Czech archaeologists discover two graves of Romani concentration camp victims at Lety u Písku
Archaeologists in the Czech Republic have found the burial sites of various individuals at Lety, where a concentration camp for Romani people functioned during the Second World War, uncovering one grave with the remains of an adult female prisoner who was not more than 40 years old at the time of her death and one grave that was probably for a newborn. Seven burial pits have been found altogether.
According to documentary sources, there were meant to have been 120 prisoners buried at that location, more than 70 of whom were children, and the burial site was said to be 400 meters square. The archaeological survey was completed last Tuesday.
Archaeologists reported on their findings to journalists and representatives of the Museum of Romani Culture, which wants to build a memorial to the Holocaust victims of Romani origin at the site of the former camp and open it by 2023. The survey has established the locations of the burial sites of the Lety camp victims.
Survey team leader Pavel Vařeka of the University of West Bohemia said they had exactly determined that what was once referred to as the "temporary" burial ground is indeed very near the existing granite memorial at Lety installed in the 1990s. "The most important thing is that after more than 70 years, we have managed to determine where the Lety camp prisoners are buried, and the significance is that relatives of the victims, not many of whom are still alive, are now finally able to know exactly where their loved ones were buried," Vařeka said at the press conference.
"For the first time in Europe, we have succeeded in detecting burial sites for the victims of the Nazi persecution of the Roma and Sinti," the survey team leader said. "In this respect, the Holocaust of the Roma is no longer an abstract concept, but we now have an actual, material, tangible record of the crimes that happened there."
Some remains are buried deep in the pits, while others were interred at more shallow depths, and the scientists found just graves containing individuals in this section of the burial site. "The mass graves, according to the documentation that has been preserved, should be on the other side, toward the northeast," Vařeka told the press.
"We have uncovered one burial site in which an adult female prisoner not more than 40 years old was interred; that grave is now covered and out of respect for the sacred nature of a grave site, at the request of the relatives and the survivors, we will not be showing you any of the remains," the team leader said. He added that the archaeologists had uncovered just a small sample section of the area, which nevertheless now makes it possible to more exactly reconstruct it in its entirety.
The archaeologists have uncovered one grave and identified seven burial pits, and in accordance with the wishes of the relatives and survivors they will not be exhuming or surveying those remains. The deceased will remain buried where they are.
Later this month the Museum will announce an architectural competition for the design of a new memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma at Lety. The results of the contest will be announced next year, when the demolition of the pig farm that overlaps the former camp is also planned.
The memorial should begin construction in 2021, and the Museum wants to open it in 2023. According to historians, from August 1942 to May 1943, 1 308 Romani children, men and women passed through the camp at Lety, 327 of whom died there and more than 500 of whom were deported to the Auschwitz death camp.
Just 600 Romani people returned to Bohemia and Moravia from the concentration camps after the war. According to experts, the Nazis murdered 90 % of the Roma of Bohemia and Moravia.
Some of the buildings of a 7.1 hectare pig farm were erected over part of the former concentration camp at Lety in 1972. Last year the Czech state bought the farm for CZK 450.8 million [EUR 17.4 million].
- Czech archaeological survey confirms human remains are located in the vicinity of current memorial to WWII-era concentration camp for Roma
- Archaeological survey continues at site of former concentration camp for Roma in Czech Republic
- VIDEO: Chair of Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust in the Czech Republic on the archaeological findings there
- Czech archaeological samples yet to find exact location of mass grave at site of the Holocaust of the Roma
- Czech Government releases funds to demolish pig farm on Romani genocide site, archaeological survey will happen
- Czech library to exhibit all designs submitted for the future Lety u Písku Memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti
- Czech demolition of pig farm on former WWII-era concentration camp for Roma delayed one year, future new memorial said to be unaffected
- Holocaust survivors and remembrance organizations object to how younger generation is using TikTok to commemorate victims
- Czech ceremony commemorating Romani prisoners sent to Auschwitz on 20 August attended by more than 150 people
- Slovak Prime Minister says the Holocaust and its Romani victims must be remembered so that its "bloody history" will never be repeated
- VIDEO: Commemoration at former concentration camp in Czech Republic remembers Romani victims of Auschwitz, Human Rights Commissioner expresses support for a Romani Commissioner
- Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner: I support the creation of a Government Commissioner for Romani Minority Affairs
- LIVE BROADCAST Sunday at noon CET: European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration at Lety u Písku, Czech Republic
- Czech website on the Holocaust launches database of victims labeled "cikáni" by the Nazis and their accomplices
- Commemoration at WWII-era concentration camp for Roma in Czech Republic to give Award for Humanity to Gwendolyn Albert
- Winning design for new memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti in the Czech Republic features enormous circle at the site of the former concentration camp
- Here is the winning design for the new memorial to Holocaust victims of Roma and Sinti origin at the former concentration camp in Lety u Písku, Czech Republic