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January 16, 2019
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Czech MP Karel Schwarzenberg will attend public discussion of the future memorial at Romani genocide site in Lety

22.4.2018 10:31
Karel Schwarzenberg
Karel Schwarzenberg

On Wednesday, 25 April 2018 at 17:00 yet another discussion will take place in the series being organized by the Museum of Romani Culture together with the ROMEA public benefit corporation on the future possible form of the memorial to the Holocaust and its Romani victims at Lety u Písku. The discussion will take place in the cultural hall of the Lety u Písku Municipal Authority.

"The discussion is conceived such that it will mainly be attended by local residents with whom we would like to hold a dialogue," Luděk Strašák, head of the Remembrance Sites department at the Museum, told news server Romea.cz. "The archaeologist Associate Professor Vařeka will present the audience with the findings of his archaeological survey of the site of the former so-called 'Gypsy Camp'. On behalf of the Museum we would like to present examples of the current forms of Holocaust memorials and remembrance arrangements at some of the former concentration camps in Germany as an inspiration, and naturally we will also outline what the vision is for the memorial that we are working on at the Museum. As an outcome of the discussion I would hope that the residents of Lety u Písku take up the newly-created Lety Memorial as their own and that we will be able to reach agreement about their cooperation in administering it in the future."

Organizers are doing their best to directly reach Lety residents and have distirbuted printed invitations by mail inviting people to take advantage of the opportunity to come ask anything they like in connection with the demolition of the industrial pig farm at the site and the erection of the new memorial there. Organizers are asking local residents to express their opinions about what hopes they hold for the future of the location.

Czech MP Karel Schwarzenberg will be attending to support the discussion, as he lives in nearby Orlík nad Vltavou and the history of his family's association with the site that became the camp is known, mainly because of writings by the American activist Paul Polansky in the 1990s. Schwarzenberg has long warned of latent racism in Czech society and told news server Romea.cz that it is the current social climate that has motivated him to support the Museum's current efforts to build a dignified remembrance site at the site of the former camp: "There are many prejudices against Romani people here and I consider it necessary to change that. The demolition of the pig farm and erection of a memorial is an opportunity to influence how people think."

Schwarzenberg also said the Museum should communicate not just with Lety residents, but with those of the surrounding villages. He himself is very optimistic about the reception of the memorial in the region.

Those interested in attending the discussion and traveling there from Prague can take advantage of a charter bus that will go to Lety for this debate, organized by ROMEA thanks to a financial contribution from the EVZ Foundation of Germany. It is possible to reserve seats by writing to eva.zdarilova@romea.cz.

Eva Zdařilová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Diskuze, Lety u Písku, memorial, Muzeum romské kultury



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