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April 1, 2020
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Czech Museum of Romani Culture's international competition for new memorial at former concentration camp receives 41 designs, exceeding organizers' expectations

24.1.2020 12:21
The now-defunct industrial pig farm that was built over the site of the former concentration camp for Romani people at Lety u Písku. (2019) (PHOTO:  Museum of Romani Culture, Czech Republic)
The now-defunct industrial pig farm that was built over the site of the former concentration camp for Romani people at Lety u Písku. (2019) (PHOTO: Museum of Romani Culture, Czech Republic)

The first round of the international architectural and landscape competition entitled "Lety u Písku: Memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti in Bohemia" has received 41 submissions, and the organizers have noted great interest from architects and landscape designers both abroad and in the Czech Republic. Architects from as far away as Japan are among the applicants.

"We were surprised by the interest of both Czech and international architecture and landscaping companies in the competition. As of the deadline we received 41 designs from practically the entire world," said Petr Návrat of the ONplan company, which is organizing the competition for the Museum of Romani Culture.

"Submissions to the competition are anonymous and the envelopes with the contact information will not be opened until after the jury assessment, but from the courier documentation we know that designs have arrived from England, Scotland, Germany, Spain, Serbia and even from Japan, for example," Návrat said. The competition jury is being led by architect Josef Pleskot and will be seated to assess the designs during the first week in February.

The jury meeting will happen at the National Gallery in Prague. Of the designs submitted, the jury will choose seven for a second round.

The authors of the designs will be called upon to further develop their proposals. The winning design and the overall outcome of the competition should be presented to the public in May.

"We have invested a great deal of effort into preparing the competition. In addition to staffers of the Museum of Romani Culture, the preparations of the commission were participated in by the bereaved relatives of the victims of the camps at both Hodonín and Lety and by many experts from the fields of history, Romani Studies, architecture and landscaping," said Jana Horváthová, director of the Museum of Romani Culture.

"We are glad that we have managed to announce a competition that has prompted such a response," the director said. At Lety the new memorial to Holocaust victims of Roma and Sinti origin in Bohemia will be built on the site where the so-called "Zigeunerlager" stood during the Second World War.

The grounds of the former industrial-capacity pig farm built on the site of the former concentration camp during the 1970s will also be part of the memorial's territory. The farm was bought out in 2018 and the entire site is currently being administered by the Museum, which is taking care of the entire grounds of the future memorial, which include the current Lety Cultural Heritage Monument.

The new memorial and exhibition are meant to honor the memory of Holocaust victims of Roma and Sinti origin, to inform visitors about this history, to educate visitors, and to galvanize discussion not just about the past, but also about the present and to cover the subjects of discrimination against minorities and human rights. Detailed documentation and information about the competition is available on the competition website: https://www.newmemoriallety.com/

ryz, press release of the Museum of Romani Culture, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Lety u Písku, memorial, Muzeum, Soutěž



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