Silver medal National Heroes - Josef Štemberka proof
Heroism awakens more than ever in times of totalitarianism and war. The National Heroes cycle introduces another man whose life was hit by Nazi tyranny after a number of brave soldiers and one extraordinary humanitarian worker. The Czech Mint commemorates Father of Lidice named Josef Štemberka on the silver medal.
“All residents liked him - citizens in Lidice, children at school and teachers. He would help everyone if he could. The priest had a golden heart. He supported poor students in their studies. He helped them to find job after graduation. He was not talkative, but his spirit was lively, surprising us all with his keen insights. His love for the nation was connected with his love for fellow citizens. The parish door was always opened. He helped citizens in their difficulties and consulted with them material and mental distress. ” That is how Josef Štemberka was described by the parishioners Antonie Škrdlová and Quido Jeřábek. The father was to retire when he was 73. He wanted to leave Lidice in May 1942 and was about to return to his hometown, but his successor asked him if he could stay in Lidice for a while before closing his affairs. Father Štemberka agreed, and therefore he was in Lidice when the Nazis decided - in response to the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich - to flatten the village. Although he received a rescue offer from the highest places, he refused and decided to join his sheep, which he sent to the firing squad. He was then shot as one of the last Lidice men…
The medal was made by academic sculptor Jiří Dostál. “The obverse side of the medal is dominated by a frontal portrait of the last priest of Lidice, accompanied by a spread out matte cross. Josef Štemberka, as a GOOD CLERIC, crossed each of the Lidice men before the shooting - himself for the last time. In the inscription there is the name of the Father accompanied by the abbreviation of this title and on the right side of the medal there is the year and place of his birth - 1809, PECKA. On the reverse side, the biographical data continues with the inscription SHOT 1942 WITH 173 MEN and the word LIDICE. At the top of the medal there is the cross again, however, this time in the form of a Lidice monument, which is a symbol of suffering, ” the medal maker explains.
An integral part of the medal is a spectacular packaging containing a professional treatise written by PhDr. Petr Koura, Ph.D. The complete series dedicated to national heroes can be stored in a collector´s box.