Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Norway Grants to contribute to new Roma Holocaust memorial

14 February 2018

Prague, Feb 13 (CTK) - The Norway Grants want to contribute to the construction of a Roma Holocaust memorial planned at the site of a former concentration camp for the Roma in Lety, south Bohemia, Norwegian ambassador in Prague Siri Ellen Sletner told journalists on Tuesday.

The victims of the Roma Holocaust should finally have a commemorative site they deserve in the Czech Republic, she said.

Sletner appreciated that the Czech government bought the pig farm built at the site of the Lety camp last autumn.

The contract on the purchase of the pig farm for 450 million crowns was signed in November 2017 and it will take effect on Thursday, February 15.

The Roma Culture Museum in Brno will administer the new memorial. The museum's director Jana Horvathova said the pig farm is being cleaned now and then it will be pulled down.

Jan Cech, deputy chairman of the board of the pig farm's operator AGPI, told CTK on Tuesday that the company has not yet handed the farm to the museum and pigs were still on the premises.

All the pigs will be taken away by the end of February according to the plan and the premises will be vacated in March, Cech said.

The pig farm covers 7 hectares and includes 13 halls, each of which housed 1,000 pigs.

Sletner told journalists that the Lety memorial should be a commemorative site but also a place of support for Roma culture in the Czech Republic.

At the press conference on Tuesday, the activities and plans of the new European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) were presented.

This year, the Roma Culture Museum will also become the administrator of the other Roma Holocaust memorial in the country, located in Hodonin u Kunstatu, central Moravia.

The museum will change the planned permanent exhibition in Hodonin, Horvathova said.

She said the museum became the administrator of the area around the current memorial in Lety with replicas of three camp houses and the area of the former pig farm is to be handed to it by the enf of March.

Horvathova said a debate about the form of the Lety memorial will open on the museum's website and a round-table discussion on the issue will take place in Prague on March 2.

The forced labour camp in Lety was opened in 1940 and it turned into an internment camp and shortly afterwards in a Roma camp in 1942.

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 Auschwitz where most of them died. According to estimates, the Nazis murdered 90 percent of Czech Roma people.

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