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June 19, 2018
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Provocateur calls sale of former Roma genocide site to the Czech state a form of "antisemitism", Jewish community disagrees

28.11.2017 19:30
Jaroslav Novák Večerníček (PHOTO: Wikipedia)
Jaroslav Novák Večerníček (PHOTO: Wikipedia)

Jaroslav Novák is a founder of the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) party, a close collaborator with its chair, Tomio Okamura, and is himself the chair of the Memorial to the Shoah and Oskar Schindler Foundation, and he is alleging that by buying the pig farm on the Roma genocide site at Lety u Písku the Czech state has harmed itself. Shortly after the purchase agreement was signed he filed a criminal report with the Supreme State Prosecutor in the matter.

Novák is also known by his nickname, "Večerníček", and is famous for filing many crime reports against Czech politicians - he has named as the "perpetrator" of this "crime" Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman and other persons who have contributed to approving of the Lety purchase agreement, including Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. According to news server, Novák does not like the price the state is paying for the facility.

"The book value of the buildings and land of the pig farm is as of today reported at CZK 122 million and the value of the entire AGPI company, which is selling the farm, does not exceed CZK 100 million; the production of pork in six farms comprises just 46 % of that firm's turnover. That means the actual value of the farm is several hundred million crowns lower than the state is paying for it. It is, therefore, an evidently documented fact that by committing this act the perpetrators and their accomplices have caused the state damages of an enormous extent," his complaint reads.

Novák also justifies his decision to report the sale as a "crime" by alleging that "essentially there was no camp at the location of the farm, the camp was not a concentration camp according to Nazi regulations and, on the contrary, at the sites of actual concentration camps, of which there were roughly 40 on our territory, there are also buildings that obviously have no business being there." In his view, the only actually structurally-preserved Nazi concentration camp is at Brněnec near Svitavy – and he alleges the state is allowing it to deteriorate without providing it any aid.

In Novák's view, these circumstances can be interpreted as a certain form of antisemitism. Representatives of the Federation of Jewish Communities, however, have sharply distanced themselves from his "crime report".

"The opinion of Mr Novák about the buyout of the pig farm at Lety is absurd. The Federation of Jewish Communities has long supported buying the farm and we are glad that this action has finally taken place. If Mr Novák has actually filed such a crime report, then it is rather a display of his desire to attract attention to himself and to his own activities. We do not collaborate with Mr Novák and we condemn his current steps," Federation chair Petr Papoušek said.

The secretary of the Federation, Tomáš Kraus, also warned that Novák's allegations about the "only actually-preserved concentration camp in our country" are erroneous. Novák was previously vice-chair of the Úsvit ("Dawn") movement and has expressed his views of the camp at Lety before.

"Tomio [Okamura] never denied the existence of the camp, not for a moment, nor did he deny the crimes committed there - and he has not denied the Romani Holocaust at all. On the contrary, he has condemned it. He was just reminding us all that the fact that the camp commander robbed the prisoners and beat them does not make it a real concentration camp. Okamura has not forgotten to condemn the wrongs, the victims of which were Romani people at Lety, among others. However, he absolutely basically opposes the trend of discussing Lety as a Czech concentration camp, to say nothing of an extermination camp where the Czech gendarmes behaved worse than the SS in the actual concentration camps," Novák blogged after Okamura was reported to the police for his remarks denying the Romani Holocaust at Lety.

Jana Baudyšová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Antisemitismus, Holocaust, Lety u Písku, trestní oznámení


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Romani entrepreneurs push for unemployed Roma, not foreigners, to be hired for Czech bark beetle eradication

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The Association of Romani Entrepreneurs and Guilds (Asociace romských podnikatelů a spolků) has offered to provide 1 000 laborers who have long been registered with the Czech Labor Office for work in forests to combat bark beetle, sending an open letter making the offer to Czech Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) and Czech Agriculture Minister Jiří Milek (for ANO). Czech firms are complaining that they do not have enough laborers for forestry work and that they are understaffed by thousands.
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Nationalists desecrate Czech memorial to genocide of the Roma

8.6.2018 8:26
The memorial to the genocide of the Roma at Lety u Písku has been desecrated with insulting anti-Roma messages on several signs posted there by the nationalist group "Us Against All" (My proti všem). According to the police who have begun to investigate the incident it could be one of felony disorderly conduct.
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Renata Berkyová: Concept of the Porajmos as a reflection of the marginalization of Roma in historiography

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In recent years, in connection with commemorations of the tragic fate of Romani people during the Second World War and the expansion of our awareness of the Holocaust and its Romani victims, a breakthrough event has been in the making. Apparently the most recent example of this in the Czech Republic is the state buyout of the pig farm located on the site of former so-called "Gypsy Camp" at Lety u Písku, which was preceded by years of relentless pressure on the highest state representatives by the relatives of the victims, activists, and experts.
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