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Prague financially contributes to Kazakh gulag victims memorial

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Prague, Sept 11 (CTK) – The Czech government will provide almost two million crowns for the construction of a memorial to the Czech victims of gulags in Kazakhstan and a lookout tower to be built after a Czech architect’s design in Jerusalem, it decided at its meeting on Monday.

The tower, designed by Martin Rajnis and shaped as a cactus, will stand next to the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City in the recently established centre for young art, design, technologies, architecture and new media.

It is to symbolise close relationship between the Czech Republic and Israel and host lectures, workshops and cultural events.

The tower will be ceremonially unveiled on October 28, 2018, on the centenary of the establishment of independent Czechoslovakia.

The Czech Republic will contribute 1.4 million crowns to the project.

The cabinet also earmarked almost 500,000 crowns for the construction of a monument in commemoration of the Czechs and Slovaks who ended up in gulags across the former Soviet Union.

Historians estimate the number of these people at 25,000.

The victims have no such memorial either in Russia or any other post-Soviet republic, the Foreign Ministry wrote within its proposal supporting the project.

It proposed to build the monument on the site of the former labour camp of Spassk, Kazakhstan, where similar monuments have already been built by 24 other states including Finland, France and Slovakia.

“The Foreign Ministry considers the building of the monument a political gesture to show that [Prague] does not forget the victims of one of the most brutal totalitarian regimes in history,” it wrote.

Furthermore, the cabinet decided to donate 50,000 crowns to the reconstruction of the grave of Colonel Vitezslav Rosik, one of the significant personalities of the inter-war and post-war Czechoslovakia.

Rosik fought in World War One and then he served with the nascent Czechoslovak Air Force. At the outburst of World War Two, he joined the anti-Nazi resistance abroad and helped organise the Czechoslovak air force in France and later in Britain.

After the Communists seized power in Czechoslovakia in 1948, Rosik, as a former member of RAF, was released from the military. He left Czechoslovakia again. In 1949, he accepted the Ethiopian emperor’s invitation to become an adviser for the development of the Ethiopian air force.

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