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A new website designed to look like a war game set in a Czech village burnt down by Nazis in 1942 drew strong protests Wednesday, with critics calling it "perverse."
The Web site is meant to draw attention to Lidice, which was destroyed June 10, 1942, when occupying Nazi forces accused villagers of collaborating with Czech paratroopers who assassinated German Reichsprotector Reinhard Heydrich.
Of Lidice's population of 493, only 143 women and 17 children survived.
The website appears at first to be a computer game called "Total Burnout of Lidice," which offers points for killing people and burning houses, and instructs players to "Burn out Lidice in the shortest possible time."
But after players chose their virtual weapons, they are told it was no game, but a reality for the village, where all of the men were killed, and the women and some children were sent to concentration camps. Other children were sent to Germany for re-education.
The website then shows pictures and footage from the burning village, located near Prague, and contains a link to the Web site of the Lidice Memorial.
"It's perverse, everybody here and also in nearby villages is disgusted," Lidice Mayor Vaclav Zelenka said.
"My father was shot, my mother was sent to concentration camp, my uncle was shot, my grandmother died in Auschwitz," said Zelenka, 67, who spent eight years in Germany. "How would you feel when seeing the web page?"
The Lidice Memorial director could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but in an interview with the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes, Milous Cervencl said the aim of the website was to draw young people's interest to what happened at the village in 1942.
"It will make them to visit one of the most emotional expositions we have here that shows Nazi atrocities," Cervencl was quoted as saying.
The website also was criticized by a committee of former female prisoners from Ravensbrueck. The Freedom Fighters, an organization associating former anti-Nazi resistance fighters, will meet later Wednesday to discuss it, Zelenka said.
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