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June 18, 2018
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Czech Republic: Last pigs to leave farm on Romani genocide site 14 March

9.3.2018 21:24
The pig farm at Lety by Písek, Czech Republic, on the site of a former concentration camp for Romani prisoners. (PHOTO:  Archive
The pig farm at Lety by Písek, Czech Republic, on the site of a former concentration camp for Romani prisoners. (PHOTO: Archive

The Czech News Agency reports that Jan Čech, vice-chair of the Agpi board, said today that the last pigs will leave the grounds of the farm at Lety u Písku on 14 March. There are currently 330 pigs left in the facility.

The money from the state to purchase the grounds - CZK 450 800 000 [EUR 17.7 million] - has not yet been transferred to the Agpi company, which owns the farm. The firm has not yet decided whether to resume pig-rearing on the same scale elsewhere.

A memorial to the Romani prisoners of the former WWII-era concentration camp at Lety will now be installed at the site. The 13 feeding sheds there originally housed approximately 13 000 pigs.

The company has been gradually transporting the animals to the slaughterhouses of meat processing plants in Písek, Planá nad Lužnicí and Příbram. "It's all going to slaughter. Not early slaughter, though. They are going to their planned slaughter, they are matured, they are going as scheduled," the vice-chair said.

None of the pigs from Lety are heading to the firm's other farm in Přílepova, and Čech clarified that pigs from different farms have different health statuses and cannot be arbitrarily mixed together. The state should take over the facility at the end of April, but the exact date is not yet established.

According to Čech, all depends on when the change of ownership will be implemented at the cadastral office. "From that day forward the clock is running, within 10 days we must call upon them to take it over," he explained.

The money from the state for the transfer of the facility should be received by the firm within 30 days of the change being registered with the cadastral office. The Agpi company has approximately 100 employees, nine of whom worked at Lety.

The firm has let all of them go from their current positions and offered them other jobs; two staffers will remain with Agpi but the others did not accept the new offer. Agpi is considering whether to resume the production at Lety in some other location.

"We are waiting until the money comes, because the trade is not complete until then. There are some considerations, but we will not be discussing them," Čech said.

Agpi stockholders approved handing the facility over to the state at a general meeting last December because the farm's grounds overlap the site of a former WWII-era concentration camp for Romani people. The farm covers 7.1 hectares and was built during communism, beginning in 1972.

Buying out the farm and building a dignified remembrance site there has been discussed for more than 20 years. The purchaser of the grounds will be the Museum of Romani Culture.

A minority shareholder of Agpi has sued at the Regional Court in České Budějovice over the general meeting resolution to sell the facility. The Constitutional Court also received a complaint in January against the previous Government's resolution to buy the farm.

The future memorial to the Holocaust and its Romani victims at Lety may involve more replicas of the original barracks, an avenue of trees, or a burial mound with a cross. The idea is also being considered of leaving one of the pig farm buildings in place as a reminder of the postwar desecration of the site.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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