Roma memorial unveiled on former Nazi concentration camp site in Czech Republic

(23 Apr 2024)

Lety, near Pisek, Czech Republic – 23 April 2024
1. Candles on new memorial next to names to keep people from stepping on them
2. Close-up candles
3. Sign warning visitors
4. Petr Pavel, President of Czechia, and Petr Fiala, PM of Czechia, sitting and waiting for the start of the ceremonial
5. SOUNDBITE (Czech) Petr Pavel, President of Czechia:
"The existence of Romani victims under the Nazi regime has long been neglected by Czech society, also as a result of the attitude of the former communist regime. Instead of building a dignified memorial site, the authority built a large-scale pig farm here, making clear its attitude towards the human tragedies that occurred here."
6. Crowd listening to speeches
7. Man reading speech in English
8. Close-up paper with the speech transcript
9. SOUNDBITE (Czech) Petr Pavel, President of Czechia:
"This place will remind us of the acts against humanity that took place here. At the same time, it will be a memento for future generations so that we never allow such horrors to happen again. It will remind us that we must protect fundamental human values at all times and for all without any exception."
10. Massive concrete walls around new memorial
11. People passing walls
12. Monument with papers to allow visitors to express their feelings
13. Building of old pig farm
14. Close-up number of blocks
15. Various of old pig farm
16. SOUNDBITE (Czech), Petr Fiala, PM of Czechia:
"We must frankly admit that it all took too long. The transformation of this place was already discussed 30 years ago, and the country had been waiting too long to buy the land. The memorial should have been here much sooner. It was partly because the Romani Holocaust was not mentioned very much. It was not something that existed as strongly in historical memory as the Jewish Holocaust."
17. Trio performing
18. Close-up violin player
19. End of ceremony, president and other guests leaving
A new Roma memorial was unveiled on Tuesday in the Czech Republic on the site of a former Nazi concentration camp.

The official opening capped a process that took decades and was made possible after a Czech government agreed to remove a communist-era pig farm from the site.

“It’s a very positive news for me that the whole project was completed,” said Jana Horvathova, the director of the Museum of Romani Culture, whose organisation is in charge of the memorial.

Roma and human rights activists had long demanded the removal of the farm from Lety, 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Prague, where some 1,300 Czech Roma were sent between August 1942 and August 1943 during the Nazi occupation of what was then Czechoslovakia in World War II.

At least 335 people died there, according to the latest research, the museum said, while most others were taken to the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp.

“Most of all, we’re here not to forget because to remember the horrors of the past is the best protection against living though them again,” Prime Minister Petr Fiala said at an opening ceremony that he attended together with President Petr Pavel.

The government acquired the farm, which had some 13,000 pigs and was established in the 1970s, in 2018 from a private owner for some 450 Czech crowns. Previous governments failed to do it, citing a lack of funding.

After an archaeological research of the site, the pig farm was demolished in 2022 before the memorial was built there. It includes the records of memories of survivors and the details from the effort to remove the pig farm.

Video shot for AP by Stanislav Hodina

Find out more about AP Archive:
Facebook: ​​

You can license this story through AP Archive:

Author: admin