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VIDEO: Commemorative ceremony at Lety u Písku and tour of the former pig farm

14.5.2018 12:59
The 13 May 2018 commemorative ceremony at Lety u Písku. (PHOTO:  Richard Samko,
The 13 May 2018 commemorative ceremony at Lety u Písku. (PHOTO: Richard Samko,

The commemorative ceremony honoring the Romani victims of the Holocaust at Lety took place yesterday after the recent closure of the pig farm that overlapped with the former concentration camp site. The Museum of Romani Culture plans to unveil its rehabilitation of the site within three years' time.

This year the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust in the Czech Republic gave awards to the politicians who, in their view, most contributed to the removal of the farm. Those awardees were members of the previous cabinet of Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD), namely, then-Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats) and then-Human Rights Minister Jiří Dientsbier (ČSSD).

ROMEA TV, the first Romani Internet television station in the Czech Republic, broadcast the commemorative ceremony live online. The Committee also expressed its appreciation to the former Mayor of the nearby community of Mirovice, Adolf Vondrášek, who at the beginning of the 1990s installed the first memorial to the Romani victims of Nazism at the cemetery in Mirovice.

The fourth awardee was Deputy Culture Minister René Schreier. The Committee annually organizes the 13 May commemorative gathering.

When opening the more than two-hour ceremony, Čeněk Růžička, the chair of the Committee, said it was the first time those attending would be able to commemorate the victims of Nazism without being bothered by flies, thanks to the closure of the nearby farm. "What we all have been wishing for and working for has come to pass," he said.

The camp at Lety was opened in August 1940 as a disciplinary labor camp. A similar facility existed at Hodonín u Kunštátu.

In January 1942 both camps were transformed into internment camps and in August 1942 the so-called "Gypsy Camps" were established at both places. From that time until May 1943, a total of 1 308 Romani children, men and women passed through the Lety camp, 327 of whom died there, according to the official records kept at the time.

More than 500 prisoners were forcibly transported to Auschwitz from Lety in May 1943, most of whom never returned. The pig farm, which covered an area of 7.1 hectares, first began construction in Lety in 1972.

Removing the farm to create a dignified memorial site has been discussed for more than 20 years. Last year the Government approved the purchase of the farm for CZK 450 800 000 [EUR 17.7 million].

At the time of closure the farm had expanded to 13 feed halls for 13 000 pigs. The last 300 pigs were transported away by the owner of the farm, the AGPI firm, on 14 March 2018.

VIDEO - Pre-Ceremony 13 May 2018


VIDEO - Opening of the Commemorative Ceremony


VIDEO - Laying of Wreaths at the Site of the 1995 Memorial


VIDEO - Speeches


VIDEO - Tour of the former pig farm at Lety u Písku



ROMEA, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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