US Chargé d’Affaires at Roma Holocaust site: I pay tribute to the Czech Government's pledge to solve the problem of the pig farm
Chargé d’Affaires Kelly Adams-Smith from the Embassy of the United States of America in Prague reminded those assembled at the Lety Memorial on 13 May for the commemorative ceremony at Lety u Písku of the importance of such ceremonies for honoring the memory of the Romani victims of the Holocaust, adding: "We can also honor them by making sure that all Romani people are treated with dignity." News server Romea.cz publishes her speech in full here:
Speech by Kelly Adams-Smith, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the United States of America in Prague, 13 May 2017
Honored guests, Minister Chvojka, Minister Herman, Mr Růžička, Ambassadors, representatives of the Czech Government, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to today's commemorative ceremony. It is my honor to remember with you today the frequently overlooked persecution of Romani and Sinti men, women and children during the Second World War.
They were among millions of people from all over Europe who were forced into concentration camps, where death usually awaited them. Today it seems unthinkable that such a methodical system of discrimination and murder could have existed in Europe.
For that reason, it is important to acknowledge that the Roma and Sinti were forced into Lety for the same reason that others were forced into Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau and Terezín: Because they were different. What happened here is a horrifying reminder of what can happen when people act in the belief that those who are different are also inferior.
It is important for these commemorative ceremonies honoring the memory of the victims to be held. We can also honor them by making sure that all Romani people are treated with dignity.
All Romani children should have equal access to education, and all adults should enjoy equal employment opportunities. Ending discrimination in any form is the best way to remember the horrible legacy of Lety.
The Czech Republic and the United States share the same ideal of equal treatment of all people, irrespective of their differences. There is a great deal still to be done in both of our countries to achieve this ideal.
I know that many state officials want to improve the quality of life for Romani people in the Czech Republic. I pay tribute to the Czech Government's pledge to solve the problem of the pig farm and build a dignified memorial.
We hope the Government will take that important step this year. On behalf of myself and the people of the United States of America, I thank you for the opportunity to be with you at this commemorative ceremony.
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