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Former Czech Human Rights Minister says the entire country should campaign against denial of Romani genocide

11.2.2018 7:17
Michael Kocáb (Teplice, 2018). (PHOTO: Jan Mihaliček)
Michael Kocáb (Teplice, 2018). (PHOTO: Jan Mihaliček)

On Wednesday, 7 February, former Czech Human Rights Minister Michael Kocáb commented at a press conference announcing the results of the fundraising drive called "THEY WANT TO GAS THEM, WE WANT TO SEND THEM TO SCHOOL!" about the recent remarks made the chair of the SPD party, who is also the vice-chair of the Chamber of Deputies. He highlighted the responses of politicians who have objected to Czech MP Okamura's remarks, which in his view have crossed a certain line.

Kocáb expressed appreciation for the campaign supporting the primary school on Plynárenská Street in Teplice where first-graders were targeted for hateful racist commentaries after their class photo was published by the daily Teplický deník, saying it was an example of an immediate response to such hate speech. "The campaign chose a rather radial slogan for its name, one that clearly says 'No, that path is long since behind us', we will not play around with the phrase 'to the gas chambers' - what is that, in the 21st century? The most horrible event, maybe, that humanity has ever experienced, decidedly the most horrible event of the last millenium, the Holocaust, and somebody dares to say such a thing at all? We must immediately object to such speech. It's like Tomio Okamura,  if he's interested - yesterday on television he asked somebody to explain to him what the camp at Lety was about. I have written to him here about how it actually was," said the former Czech Human Rights Minister as he gestured to materials about the history of the Lety camp he had with him.

"It was a concentration camp with a direct connection to Auschwitz, the death camp, it prepared the annihilation there, and the question of whether there were fences there is absolutely inappropriate for him to raise at all, after all, we know what happened in connection with the Holocaust. If he is complaining that a campaign is being waged against him now, well yes, nobody should refute that, the entire country should be campaigning against such opinions, constantly, from all corners of our country there should be protests heard against such speech," Kocáb said.

bau, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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