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August 16, 2018
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Patrik Banga: How can people in the Czech Republic write about reviving the concentration camps?

10.2.2018 7:25
Patrik Banga. (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)
Patrik Banga. (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

I have just read online, for the third time in the last several hours, the opinion that the concentration camps should be revived, and not surprisingly, one such opinion was posted by a commenter to the Facebook profile of Tomio Okamura. For several dozens of hours I have been thinking about whether I basically can even say anything about what is going on because I am in a stage where I am afraid to say anything - and that is because the moment I say something, I begin to receive hate mail and racist messages that disgust me so much that I have even stopped blogging on the blog site that I myself am in charge of.

It seems absolutely insane to me that in the year 2018 I can read, in the Czech environment, that somebody is calling for reviving the concentration camps. It seems crazy to me that anybody can afford to doubt the Holocaust of the Roma and allege that it basically never happened.

I do not not know any Romani people here who did not have somebody in their family in a concentration camp, and I do not know anybody who has not been affected by that fact in some way. I, for example, never knew my grandpa.

I never knew my grandma either. I was deprived of the moments when grandparents play with their grandchildren.

My grandpa was never able to take me for a hike or teach me to play the violin. He was not able to do that because he died as a consequence of the abuse he suffered in the concentration camp.

Now somebody here is coming along and beginning to tell a story about concentration camps actually not being concentration camps and that people were just there because they didn't want to work. To say that is the same thing as if I were to dare allege that Czechs in the resistance were responsible for their own deaths.

Nobody here would stand for it and they would be right not to stand for it. Anybody who said that here would be given a black eye.

If you say something similar about Romani people, though, others begin writing that the concentration camps should be revived. I am really thinking a lot about how this can happen in a civilized society.

What causes this? Is it really because a representative of a political party absolutely shamelessly lies, and because he does it everybody else has the feeling they can too?

How is it possible that people in the year 2018 write to me to say I should be sent to the gas chambers? How is it even possible that whatever I do, I will never be considered a full-fledged member of this society?

What the hell do I have to do so that I don't have to spend my entire life watching as everybody else automatically categorizes me? I graduated from a private school, one that I attended by paying my own money, I have worked my entire life, I have never taken anything from the state, I have paid such unbelievable contributions that I have prepaid a pension that I may not even live long enough to draw.

I have fallen ill and never taken time off. Even during chemotherapy (just like I am doing now) I went to work and paid my money from that work to the state.

After all that, some guy here is going to categorize me, somebody who is capable of shamelessly lying to the media and building his career on that and that alone? What the hell is going wrong here?

I have waited 20 years for a representative of the Czech Republic to come along who would tell the truth and apologize for what happened at Lety. Why the hell won't anybody here say, on the level, that the gendarmerie there were locals and that it is not just Germans who have the blood of the Roma on their conscience?

I want this to be clear. They almost completely slaughtered all of the Roma here.

My grandparents had to flee into the forest and if they didn't manage to do evade capture they ended up in a concentration camp or dead. Whenever I read some racist posting online here I am sorry that we are not in Germany, where for such remarks he would get 10 years without parole.

We are in the Czech Republic, though. It has become standard that every morning I read somebody posting how I should be gassed, or sent "back" to India, in the best-case scenario.

It has become standard that even if we manage to put somebody on trial who has threatened dozens of other people and even ordered a murder, we still have to face more and more abuse and threats. I have already become accustomed to this as normal.

This is really a human tragedy. Decency has been lost.

Hate and lies rule here instead. That's what really makes me feel like throwing up.

Patrik Banga, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Views: 518x

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