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December 5, 2019
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Museum of Romani Culture to open Roma and Sinti Center in the Czech capital four years from now

15.9.2019 12:36
Jana Horváthová, director of the Museum of Romani Culture (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)
Jana Horváthová, director of the Museum of Romani Culture (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

The Museum of Romani Culture, which is based in Brno, wants to open a Roma and Sinti Center in Prague in 2023. The cost will be about EUR 1 million, to be covered by Norway Grants.

Jana Horváthová, Director of the Museum of Romani Culture, and Roman Truksa, the Deputy Director, announced the plan to the Czech News Agency on Tuesday, 10 September, during their press conference in Lety u Písku. "It's not exactly a spacious building, for a museum. We are counting on one of its main purposes as being a community center for Romani people," Truksa said.

The Museum is a state-funded organization established by the Czech Culture Ministry and acquired the building for the center from ministry itself. It is a functionalist villa in the Dejvice quarter on Velvarská Street.

The center will offer cultural events, exhibitions and instructional programs, all of which are a condition of the grant. "A rather extensive reconstruction is underway there. While the villa is not in a bad state of repair, we must revitalize all of the elements, such as how the windows are shaded. The villa dates to the close of the 1930s, it was built by a Jewish entrepreneur, and until now it has been much used by filmmakers. We would like to conserve its original elements, so two-thirds of the grant will be invested into the reconstruction," Truksa said.

The Museum wants to create a smaller hall in the lower basement of the building and establish a café on the grounds. The building could also serve as a starting point for visitors who would like to visit the Memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti in Lety u Písku.

That memorial is planned to be built by the Museum on the site of the former "Gypsy Camp" at Lety (which was partially covered by an industrial pig farm in the 1970s) and should be opened by 2023. The Museum has a pledge of EUR 1 million from Norway Grants to build the memorial and half a million euro for its activities and exhibitions.

During the Second World War, almost 90 % of the Roma living in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia were murdered. Of approximately 6 500 Roma living in the Protectorate, 4 879 were transported to the extermination camp at Auschwitz, with just 583 returning.

SB, ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Lety u Písku, Muzeum, Romani people, romská kultura



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