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Czech Romany group hails new minister's words about Lety pig farm

Prague, 26.1.2009 10:28, (ROMEA)

The Czech Committee for the Romany Holocaust Victims' Compensation today welcomed the statement by Michael Kocab, the new Czech minister in charge of human rights and minorities, that he wants to solve the case of the pig farm standing on the site of a wartime internment camp for Romanies.

After his appointment as minister for the junior Green Party (SZ) on Friday, Kocab said he would see to it that the pig farm in Lety, south Bohemia, be abolished.

The Committee president Cenek Ruzicka hailed Kocab's intention but he recalled that all politicians have spoken similarly in the past 14 years for which Romany representatives have sought the removal of the pig farm and the establishment of a dignified monument on the site.

"I'll take efforts to achieve the pulling down of the pig farm in Lety that mirrors our incompetence, our incapability of arranging the former concentration camp for Romanies as a commemorative site," Kocab said on Czech Television on Friday.

He said he considered Romany-related issues one of his priorities as a minister.

Kocab's words brought the old case of Lety, formerly also watched and criticised by EP members, to the limelight again.

Kocab's predecessor in the ministerial post, Dzamila Stehlikova (SZ), said last spring that her team was seeking an optimal solution to the problem and that the cabinet could decide on the issue in early 2009.

The team probably later came to the conclusion that it would be optimal to buy the pig-farm from its owner.

Stehlikova told CTK today that before her dismissal this week she was preparing a material proposing a simultaneous solution to the Lety issue and the issue of Hodonin u Kunstatu, a site in south Moravia where another internment camp for Romanies used to be situated in wartime.

Stehlikova said that in the first phase, infrastructure should be built in Lety to enable the holding of commemorative meetings there. "Kocab has quite a detailed information about the agenda," she said.

"So far everyone has found it a hard nut to crack. Nonetheless, we will gladly help the minister in his efforts. Surviving relatives of victims of Nazism and the surviving Romany camp inmates have welcomed his statement," Ruzicka said, referring to Kocab.

Out of the 1,308 Romanies who were gradually interned in the Lety camp in the early 1940s, 327 died there and more than 500 were transferred to the extermination camp in Oswiecim.

Almost 1,400 Romanies were interned in the Hodonin camp, where several hundreds of them died.

CTK
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Czech republic, Lety u Písku



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