“The memorial at Lety by Písek is our affair,” declare bereaved relatives of the Romani victims of the Lety concentration camp
We welcome the European Parliament’s resolution of 31 January 2008 in which the MEPs have condemned, for the second time, the fact that an industrial pig farm is situated on the site of a former concentration camp for Roma at Lety by Písek.
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We agree with Czech MEP Jan Březina that the primary responsibility for the establishment of the camp and for the fact that both adults and children perished there lies with Germany. However, we do not believe Germany is obligated to pay the costs of relocating the pig farm, as the German state had not the slightest influence over the construction of the farm. Construction of the farm on that site was organized within the framework of the sovereign authorized bodies of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, i.e., the state for whose actions the new Czech Republic has assumed total responsibility.
We regret that the Czech Republic is, according to Czech MEP Jan Zahradil, once again being denounced by EU bodies. The responsibility for this denunciation rests entirely with the Czech Republic itself. For more than a decade, for no good reason, the Czech government has practically scorned finding a solution this problem.
For three months we have been active on the working commission convened by Czech Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Džamila Stehlíková on this matter, which is drafting its own solution to the problem. We reject the proposal made by the AGPI firm, which operates the farm, that a museum be built adjacent to the malodorous farm for CZK 50 million. We also reject the firm’s efforts to convince local Roma to support their proposal.
The essence of the problem is not that there is no museum on this site, but that an industrial pig farm is in operation there.
We will agree to further alterations to the site only if the government issues a binding decree that it will arrange for the relocation of the industrial pig farm to an appropriate site, that the decree include a deadline for this relocation, and that the decree describe how it will arrange for preserving the farm’s operations in the new location. We, the survivors and the bereaved of the victims, will take care of erecting a dignified memorial at our own costs. After our many years of experience concerning efforts to manipulate this site, we do not intend to let anyone tell us what form the future memorial should take
We propose that amount of money mentioned, i.e., CZK 50 million, be invested into a fund for relocation the industrial pig farm to an appropriate site.
We propose that the government invest a similar amount into this fund every year, and that it negotiate with AGPI regarding a purchase price for the existing industrial pig farm.
We propose the government turn to international institutions with a request for contributions for this purpose.
We believe our proposal will resolve the problem and the protests from abroad, which have yet to die down. We believe our proposal will improve the reputation of the Czech Republic in the world and markedly contribute to improving inter-ethnic relationships in the country.
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