Director of Lidice Memorial says Czech MP's remarks about Lety were unfortunate
Milouš Červencl, director of the Lidice Memorial, which administers the remembrance site at Lety by Písek, says Czech MP Tomio Okamura's recent remarks about the camp were unfortunate. "Especially at a time when all of Europe is commemorating the Romani Holocaust, about which there can be no doubt," Červencl told news server Romea.cz.
The director also added, however, that none of the available historical documents mention Lety as having been a concentration camp. News server Romea.cz. publishes his statement in full here:
Statement by Milouš Červencl on Tomio Okamura's remarks
I think the remarks by Mr T. Okamura on the issue of the Lety camp were unfortunate. Especially at a time when all of Europe is commemorating the Romani Holocaust, about which there can be no doubt. When we take into consideration the number of Roma and Sinti and the number who survived the war in our country, this was outright genocide.
It is a fact that nowhere in the historical documents available to us have we found any mention of Lety as a concentration camp. Between 1939 and 1943 it underwent several phases, as a labor camp (pracovní tábor), a penal colony (kárný tábor), a transit camp (sběrný tábor) and a "gypsy" camp (cikánský tábor).
It is precisely this last phase that was a clear preparation for the "final solution" for the Roma and Sinti and their subsequent liquidation at Auschwitz-Birkenau. This is why the Lety Memorial at the mass burial ground and the mass graves at the cemetery in nearby Mirovice deserve the maxmum respect.
These sites are respected, judging by the many message left in the visitor's book at the Lety Memorial and by an anonymous survey we have conducted in recent years at the site. The vast majority of visitors perceive the site and fate of the Romani people imprisoned there as an integral part of the sad history of our nations during the Second World War.
The purchase and removal of the pig farm are not part of the competence or the mission of the Lidice Memorial, which has been taking care of the Lety remembrance site near the pig farm since 2009 on the basis of a Government decision. Nevertheless, in 2010 I repeatedly met unofficially with the owner of the farm in order to ascertain for [former Czech Human Rights] Minister Kocáb the opinions and position of the Agpi, a.s. firm on that issue. It is true that besides making public declarations, during all these years no government representatives or politicians (with the exception of [former] Minister [without portfolio] Mlynář) have ever attempted concrete negotiations with the owner of the farm to find a feasible solution for both sides. This might be caused by the fact that governments and their ministers change quickly.
If this Government succeeds in fulfilling its resolutions on this matter, it would probably be a good idea to clarify ahead of time what should occupy the site of the former "gypsy camp" and what kind of content the remembrance site will feature.
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