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Czech Culture Minister says Govt will resolve pig farm on Roma Holocaust site by next fall

3.8.2016 8:27
Daniel Herman, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic (PHOTO:  Jan Jankovič, Wikimedia Commons)
Daniel Herman, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic (PHOTO: Jan Jankovič, Wikimedia Commons)

Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats) is convinced that the current Government will manage to resolve the issue of the pig farm on the site of  the former so-called "Gypsy camp" at Lety by Písek by the next elections. The minister made his remarks on the eve of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day in an interview for Czech Radio.

"I myself lost many close relatives, including my grandfather, at Mauthausen, and if I were to imagine there were pigs wallowing at the place where my grandfather died, I wouldn't like it either," Herman said. "I am genuinely convinced that our Government will manage, by the next elections, to do something about this."

The minister said negotiations are underway with the pig farm owner but would not discuss details, saying only that the situation must be addressed because, in his opinion, the Czech Republic must learn how to face up to its past. He also reminded listeners that the camp at Lety had Czech guards who were led by an unbelievably cruel gendarme, Josef Janovský.

"I have heard shocking testimony from somebody whose mother was in that camp. Unfortunately, the life of his sister was brought to an end when they took her from her mother's arms and threw her into the fishpond, where her body probably remains to this day," the minister said.

Herman also discussed other atrocities committed at Lety, including the murders of newborns and the mass graves in the nearby forests, where the current memorial to the victims is now located. The minister said the pig farm on the site of the former camp does not seem like an appropriate memorial to him.

Yesterday Herman attended a commemorative ceremony together with Czech Regional Development Minister Karla Šlechtová during which the Roma Holocaust was remembered at Lety on the occasion of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, which falls on the anniversary of the mass murder of Romani people in the gas chambers of the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Nazi-occupied Poland during the night of 2 August 1944 and early morning hours of 3 August 1944. An estimated 90 % of Czech Roma did not survive the Second World War.  

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Holocaust, Lety u Písku, Památný den romského holocaustu, Vláda



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