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Minister: Roma Holocaust memorial site to replace pig farm

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Brno, Aug 24 (CTK) – A memorial site is to be built instead of the pig farm situated on the grounds of the former Nazi camp for the Roma in Lety, south Bohemia, Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman said during a discussion in the Romani Culture Museum in Brno on Thursday.

The Czech state is to buy the pig farm from its owner, the AGPI company, and pull down the farm.

Herman said the Czech state is to sign the purchase contract for the farm in mid-September.

The price is to be released only after the signing, he said.

Herman said the sums mentioned by media were far from true.

Czech media mostly speculated that the state would pay hundreds of millions of crowns for the Lety pig farm.

After the demolition of the pig farm, an archaeological survey and the construction of a memorial of the Roma Holocaust will follow, Herman said. The memorial’s design is likely to be known in a year, he added.

Herman said the memorial may be similar to those built in Terezin or Dachau.

Next spring, the pig farm is to stop operating.

The Czech government approved the purchase of the pig farm on August 21. The step has been discussed for two decades and international organisations called on the Czech Republic to remove the pig farm from Lety.

Historian Dusan Slacka, from the Romani Culture Museum, said the camp in Lety was set up in 1938, but it function changed several times. About 1300 Roma, including children and old people, were interned in it from August 1942 to August 1943.

Slacka said the people in the camp were forced to work hard in a quarry and the sanitary conditions were bad because the camp projected for 300 people was overcrowded. More than 300 Roma people died in the camp, others ended up in the Oswiecim camp and some were released after the camp was demolished in 1943.

According to estimates, the Nazis exterminated 90 percent of Czech Roma.

After World War Two, a small memorial with a cross was built by the families of the victims. The pig farm was constructed on the site in the 1970s.

Internment camps for Roma operated in Lety and Hodonin u Kunstatu, south Moravia. In Hodonin, a permanent exhibition on the Czech Roma Holocaust is to open.

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