Czech activist donates his Third Resistance compensation to Roma
Stanislav Penc has refused to attend an award ceremony honoring those who participated in the Third Resistance, where he would have received an award from Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický. Penc said he believes advocates of the communist regime remain in high office today and the perpetrators of injustice from that time have not yet been punished.
While Penc refused to attend the award ceremony, he has received a certificate and financial restitution in the amount of CZK 100 000. Penc says he has given the money to a Romani family who lives near him.
"That family, for years, has been living through no fault of their own in conditions that are so precarious and so unreal it is hard to believe, and the state, the municipality, and the civic associations drawing on grants and subsidies in the social field basically don't care," Penc said. News server Romea.cz publishes his statement in full translation below:
Declaration by the youngest participant in the opposition and resistance to communism, the so-called Third Resistance
I was invited to attend a ceremony on May 12 to receive a certificate, a medal, and a Memorial Decree marking my participation in the resistance and struggle against communism from the Minister of Defense of the Czech Republic. I will not be attending this gathering for the following reasons:
Even 25 years after the fall of communism, the Czech Army (and not just the army) is being controlled by the former advocates of the communist regime, the opportunists who supported the occupation of our state by the troops of what was then the Soviet Union. Most of those who perpetrated injustices against the citizens of our republic, primarily those who were police officers, public prosecutors and judges, have not yet been punished for what they did.
Moreover, a large number of them are receiving (or received up until their deaths) large pensions and other compensation, while on the other hand, most of the opponents of the communist regime have been living (and still are) in indigent conditions. Modern history is being described and remembered, with state support, mostly in the spirit that the next generation cannot possibly understand or believe those who witnessed it.
When I participated in the activity against the then-establishment under the previous regime, I did so voluntarily and with the knowledge that this activity was correcting a corrupt regime led by a bunch of ideological thugs. I am concerned that today's bigwigs are rather similar and the Defense Ministry is a big example, where many high functionaries are being investigated for abuse of power, bribery, corruption, and stealing state property.
During the processing of my application to be recognized as a participant in the Third Resistance, I met with the utter lack of professionalism of those who were in charge of the process. I ran into all sorts of things about why the processing took so unbearably long, none of which were ever duly rectified, so the plight continues.
I asked to be recognized as a participant in the opposition and resistance in order to make it clear that I am not one of the so-called fighters against communism who manifested their heroism mostly after 17 November 1989. I decided to make this gesture with the hope that some journalists and politicians would reflect on what I have described above and would begin to deal with the essence of things instead of with the propaganda that, through constant repetition, becomes the would-be truth.
Please note that the financial compensation of CZK 100 000 which is part of this award has been given by me to a permanently-settled Romani family who live near my home so they can maintain their housing. That family, for years, has been living through no fault of their own in conditions that are so precarious and so unreal it is hard to believe, and the state, the municipality, and the civic associations drawing on grants and subsidies in the social field basically don't care.
Despite all of the above, I am not losing heart, and I do believe it is possible that a number of things in our country can change. I believe in the next generation, unmarked by the totalitarian regime, and I believe in love, peace, and truth.
- Czech Republic's Museum of Romani Culture announces competition to design the memorial at the site of the former concentration camp for Romani people at Lety
- Czech archaeologists discover two graves of Romani concentration camp victims at Lety u Písku
- On the 50th anniversary of Czechoslovakia's short-lived Union of Gypsies-Roma, community members recall its hopes
- US Holocaust Museum offers unique opportunity in Prague to relatives of those persecuted on Protectorate territory
- Interview: Patriotism is not the same as hating those who are different
- Petra Gelbart: Auschwitz Museum says recent research finds the Romani prisoners' uprising was not on 16 May 1944
- International Romani Union expresses solidarity and sorrow over the fire at Notre Dame cathedral
- Rom vs. "Gypsy"
- Lety after the Romani genocide, Part Two: Survivors erect a cross, protests against pig farm ignored
- Lety after the Romani genocide, Part One: Local authorities wanted to build another camp there for Roma after the war
- How were Romani members of the Czechoslovak Legionnaires rewarded for their service?
- Sixty years ago the "law on the permanent settlement of itinerant persons" was adopted in Czechoslovakia