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Commemorative ceremony at Hodonín memorial in Czech Republic 20 August honors Romani and Sinti victims of the Holocaust

14.8.2020 7:28
The opening of the Memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti at Hodonín u Kunštátu, Moravia, Czech Republic, 20 August 2019. (PHOTO:  Adam Holubovský, Museum of Romani Culture).
The opening of the Memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti at Hodonín u Kunštátu, Moravia, Czech Republic, 20 August 2019. (PHOTO: Adam Holubovský, Museum of Romani Culture).

On Thursday, 20 August, the Museum of Romani Culture will hold its traditional commemorative ceremony at the Hodonín u Kunštátu Memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti in Moravia to honor the Romani and Sinti victims of the Holocaust imprisoned in the concentration camp there. This year marks the 77th anniversary of the events of 21-22 August 1943, when 749 Romani and Sinti children, men and women were deported en masse from what was called the Zigeunerlager in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia to the Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp.

"We are holding the commemorative ceremony this year on the usual date," director Jana Horváthová said. "Given that the program is held in the outdoor spaces of the memorial, we are not limiting the number of visitors or requiring face masks. Those attending need not be concerned, a sufficient amount of backup for hygiene maintenance and disinfectant materials is being arranged both on the charter bus we organize from Brno free of charge and on the grounds of the memorial."

The only restriction this year is associated with the logging of trees from the surrounding forest, which is afflicted with bark beetle. "Due to the passage of heavy machinery through the forest roads, the access to the burial ground with the mass graves at Žalov, where the memory of the victims is traditionally honored by laying wreaths, flowers and lighting candles, has been made more difficult," said Radovan Krhovský, the memorial manager.

"We are doing our best to modify the terrain so that visitors might be able to walk to Žalov, but unfortunately we will be very dependent on the weather. If it proves impossible to access Žalov, we will lay wreaths at a location on the grounds of the memorial designated for that purpose," the manager said.

As part of the cultural program this year, singer Pavlína Matiová, clarinetist Mario Krajčovič and violin virtuoso Marek Balog will perform. Matiová is currently excelling in the production Gádžové jdou do nebe ("Gadje go to Heaven"), directed by Jiří Havelka at the Husa na Provázku Theater in Brno.

The composition Dukhade apsa ("Painful Tears") was composed especially by Balog for the Hodonín u Kunštátu Memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti. Lyrics for that song were written by Barbora Bagárová, who also performed a recorded version.

A music video featuring the song and produced by Sabir Agalarov will be available for viewing in the exhibition spaces of the memorial. The entire commemorative ceremony will also be livestreamed on the Facebook account of the Museum of Romani Culture.

A podcast series dedicated to the memorialization of the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti in the Czech Republic has released several episodes, including on how the Lety u Písku Memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti is being created. The most recent episode of the series is dedicated to the history of the Hodonín u Kunštátu camp during the Protectorate and to the current memorial there and is available at www.rommuz.cz/podcasty.

Program

11:00 opening of the commemorative ceremony at the memorial

11:05 director's remarks

11:15 historical information

11:20 speeches

12.05 transfer to Žalov burial ground to honor the memory of the victims

12.20 spiritual reflection

12.50 laying of wreaths

13.05 official ceremony ends, refreshments at the memorial

13.30 guided tour with historian Anna Míšková (voluntary)

14.15 departure by bus to Černovice

14.40 honoring the memories of the victims buried in the Černovice parish cemetery

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Hodonín u Kunštátu, Muzeum, pietní akt, pietní místo



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