Lety, South Bohemia, March 1 (CTK) – A pig’s head was placed last weekend to the provisional Roma Holocaust Memorial near the former concentration camp in Lety where a pig farm was later built that the Czech state recently bought and plans to pull it down this year, the Aktualne.cz news site reported on Thursday.
The Roma Culture Museum that administers the site will not react to the provocation. “Somebody apparently wants to provoke us,” Ludek Strasak, from the museum, said.
Strasak said the museum would address the police only if such a thing was repeated.
Miroslav Broz, spokesman for the Czech Romany civic group Konexe, said this was a disgusting racist attack and a desecration of the commemorative site. “Challenging the Roma Holocaust is a widespread phenomenon and a rather mainstream opinion in the Czech Republic,” Broz said.
European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM) head Benjamin Abtan considers the pig’s head a scandalous racial attack against the Roma Holocaust victims. The incident was a result of hateful statements made especially by the Czech president and the Czech far-right leader, he said, referring to President Milos Zeman and Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) leader Tomio Okamura.
Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO), who is also in charge of the human rights agenda, said he considers the incident a disgusting desecration of the memory of the victims.
Jan Cech, from the Agpi firm that recently sold the pig farm to the Czech state, said the firm’s employees had nothing to do with the pig’s head. He, too, said he considers it a provocation.
Okamura said in January that the Lety camp had not been fenced. Later he admitted that there was a fence, but insisted that no one guarded it and the inmates could freely move around.
The political opposition wanted Okamura to leave the post of deputy chairman of the lower house of parliament due to his statements, which they viewed as challenging the Roma Holocaust.
After years of criticism from both Czech and international bodies, the Czech state bought the Lety pig farm for 450 million crowns. The purchase contract took effect on February 15. The premises are to be vacated this month.
Over 1300 Roma people were interned in the Lety camp, 327 of whom perished there and over 500 were sent to the extermination camp in Auschwitz where most of them died.