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March 29, 2020
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Czech state's demolition of industrial pig farm on former concentration camp site for Roma to begin in June

6.2.2020 18:48
The area of the former Protectorate-era Zigeunerlager at Lety u Písku is outlined in red compared to the current grounds of the now-defunct industrial pig farm (outlined in yellow). (PHOTO:  Museum of Romani Culture, Czech Republic)
The area of the former Protectorate-era Zigeunerlager at Lety u Písku is outlined in red compared to the current grounds of the now-defunct industrial pig farm (outlined in yellow). (PHOTO: Museum of Romani Culture, Czech Republic)

The demolition of the industrial pig farm that was built over the site of a concentration camp for Romani people during the Second World War at Lety u Písku, Czech Republic should begin in June. Lucie Horáková, spokesperson for the Museum of Romani Culture, which is building a memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma, told the Czech News Agency of the start time today.

The demolition, for which the state has allocated CZK 110 million [EUR 4.4 million], is meant to be completed this year and preparatory work on the building of the memorial is also meant to begin this year. Construction work on the new memorial could start next year.

The museum wants to open the memorial, which will feature an exhibition, in 2023. Czech Television has also reported the demolition will begin this June.

An architectural/landscape competition on the design of the new memorial is currently underway. During the first round, 41 designs were submitted.

The winner should be announced in May. "It will depend which design wins. The demolition is connected to the winning design. We don't know if some of the buildings will remain as a memento or how it will be. Ideally, however, the demolition should begin in June," Horáková said.

According to the museum spokesperson, the task for this year is to complete the demolition and clarify what form the new memorial will take. That will be followed by landscaping and preparatory work on the construction of the memorial.

"A greater degree of construction work on the new memorial will take place next year. We will also work on the preparation of educational programs and the exhibition that will held be there," said Horáková.

The winning design for the memorial could introduce changes to those preparations as well. The industrial pig farm was built on the site of the former concentration camp during the Czechoslovak communist regime in the 1970s.

The Czech state bought out the industrial pig farm for CZK 450 million [EUR 18 million] (including VAT) from the AGPI company, which had 13 000 pigs there at that time. According to historians, a total of 1 308 Romani children, men and women passed through the concentration camp at Lety from August 1942 to May 1943, 327 of whom died there and more than 500 of whom were forcibly transported to the Auschwitz death camp.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Lety u Písku, memorial, Muzeum, Nacismus



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