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November 22, 2019
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Archaeological survey continues at site of former concentration camp for Roma in Czech Republic

25.8.2019 10:40
A superimposition of the ground plan of the former concentration camp for Romani people at Lety u Písku onto the cadastral map of Lety municipality with a plotting of the pig farm's location. First published at http://www.gruntova.cz/dejiny-a-soucasnost/proc-jen-lety-u-pisku (31 July 2017)
A superimposition of the ground plan of the former concentration camp for Romani people at Lety u Písku onto the cadastral map of Lety municipality with a plotting of the pig farm's location. First published at http://www.gruntova.cz/dejiny-a-soucasnost/proc-jen-lety-u-pisku (31 July 2017)

The archaeological survey is continuing on the grounds of the WWII-era concentration camp for Romani people once occupied by a now-defunct industrial pig farm at Lety u Písku in the Czech Republic. Jana Horváthová, director of the Museum of Romani Culture, which plans to build a memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma there, informed the Czech News Agency about the survey on 20 August.

The director believes the survey should be done by the close of September, when the architectural competition will be launched for the design of the memorial. The Museum would like to open the memorial to the public as of 2023.

Two years ago an archaeological survey was done at Lety during which the archaeologists found, for example, door handles and nails from the camp buildings, as well as small items that probably belonged to the prisoners, such as beads or buttons. The Museum director says that survey did not include the part of the former camp that overlaps with the now-defunct pig farm.

The AGPI firm still had pigs there at the time and did not allow the survey to go forward. "Currently a survey of the burial sites is underway, as well as of the entire grounds of the former camp that overlapped with the farm," Horváthová noted.

The first reports about the findings of this year's survey should be available at the close of September, and the director anticipates a complete report will be ready by the end of the year. "We will close the architecture competition in April, when we should know the name of the winner," she said.

"After that the farm can be demolished, and that should be completed by the close of 2020. The entire facility should be open to the public by 2023," the director said.

The location is currently closed to the public. The state has allocated more than CZK 100 million [EUR 3.8 million] for the demolition.

The state bought the farm from the AGPI firm for CZK 450 million [EUR 17.3 million], and at the time of the purchase last year, the firm was running 13 feed halls there for about 13 000 pigs. Historians have established that from August 1942 to May 1943 a total of 1 308 Romani children, men and women passed through the Lety camp, 327 of whom died there and more than 500 of whom ended up at Auschwitz.

Fewer than 600 Romani prisoners returned to the Czech lands from concentration camps after the war. According to expert estimates, the Nazis murdered 90 % of the Romani people living in Bohemia and Moravia.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Holocaust, Lety u Písku, Muzeum, Výzkum



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