střediskem seznámeni s dostavbou muzea a se stanoviskem NG Praha k instalaci mozaiky prof. Sychry, instalované do jeho interiéru. Námitky k dostavbě muzea a instalaci mozaiky nebyly. Problematické zůstalo vybudování výtvarně zpracované pohledové zdi, která měla částečně zakrýt sousední objekt restaurace. Bylo dohodnuto, že do 14 dnů sami občané rozhodnou, zda zeď bude či nebude postavena.

On January 1, 1991 the mayor of village Včelákov, František Janáček wrote a letter to the regional office for memorial in Pardubice. It was referring to the request of completing the memorial with the name of Františka Pelikánová from the family of Šťulík from the mill. When she was arrested she lived in Včelákov. She was tortured to death in connection with hiding of one member of the descent in a concentration camp on February 24, 1942. Her name was omitted most likely due to politic reasons.

Due to restitution requirements of resituates the Ministry of Culture of CR made an examination about the area of NHL Ležáky. This was requested by the department of culture of the regional office in Chrudim. By the government decision from February 24, 1978 no. 70, the NHL Ležáky is filed as one register number- 1109 and that is owned and managed by ONV in Chrudim. Giving over of the requested area to Jaroslav Černík from Pardubice cannot therefore be "underlined by accepting of laws regulating management and preservation of monuments". The properties mentioned were restated and were nod declared an NHL.

In 1993 privatization of the restaurant was being solved. A letter of the Ministry of Culture from April 27, 1993 to Jan Tomášek from Pardubice is interesting from this view. It is written there: "The Ministry of Culture has no objections against privatization by sale of the restaurant at the area declared as NHL Ležáky. It is necessary to bear in mind that while running the restaurant, during reconstructions and other interventions it the character of the reverent area must be taken into account. As the restaurant is placed in the neighbourhood of the Memorial building it will not be possible to place any advertisements on its side and rear facade". This was written by PhD. Jana Šálková, former director of the department of the monument preservation of the Ministry of Culture CR.

On April 28, 1995 on the basis of request of Regional office Chrudim the Memorial Institute in Pardubice released a statement where they recommend proclaiming of the reverent area Ležáky as immovable historic landmark within the range of suggested bordering. On May 5, the regional office Chrudim, the culture department, handed in suggestion to the Ministry of Culture of CR for the reverent area Ležáky to be declared as a national landmark.

On the basis of the suggestion of the regional office in Chrudim from May 5 1955, the Ministry of Culture of CR declared the reverent area of Ležáky a national historic landmark within the range of plots which were listed in the attachment of the declaration. Formerly declared landmark reverent area Ležáky recorded under register no. 898 became part of the extended area protected as a memorial.

The regional office in Chrudim, department of culture, released a decision on March 4, 1997. Within the decision protected area of immovable culture memorial – reverent area Ležáky was demarked. It was recorded in the list of immovable culture memorials under register number 898 and conditions for it protection were set. Part of the decision is a map of evidence of properties with mapping of the borders of the protective zone.

On August 26, 1998 the department of culture of the regional office in Chrudim released a decision referring to adjusting and renewal of one part of the reverent area. The office considered the adjustment and renewal of the interfered plots as possible under circumstances mentioned in expert statement of the office for memorials in Pardubice. The administrative agency informed that all works mentioned in the decision statement are from the view of state memorial preservation acceptable and desirable for dignified presentation of the historic landmark in question.

As one of the parts of "Reconstruction of the reverent area Ležáky, NHL", 2002 Eng. Z. Baladová elaborated "simplified project of verdure". On November 25, 2002 the State institute of memorial preservation expresses their opinion about the documentation. It is mentioned that the documentation can be accepted provided that the conditions are fulfilled. It is necessary to complete it as it is rather an intention than simplified project.

Within the works at the area the former monolith of the platform was liquidated in 2003. It used to be placed in the Northern part of the area near the brook. The original mill drain was renewed- draining from the pond around the former mill. The drain was arched over by culvert.

Quote from the supporting material of the Municipal office in Chrudim from 2005:

We suggest that all works connected and resulting from the study from 1997, including the "simplified project of verdure" from 2002, shall be stopped, until the project documentation is judged in overall by an expert. It also applies to any interference with vegetation and planting, which can not be separated from architectonic concept of adjustments. It is necessary to solve the area as a whole. After 6é years of "experience" with shaping the area, it is impossible to proceed the same way. Moreover Ležáky are and should be about something else than what is mentioned in the judged simplified project and in the declaration. Mostly they start with the "verdure", as it is supposed to be easily solved problem, for everyone it is a neutral problem; the interventions do not hurt anyone. It is (not only) in case of Ležáky a bad mistake. The overall adjustment of Ležáky was always beginning with verdure. This trend continues and Ležáky still look the way they look.

National historic landmark- Reverent area Ležáky,   telephone: +420 469 344 179,   e-mail: lezaky@lezaky-memorial.cz