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Firm transfers pig farm at site of WWII Roma camp to state

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Lety, South Bohemia, April 3 (CTK) – The Agpi firm transferred on Tuesday the pig farm in Lety, situated at the site of a former Nazi internment camp for the Roma, to the Czech state, in particular to representatives of the Museum of Roma Culture that will administer the complex.

Museum director Jana Horvathova said the pig farm would be demolished by the end of the year and a Roma Holocaust memorial would be built there.

The state purchased the farm for 450 million crowns.

Agpi will receive the money in three installments – 80 percent of the sum must be paid by April 16, 10 percent within 30 days after the complex transfer to the state and the remaining 20 percent after the firm removes all manure.

Consequently, the long-lasting controversy caused by the pig farm near a commemorative site, which several governments tried to tackle in vain, will be resolved eventually.

The museum representatives took over the pig farm complex and signed the transfer protocols on Tuesday. The museum is now administering the site and will provide its protection, including watchdogs, Horvathova said.

The pig farm will be demolished for about 110 million crowns, while an archeological exploration at the site, which is to be completed by the end of June, will cost 1.5 million.

During the summer holiday, the museum wants to set criteria of the artistic and architectonic contest for the future appearance of the commemorative site and a visitors’ centre.

“We expect the demolition of the pig farm to be completed by the end of this year,” Horvathova said.

The state is negotiating about support of one million euros from the Norway Grants for the establishment of the Roma Holocaust memorial in Lety.

Horvathova said yesterday that a visitors’ information centre with exhibition premises and a lecture hall would be built in the farm complex. The shape of the memorial will be discussed at a public debate in Lety to be held on April 25.

Agpi has some 100 employees nine of whom worked in Lety.

The firm wants to invest the money for the purchase of the farm in the extension of other production facilities and it will not build another pig-breeding complex of the same size, Agpi board deputy chairman Jan Cech said on Tuesday.

Agpi drove the last 330 of the 13,000 pigs from 13 halls in the farm to a slaughterhouse on March 14.

The Agpi shareholders approved the transfer of its Lety pig farm to the Czech state at its general meeting last year.

However, a minority shareholder filed a legal complaint against the decision with the Regional Court. In January, the Constitutional Court also received a lawsuit against the previous government’s resolution on the purchase of the farm.

The forced labour camp in Lety was opened in 1940. 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, Roma 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 Auschwitz where most of them died. According to estimates, the Nazis murdered 90 percent of Czech Roma people.

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