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Czech Regional Development Minister: We're negotiating about the pig farm on the Roma Holocaust site, but don't ask for details

3.8.2016 17:15
Czech Regional Development Minister Karla Šlechtová (at the memorial) and Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman (in the background) attended a commemorative ceremony to honor the victims of the Roma Holocaust and the concentration camp for Romani people at Lety by Písek on 2 August 2016. (PHOTO:  ČTK)
Czech Regional Development Minister Karla Šlechtová (at the memorial) and Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman (in the background) attended a commemorative ceremony to honor the victims of the Roma Holocaust and the concentration camp for Romani people at Lety by Písek on 2 August 2016. (PHOTO: ČTK)

Czech Regional Development Minister Karla Šlechtová (ANO) attended a commemorative ceremony yesterday at the site of the former so-called "Gypsy camp" at Lety by Písek and told the press that revealing details of the Government's negotiations to buy the pig farm located there could endanger the outcome of the agreement. She made the remarks in response to questions from journalists and in response to a prior statement by Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman.

The pig farm is located on a site where hundreds of people perished during the Second World War. "We have being doing our best to resolve this problem for many months now. We want the site to be honored in accordance with its history. However, we cannot say anything more about the negotiations," the Regional Development Minister said.

According to Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats), the Government is close to an agreement to buy the pig farm. Herman said he believes the Government will manage to resolve the entire matter by October 2017.

The Culture Minister made his remarks in an interview for Czech Radio and repeated them yesterday to journalists at the commemorative ceremony at Lety. "I am convinced that no Government has ever been so close to resolving how to arrange a site of reverence for the entire complex. Due to the ongoing negotiations I cannot be more specific at this moment," Herman said.

According to Jan Čech, the General Director of the Agpi company, which runs the pig farm at Lety, the Government is indeed negotiating with the firm. He said that compared to discussions held with previous cabinets, the efforts made by the current Government are much more intensive.

Herman said that currently there is no specific amount of money being discussed between Agpi and the Government. "For the time being we're just speculating. However, we are prepared for the Government to soon involve itself in this question," he said.

The camp at Lety was first opened in August 1940 as a so-called disciplinary labor camp. Another such facility also existed at Hodonín by Kunštát.

In January 1942, both camps were changed into transit camps, and in August 1942 both camps became "Gypsy camps". From that time until May 1943, a total of 1 308 Romani children, men and women passed through the Lety camp, 327 of whom perished there, and more than 500 of whom were transported to Auschwitz.

The total number of Czech Romani prisoners estimated to have survived the concentration camps is approximately 600. According to estimates, 90 % of Czech Roma were murdered by the Nazis.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Lety u Písku, memorial, Památný den romského holocaustu, pietní akt, pietní místo, Vláda



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