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September 26, 2018
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Czech state is now the official owner of the former pig farm at Lety on the Romani genocide site

27.3.2018 7:08
The pig farm standing at the site of the former WWII-era concentration camp for Romani people at Lety, Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  ROMEA Archive)
The pig farm standing at the site of the former WWII-era concentration camp for Romani people at Lety, Czech Republic. (PHOTO: ROMEA Archive)

On 16 March the grounds of the former pig farm at Lety (Písek distrtict) were registered in the cadastral office as having been transferred from the AGPI firm to the Czech state. The firm will receive 80 % of the purchase price of CZK 450 800 000 [EUR 17.7 million] within 30 days.

AGPI must hand the facility over to the state by the end of this month. Jan Čech, vice-chair of the board, informed the Czech News Agency of the developments on 20 March.

The former farm is located near the place where a WWII-era concentration camp was once in operation. A memorial to the Holocaust and its Romani victims will now be created there.

Norway has expressed interest in contributing to the building of the memorial. The Czech state is negotiating EUR 1 million in support from Norway Grants.

The Museum of Romani Culture, a state-funded organization, is the buyer of the facility. The cost to demolish the former farm is estimated at CZK 110 million [EUR 4.3 million].

An archaeological survey of the grounds will be performed for CZK 1.5 million [EUR 60 000]. "It is registered with the cadaster as of Friday [16 March]. Within 30 days we should receive the first part of the money, 80 % of it. We are supposed to receive another 10 % 30 days from the actual handover, which has not yet happened and we do not yet know when it will be. Then we will receive the final 10 % once the sewage is cleared away, because we cannot go into the fields now - the contract counted on that, because the sewage cannot be sent away right now, if it's wet or frozen we are not allowed to be outside," Čech said.

The state should take over the facility by the end of this month but an exact date has not yet been established. AGPI said it would be calling on the state to set a date soon.

"I believe [the handover] will happen at the end of March and start of April," Čech said. AGPI drove away the last 330 pigs from the facility at Lety on 14 March.

AGPI has not yet decided whether to resume pork rearing elsewhere. There were originally approximately 13 000 pigs in 13 feed halls  at the Lety facility and the firm gradually transported those animals to the slaughterhouses of meat processing plants.

In 1972 the farm first began to be built and it occupied an area of 7.1 hectares. Buying the facility and building a dignified memorial site has been discussed for 20 years.

The new memorial to the Holocaust at Lety and its Romani victims could involve another replica of the original barracks, an avenue of trees, or a burial mound with a cross. AGPI shareholders approved the transfer of the facility to the state at a general meeting last year.

A minority shareholder has sued the firm over that meeting. The Constitutional Court also received a complaint in January against the previous cabinet's resolution to buy the farm.

AGPI has approximately 100 employees, nine of whom worked at Lety. The company gave those nine notice and offered them jobs elsewhere; two workers will remain with AGPI while the others did not accept the offer.

The firm wants to invest the money coming from the sale of the facility into expanding its production. AGPI owns a facility in Přílepov with 600 sows and a fattening station for them from which more than 2 000 tons of pork are produced annually.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Holocaust, smlouva, Stát, stížnost



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