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Czech victims of totalitarian regimes to be identified

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Prague, June 15 (CTK) – The project Names to the Dead is to help identify the victims of totalitarian regimes in mass graves, the Czech Centre for the Documentation of Totalitarian Regimes (CDTR), which has unveiled it, said on Thursday.

The project was founded due to the insufficient activity of state institutions, the CDTR officials said.

It may uncover the remains of the Czechoslovak paratroopers who killed Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Acting Reich-Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, in 1942.

In the first stage, the project wants to create a list of the dead in the totalitarian era who were placed in unmarked graves and to collect the DNA samples from their relatives, forensic expert in the sphere of genetics Daniel Vanek said.

In its further stage, the project is to make an archaeological survey of the burial grounds, the collection of the remains, their anthropological examination and genetic identification, Vanek said.

The organisers finance the first stage of the project from their own sources, he added.

Mass burial grounds are located in Prague, Brno, Ostrava, north Moravia, and Valdice, east Bohemia.

The biggest is the cemetery in the Prague district of Dablice. Some 2,800 coffins are placed in joint graves. There are also the remains of the paratroopers who killed Heydrich.

Historian Ales Kyr said there were also 137 political prisoners who were executed or died during the Communist era at the Dablice cemetery.

In its report from last November, the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of Communist Crimes said due to the incomplete registration only a fraction of the remains of died political prisoners were found.

In the case of the Dablice cemetery, the exhumation of the persons in question is only possible if a sufficient number of the documents is found to uncover the places where the searched persons were buried.

The project is backed by a number of politicians, such as Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek and Culture Minister Daniel Herman (both Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) and presidential candidates Jiri Drahos, Michal Horacek and Marek Hilser.

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