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Czech state not to pay for Roma Holocaust memorial in Lety

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Lety, South Bohemia, April 25 (CTK) – The Czech state will not pay for the Roma Holocaust memorial that will be built at the site of a former pig farm in Lety where the Nazis operated an internment camp for the Roma in the early 1940s, Deputy Culture Minister Rene Schreier told a discussion meeting in Lety on Wednesday.

The state will cover the costs of the demolition of the pig farm, including the removal of environmental damage and remediation, Schreier said.

The demolition costs are estimated at 117 million crowns.

Schreier confirmed that the Roma Holocaust memorial would be built for a financial contribution from the Norway Grants.

Norway plans to give one million euros for the memorial, which is about 25 million crowns.

The Czech state recently bought the farm from its owner for 450 million crowns. The purchase contract was signed last autumn and the owner handed the premises of the vacated pig farm three weeks ago. The future memorial is to be administered by the Museum of Roma Culture seated in Brno.

The pig farm was originally to be demolished by the end of the year, but the museum’s director Jana Horvathova said on Wednesday that it was likely to start only next year, possibly in the spring.

Horvathova said it turned out that the demolition would be more demanding than they expected.

Archaeologist Pavel Vareka who is working on the site said the remains of the camp seemed to be well preserved.

Only a fraction of the area of the camp has been uncovered so far, however. A two-month archaeological survey costing 1.5 million crowns will start in May.

Vareka said it was revealed that the camp wooden buildings had been set on fire, which was surprising because historical sources presented a different picture of the camp’s liquidation.

In reaction to a question from the audience, Vareka said most of the former camp was situated on the premises of the pig farm. About one fourth of the camp was located on the site of the farm buildings, he said.

Horvathova said the museum is strongly interested in cooperating with the Lety locals and engage the village into the planning of a new memorial.

The museum wants to set the criteria for a tender for the design of the future memorial.

Horvathova said a part of the former pig farm could be preserved.

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