Czech Republic: "Stumbling-stones" commemorate Romani Holocaust victims for the first time ever
Attentive pedestrians walking through what was once a temporary settlement in Brno's Černovičky quarter will find an unobtrusive reminder of the Romani victims of the Holocaust there now. All they have to do is look down at the shiny metal memorial stones or "stolpersteins" ("stumbling stones") that have just been installed.
The stones are the first in the Czech Republic to bear the names of Romani Holocaust victims, specifically, those of Amálie and Jan Daniel. "They remind us that Romani people were systematically slaughtered just like Jews or other victims of Nazism," Gunter Demnig, the author of the project, told the Czech News Agency.
Whoever wants to get close enough to read the information on the brass plates must bow before the victims - that is the principle of the memorial stones. Černovičky today is a cluster of single-family houses in a little green valley between two highway offramps in the city's Slatina disrict, but it used to look quite different.
"The foundations for what is Černovičky today were laid by the Daniels, a Romani family, in the 1880s," Dušan Slačka, an historian with the Museum of Romani Culture, describes the origins of the neighborhood. The originally semi-itinerant Romani blacksmiths and metalworkers settled there near a local factory for producing coal briquets, which gave the new settlement the name of "U kostivárny" (At the Briquet-Maker).
Approximately 200 Romani children, men and women were forced to abandon the settlement in the spring of 1943. They were all transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.
After the war just a couple of survivors returned there. Jan Daniel died on 17 March and Amálie on 20 May 1943, Slačka said.
The memorial stones are 10 cm square tiles with a brass plate reading "Here lived..." and then specific data about the victims. The stones are inserted into the pavement in front of the last place the victims lived of their own volition.
In Brno there are about 150 such reminders so far, usually dedicated to Jewish Holocaust victims. The stones in Černovičky can be found in the playground area that has been established in the green space on the outskirts of the settlement.
"We would like to continue laying stones to honor the Romani Holocaust victims. In Brno alone, of the indigenous Czech Romani population more than 1 000 people were slaughtered," said Miroslav Zima, director of the Drom organization in Brno.
- Emílie Machálková, a Czech Romani Holocaust survivor, has passed away
- Czech Romani Holocaust survivor relative responds to President Zeman: Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was responsible for Lety
- Director of the Institute of the Terezín Initiative says story of Czechoslovak Romani partisan could raise awareness of Roma Holocaust
- PHOTOGALLERY: Commemorative ceremony honoring the memories of the Romani victims of the Holocaust at Lety u Písku
- Czech Police release video footage to find assailants of foreign national in Brno
- Czech lower house to decide whether to lift MP's immunity for doubting Holocaust victims who are Romani next month
- Romani community in Czech Republic's second-largest city films the first-ever Romani sitcom
- Czech Govt Agency for Social Inclusion introduces itself to Romani coordinators in South Moravia
- Jana Horváthová: Affirmative action and inclusion will solve the situation of Roma in the Czech Republic
- Robin Stria, 7th place candidate for the Greens, Brno-střed: The biggest problem in the Czech Republic is housing
- Czech movement calling itself "Decent People" fined for disrupting theatrical production
- Czech research shows 96 % of poorest families in Rapid Re-Housing maintain their housing and improve their health
- Czech vigilantes file their own crime report about play in Brno
- Czech ultra-right disrupts theater performance, director says it reminds him of the rise of Fascism in the 20th century
- Czech Police apprehend youth who desecrated Romani genocide memorial with pig's head
- Prague celebrations of International Romani Day continue, contingent from Brno coming for a surprise event