Roma victims of Nazism to be commemorated at Lety this Friday
Since 1997, the 13th of May has been the day on which some citizens of the Czech Republic and other countries travel to Lety by Písek to remember the almost 400 Roma victims of the former "Gypsy camp" there as well as all Roma people murdered by Nazism. As every year, those who are unable to travel to Lety on their own can take advantage of the free bus which is annually organized to depart from Prague by Čeněk Růžička of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust (Výbor pro odškodnění romského holocaustu).
With two days to go until the ceremony, there are 20 places left on the bus. Those interested in reserving seats can contact Mr Růžička (603 247 617, email@example.com). The bus will leave Prague at 9:45 AM and will be parked as usual in front of the main gate of the Florenc bus station, under the highway overpass, near the final bus stop for municipal bus No. 133. The bus will have a sign reading "Lety" on it. The return to Prague is planned for between 15:30 and 15:00. Mr Ruben Pellar will accompany the bus.
On this occasion, the surviving victims of the camp and relatives of those imprisoned there, figures of Czech cultural, political and religious life, representatives of various diplomatic corps to the Czech Republic, people from nonprofit organizations, youth and media come together to pay their respects. Last year the event was attended by as many as 500 people, the largest number to date. How many citizens and former or current representatives of the government and state institutions, as well as how many visitors from abroad will attend on Friday remains a question. Support for this year's commemoration has been expressed by Czech Green Party chair. The party's website is calling on party members to attend.
The program of the ceremony, held with the support of the Foundation for Holocaust Victims (Nadační fond obětem holocaustu), will start at the burial ground on the site of the former concentration camp for Roma people at 12:00. There will be a march to the burial ground and poet Emil Cina will recite one of his works. After Mr Růžička's introduction, wreaths will be laid at the monument "To the victims of the Gypsy Camp at Lety 1942 -1943“. Before 13:00, deacon Vojtěch Vágai will perform a religious service. After speeches are made by various guests, the official part of the ceremony will end around 14:00 with a tour of the new memorial renovations which were opened not quite on year ago. As is traditional, those interested will continue on to the nearby village of Mirovice, where wreaths will be laid at the memorial to the children who perished in the camp.
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