Friday, 25 April 2014

US writer: Czechs should admit their part in Roma Holocaust

ČTK |
29 April 2013

Prague, April 28 (CTK) - Czech politicians are unwilling to admit the Czech involvement in the liquidation of Roma in the Nazi-operated internment camp Lety in southern Bohemia and elsewhere, U.S. writer and activist Paul Polansky said in a speech he delivered in Prague Sunday.

"The Romany Holocaust did not end in 1945, it has been going on until now in Eastern Europe and Italy," Polansky said.

He said the guards of the Lety concentration camp were Czech police and customs officers.

In 1998, Polansky's book Black Silence based on the memories of several dozen Romanies who survived the Nazi occupation on Czech territory was published.

In his book the controversial historian says only eight people died of typhus fever in the Lety camp, although there were thousands of victims.

In another book he wrote that the parents of current Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg used the inmates of the Lety camp as cheap workforce when their forests were devastated by a tempest in 1939.

The Foreign Ministry said previously that the book included a number of errors and false information.

Polansky, who was the first to speak of the Holocaust of Czech Romanies in the 1990s, talked of his work for Romanies in Kosovo where he has been operating for 14 years during his Prague lecture, organised by the Antifa group.

Over 1300 Romanies were interned in Lety during the German Nazi occupation, 327 of whom perished in the camp and over 500 were sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). According to estimates, the Nazi regime exterminated some 90 percent of Czech Romanies.

In 2010, a memorial to the victims was built in Lety.

A pig farm is located on the site of the former camp. The Czech government repeatedly said it had not enough money to buy the farm and remove it.

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