Sunday, 20 August 2017

AGPI firm accepts Czech state's offer for Lety pig farm purchase

8 August 2017

Pisek, South Bohemia, Aug 7 (CTK) - The AGPI firm accepts the Czech government's offer for the purchase of a pig farm on the site of a wartime internment camp for the Roma in Lety near Pisek, but neither side will release the purchasing price for the time being, AGPI's Jan Cech told CTK today.

Cech, deputy head of the AGPI board of directors, said AGPI's idea of the sum was largely higher. The state was "very strict" during the negotiations, he said.

Simona Cigankova, spokeswoman for the Culture Ministry, told CTK that the government is to discuss the purchase at the end of August and in early September, and that the state might sign the contract with the firm after the summer holiday.

She said the negotiations are covered by a certain of degree of secrecy and that is why more detailed information cannot be released.

The Czech government has been considering the purchase of the pig farm for about 20 years, but it never found enough money for it.

AGPI preferred the transfer of the pig farm to a different site, but it eventually accepted a financial compensation.

"If everything goes well, the deal should be signed by the end of the current election term [in October]," Cech said.

He added that he considers the negotiations very correct even though the two sides' ideas of the price differed.

The construction of the pig farm was launched under the communist regime in 1972. The farm spreads on 7.1 hectares. Some 13,000 pigs are bred in 13 halls.

Cigankova told CTK previously that as soon as the sales agreement is signed, the farm will be pulled down, the area cleaned up, and a monument to the victims designed and built.

Culture Minister Daniel Herman said it is a matter of a couple of years.

The Lety camp was opened by the Bohemia and Moravia Protectorate authorities in 1940. It was designed for men who could not prove their source of living. A similar facility existed in Hodonin u Kunstatu, south Moravia. In 1942, both facilities turned into internment camps and in August of the same year, Romany camps were established there.

Until May 1943, 1308 Roma men, women and children were interned there, 327 of whom perished in the camp and over 500 were sent to the extermination camp in Oswiecim (Auschwitz) where most of them died. Fewer than 600 Czech Roma people returned from concentration camps after the war. According to estimates, the Nazis murdered 90 percent of Czech Roma people.

Roma organisations have been striving for the pig farm's relocation for years. The European Parliament (EP) as well as other international organisations have called on the Czech Republic repeatedly to remove the farm from the commemorative site.

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