Prague, Oct 2 (CTK) – More than 70 MEPs, members of national parliaments and activists from 22 European countries have signed an appeal for the removal of a pig farm in Lety, south Bohemia, built on the site of a former Romany internment camp, the Konexe association said Friday.
The authors write that the presence of pigs, dirt and stink defame the remembrance of the dead and they harm their and their survivors’ decency.
The signatories include Bernard Kouchner, former French foreign minister and founder of the Doctors Without Frontiers, Italian Literature Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo and former Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.
According to the petition, the pitiful state of the locality reflects the persecution and discrimination that Romanies are faced with in Europe to date.
The large-scale pig farm should be replaced with a place of memory and sharing. The petition authors plead for support for a survey of the site with the aim of finding the bodies of all victims of the concentration camp and their decent burial.
The authors of the petition say it should not be any problem to collect the money needed. It would suffice to take a part of the hundreds of millions of euros from the EU budget designed for Romany integration that are left behind in Brussels every year because member states or local authorities do not apply for them.
However, the will to act is lacking, they add.
The petition is addressed to Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.
In its Romany strategy until 2020, the Czech government pledged to remove the pig farm from Lety. However, Sobotka said last year his government, like the previous ones, is not likely to find money to buy out the pig farm.
The originally labour and disciplinary camp in Lety was turned into a Gipsy one by the Nazis in August 1941. A total of 1308 Romanies passed through it until May 1943 and 327 of them died there. Another 500 were transferred to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) where most of them were murdered.
Fewer than 600 Romany prisoners returned from Nazi concentration camps after the war. It is estimated that the Nazis killed 90 percent Czech Romanies. A place of remembrance was opened in Lety in 2010.