Czech pig farm should be moved from Romany Holocaust site
The pig farm on the site of the wartime camp for Romanies in Lety, south Bohemia, should be removed, Jiri Leschtina writes in the daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) today in connection with the promise of new Czech Human Rights and Minorities Minister Michael Kocab to pull the farm down.
The bad smell from the pig farm filling the air during commemorative events organised at the memorial of the internment camp's victims recalls the unwillingness to admit that it is not only Nazi Germans but also Czech guards who contributed to the death of more than 300 Romanies in Lety, Leschtina writes.
He says the Czech commander of the camp and several pathological guards killed tens of the inmates by beating them up and making them starve and freeze to death even before many of the others died of epidemic typhus.
Out of the 1,308 Romanies who were gradually interned in the camp in the early 1940s, 327 died there and more than 500 were transferred to the extermination camp in Oswiecim (Auschwitz).
The Czechoslovak communist regime decided to bury the memories of the genocide by building a large pig farm instead of the camp, Leschtina writes.
The pig farm is a symbol of the deformed view of the Romany Holocaust: unless the farm is removed, the Czechs continue to show that they have less respect to Romany victims of World War Two than to Jewish victims, Leschtina says.
The problem is similar to that of the postwar deportation of Germans from the country's border regions where they had lived for many generations. The Czechs try to ignore that they have part of the responsibility for the injustice done and crimes committed during the deportation, Leschtina writes.
He says the indefinite discussion on whether the sum demanded by the present owners of the farm as compensation for the removal is acceptable is pointless.
The farm should be removed at any cost because the Romany survivors and the descendants of those who died in the camp wish it, Leschtina points out.
Kocab should remember his excellent mixture of diplomatic skills and firmness thanks to which he pushed through that Soviet troops left Czech territory in the early 1990s, Leschtina writes.
He says Kocab has a hard nut to crack, recalling that Kocab's predecessor Dzamila Stehlikova and all government human rights commissioners, including Petr Uhl and Svatopluk Karasek, have so far failed to get rid of the pig farm despite their efforts.
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- Slovak Ambassador at Romani genocide commemoration: Honoring the memory of victims of racial hatred is important for all countries
- PHOTOGALLERY: Commemorative ceremony honoring the memories of the Romani victims of the Holocaust at Lety u Písku
- US Chargé d’Affaires at Roma Holocaust site: I pay tribute to the Czech Government's pledge to solve the problem of the pig farm
- Czech researcher at Romani genocide commemoration: Compensate the victims of illegal sterilizations
- Opening remarks at commemoration quote Romani genocide survivor: "There's a pig farm at Lety. How could they allow that?"
- Closing speech by Čeněk Růžička at Lety u Písku: We are not giving up our fight to restore dignity to the Romani victims of the concentration camp
- FULL VIDEO: Commemorative ceremony honoring the memory of the Romani victims of the Holocaust at Lety u Písku
- Czech ministers say they believe pig farm will be gone from Roma genocide site next year
- Czech Republic: Conference begins in Prague today about historical experience of Romani people as Holocaust victims
- European Grassroots Antiracist Movement postpones involvement by internationals in Lety commemoration
- Czech Government to resign: Technocratic cabinet could endanger the buy-out of the pig farm at Romani genocide site
Tags:Czech republic, Lety u Písku
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