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State signs contract on buying pig farm for CZK 450 million

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Prague, Nov 23 (CTK) – The Czech state signed on Thursday a purchasing contract with the AGPI firm, the owner of the pig farm in Lety, south Bohemia, situated at the site of the former WW2 camp for the Roma, for which it will pay 450.8 million crowns, including tax.

Moreover, the state plans to spend another 120 million crowns on the clean-up of the area and other adjustments of the complex, Deputy Culture Minister Rene Schreier told CTK.

The contract was singed in Prague by Roma Culture Museum director Jana Horvathova and AGPI board chairman Jan Cech, while Culture Minster Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) singed a clause of approval on behalf of the state.

The pig farm operation is to shut down by the spring.

A dignified memorial is to be built at the site within a few years.

After signing the contract, the company shareholders must yet give consent to the purchase at a general meeting to be held on December 4.

The draft resolution of the general meeting says the contract of purchase will take effect on February 15, 2018 and the due date is October 31, 2018 at the latest.

The outgoing government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) approved the purchase of the pig farm in August and declassified the contract in October.

Cenek Ruzicka, head of the Czech committee for the compensation of the Roma Holocaust, thanked the government for resolving the long-term problem on behalf of the Roma Holocaust victims on Thursday.

Roma organisations were striving for the pig farm’s relocation for years. The European Parliament (EP) as well as other international organisations called on the Czech Republic repeatedly to remove the farm from the commemorative site.

Several Czech governments dealt with the problems for decades, but in vain.

AGPI originally preferred an exchange for another another pig farm elsewhere, but it agreed with a financial compensation this year. The land on which the farm is built belongs to the state.

The construction of the Lety pig farm started under the communist regime in 1972. The current complex on a 7.1-hectare includes 13 halls with 13,000 pigs in total. The firm installed new technologies in a half of the halls in 2013-2015.

The 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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