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Lety genocide exhibit moves from Brussels to Prague, causes political action
28-06-2005 - VPORH

Exhibit of photographs in the foyer of the Czech Senate In April, 2005 an exhibit of photographs entitled "Lety - history of unmentioned genocide" initiated by Mr Milan Horá.ek, MEP for the Greens/EPA, was displayed in the European Parliament in Brussels. Its subject is the Romani concentration camp Lety u Písku (which was in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia) where during a few months in 1942-1943 hundreds of Roma were killed - most of them children.

On April 27th, 2005, the European Parliament called upon Czech authorities to remove the pig farm currently situated on this former camp site in Lety. This was appreciated by Cenek Ruzicka, president of the Committee for the Redress of the Romani Holocaust (VPORH), at the Annual Memorial Act at the victims' mass graves in Lety on May 13th, 2005. He commented on why the solution of the problem takes so long: "The point of view of the murderers is different from the one of the victims."

Exhibit of photographs in the foyer of the Czech Senate Reacting to the resolution of the European parliament, Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, told the Czech daily Lidové noviny on May 14th, 2005: "Of course many tragic things happened there. However, we understand that the victims of this camp primarily succumbed to an epidemic of spotted typhus, not due to what is traditionally understood as the fate of a concentration camp victim - at least according to what every child learns in school. Of course it is necessary to appropriately commemorate this place."

In response on the same day, Romani Rose, president of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma said in Prague: "President Václav Klaus is treating the crime of genocide which was committed against the Sinti and Roma during Nazism cynically and is distorting the historical fact that the Nazi system consisted precisely in creating conditions that lead to people dying, especially for children. Such a remark made concerning the Jewish victims of Nazism would provoke worldwide debate."

Exhibit of photographs in the foyer of the Czech Senate Jirí Paroubek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, said at the opening of the exhibit in the Czech Chamber of Deputies on June 6th, 2005 :"I think that Lety is a huge symbol of racism (...). Of course it is a very complicated thing after 65 years to speak about it, but I think the Czech nation has a certain debt to the past."

Lubomír Zaorálek, president of the in the Czech Chamber of Deputies, had opened the exhibit by claiming: "I think the debate about whether Lety was a concentration camp or not is over." Václav Havel, former state president of the Czech Republic, was the special guest of the opening. On June 14th, 2005, he sent a letter to Czech prime minister stating:"I would like to thank you for the support of the memorial at Lety by Písek which you expressed during the opening of the Lety exhibit at the Chamber of Deputies. Through such support, the Czech government might finally be able to truly and generously promote the development of a more thoroughly self-reflective catharsis of the Czech mentality than has so far developed here."

Exhibit of photographs in the foyer of the Czech Senate The Czech government has opened negotiations with the company AGPI, which runs the pig farm in Lety, in order to set the purchase price of the pig farm and enable the moving of the facilities. R..i.ka commented on these efforts: "There is a year left to the government before the next elections. Unless it will achieve an agreement with the owner of the pig farm by August 31 2005, we will not believe that there is a honest will to finally honour Romani victims of naziism."

The exhibit is currently being shown in the foyer of the Czech Senate (until July 4th, 2005).

Press release of the VPORH


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