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August 20, 2022



Former Czech MP faces prosecution for his remarks about a "pseudo-concentration camp" for Romani people at Lety

8.1.2022 11:11
Miloslav Rozner (PHOTO:  Pirate Party, Wikimedia Commons)
Miloslav Rozner (PHOTO: Pirate Party, Wikimedia Commons)

Czech Television has reported that prosecutors have charged former MP Miloslav Rozner (SPD - "Freedom and Direct Democracy") over his remarks about the former concentration camp at Lety u Písku where Romani people were imprisoned during the Second World War. Several years ago he referred to it as a "non-existent pseudo-concentration camp".  

The filing of the indictment has been facilitatied by Rozner losing re-election to the lower house in the October elections, losing his immunity from prosecution thereby. Blanka Valsamisová, prosecutor for Prague 4, has confirmed an indictment has been filed.

"An indictment against Miloslav Rozner has been filed with the District Court for Prague 4," the prosecutor told the media. Rozner made his remark about a "non-existent pseudo-concentration camp" when criticizing the decision of the administration formed by the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), the Association of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO), and the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) to buy out the industrial pig farm that once stood on what is now the remembrance site at Lety, a transaction that cost roughly CZK 451 million [EUR 18.5 million].

The Czech Police had wanted to bring charges against Rozner in 2018, but at the time he enjoyed immunity as an MP, and the lower house decided not to strip him of it so he could be prosecuted. Last October he did not defend his seat and lost his immunity.

He has since been charged with the crime of denying, impugning, approving of and/or justifying genocide. In December 2021, Rozner complained against the decision to charge him, but the prosecutor rejected that complaint. 

Rozner has previously refused accusations that he wanted to cast doubt on the human suffering that happened during the Nazi occupation and has said he considers the charge absurd. "In my speech at an internal meeting of the party, not an occasion that was public, I decidedly did not deny genocide, but I was speaking about the overpriced buyout of the pig farm with public resources which, in my opinion, was realized in an absolutely untransparent way," he has said.

Speaking to a plenary session of the lower house when he still held office, Rozner declared that the aim of his statement had not been to cast doubt on the human suffering that happened during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. The camp at Lety u Písku, according to historians, saw 1 308 Romani children, men and women pass through it between August 1942 and May 1943, of whom at least 327 died there and more than 500 of whom ended up being forcibly transported to the Auschwitz death camp.

After the war, fewer than 600 Romani prisoners returned to liberated Czechoslovakia from the Nazi concentration camps. According to expert estimates, the Nazis murdered 90 % of the Bohemian and Moravian populations of Roma.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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