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March 20, 2019
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Czech Republic: Shocking testimonies from the Lety concentration camp

Prague, 4.8.2014 22:27, (ROMEA)
This photograph shows a group of children imprisoned at the concentration camp of Lety by Písek, where they died primarily of cold and hunger. (PHOTO:  Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic/Akademie věd ČR)
This photograph shows a group of children imprisoned at the concentration camp of Lety by Písek, where they died primarily of cold and hunger. (PHOTO: Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic/Akademie věd ČR)

Speaking on the eve of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, Czech MP Tomio Okamura, the chair of the "Dawn of Direct Democracy" (Úsvit) movement, has insulted the victims of the former concentration camp at Lety by Písek when he said in a statement for the political tabloid ParlamentniListy.cz that it was a lie and a myth to call Lety a concentration camp for Roma. Okamura claims no one was ever killed at the camp and that the imprisoned people who died there did so as a result of old age and the diseases they had brought there with them as a result of their traveling way of life.  

News server Romea.cz is republishing in English translation below some of the recollections of the former prisoners of the camp that were published by news server MECEM.sk back in 2005. These excerpts come from the archives of the Museum of Romani Culture.  

These testimonies are so horrible that there is no reason to comment on them further. We will let the memories of the victims themselves answer Okamura's statements.

Memories of eyewitnesses from Lety by Písek 

They took me to the forest to cut wood and I escaped with another guy. Our heads were shaved, we were wearing those clogs. A police escort came after us, an SNB guy, a Czech one with a bayonet, and took us back to the camp. They beat us as haard as they could there. Do you know what it's like to be beaten? To be beaten unconscious? With nightsticks? There were two of us, connected by our legs which were bound with metal chains, and they threw us in where the traveling people would drive up with their wagons, everyone was piled up in the wagons, right? They turned them into a mortuary, because when the typhus came there was no room, so they threw everyone into the wagons and used the wagons to take them away. So they tied us up with the chains, right, and when the other guy had to use the bathroom I had to go with him. The two of us were kept in a wagon for about three months, it was a kind of correction, there wasn't anything there, just the bare floor, there were no wheels, it was lying on the ground. When they released me I was no longer able to walk....
(A boy imprisoned in Lety at the age of 12)  

I was supposed to supervise some boys working in the woods and they ran away on me, and we got 25 lashes across our backsides as punishment, with a nightstick, in front of our mother, in front of everyone, a Czech policeman beat me. Then they put me into the gypsy wagon where the corpses were and left them lying there next to me for three days, no food either. The wagons were glued side by side to one another. I was crying, screaming, yelling "Mom, Mom, there are corpses here, I'm scared of them". I was a child and I was afraid the dead would haunt me....
(A girl imprisoned in Lety at the age of 10)

...my brother was strung up for 24 hours. He was hung by his arms from a stake. Then they just put him in the wagon. They put him there, it was dark, it was fixed up like a bunker. They either put him in the bunker or dragged him out to the stake, he couldn't have any food for three days, they gave him either just water or nothing at all. Then they gave him 25 lashes on his backside.
(A girl imprisoned in Lety at the age of 18)

...I saw one case where a boy ate a rat. ... we were horribly hungry. However, I'm telling you that you can't blame the Germans for it or something, the Czechs did it.
(A boy imprisoned in Lety at the age of 12)

I saw one had a mouse in his hands and another was biting into it, and there were grubs - you know how cabbage grows, if a little bit was left alive in the fields and they [the guards]weren't looking, then the children ran away whenever they could to go get some, both the adults and the children ate that.
(A girl imprisoned in Lety at the age of 14)

...and when they forced us to go outside we would tear up the grass to eat it and they beat us for that.
(A boy imprisoned in Lety at the age of 8)

What was it like at night? The children cried, no one ever cuddled anyone else. Only the strongest survived. What I mean is it was a camp where they were watching while you disappeared from the world.
(A boy imprisoned in Lety at the age of 12 who was released)

Jesus and Mary, how many children died in those barracks! Every day I would just always discover that I had more room....
(A girl imprisoned in Lety at the age of 10)

Then I gave birth to a baby girl. I didn't have enough milk to nurse her because of the food they gave you there, she didn't survive long, children didn't last long there, my little girl died.
(A girl imprisoned in Lety at the age of 18)

What cemetery? They threw them into a pit there, they didn't put them in any sort of graves, they covered them with lime. It was really a concentration camp. My aunt lost her four small children there, I lost my little sister, so I have very bad memories of it.
(A girl imprisoned in Lety at the age of 18)

What was it like when they sent them away to Auschwitz? Well that was horrible, people howled and wept, I always said "Mom do you hear that? Mom, please, make them stop crying" - it was horrible. "What are they doing to them, what are they doing to them?" That's what I was thinking. They rounded them up and they couldn't go out anymore, not anywhere, and at night the police vans came, and then the crying, the screaming of those people as they begged for mercy, that was horrible. Then we never saw any of those people ever again....
(A girl imprisoned in Lety at the age of 10)

Source: MECEM.sk

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Views: 1798x

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Extremism, Holocaust, Racism, Tomio Okamura, Okamura - popírání romského holocaustu



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