Over 80 MEPs have signed an appeal for the European Commission to secure
the removal of a pig farm at Lety, south Bohemia, built on the site of a
former Romany concentration camp. In a letter to the President of the
European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, its signatories point out that the
Czech Republic failed to resolve the shameful problem in three decades and
action is long overdue. Several Czech governments pledged to remove the pig
farm from Lety, but failed to find money for a buyout.
Czech Minister for Human rights Jiří Dienstbier, said Monday that the
government would prefer a buyout of a pig farm standing on the site of a
camp at which Roma were interned during the second world war before
hundreds were sent onto death camps in the east. Many also died at the camp
due to illness and poor conditions. The farm owners also indicated their
willingness to discuss a sale.
A twenty-year-long futile drive to buyout a pig farm standing on the site
of the former Roma concentration camp in Lety, south Bohemia has received
fresh impetus from an unlikely quarter. ANO leader Andrej Babiš who last
week insulted the memory of the hundreds of Romanies who died there in
inhumane conditions or were sent to their death in Auschwitz, has pledged
to visit the site, bow to their memory and find the money needed to buyout
the farm and build a dignified memorial.
The Gypsy MaMa fashion brand is the work of a Czech NGO which has been very
active in helping to improve the living conditions of several thousand
Romanies living in one of the country’s biggest socially excluded areas
known as the Brno “Bronx”. Gypsy MaMa was established to help young
Romanies get a foothold on the labour market by harnessing their creative
potential and giving them work experience.
Some 60 Roma children from socially excluded localities in the Czech
Republic and Slovakia, along with members of the Czech Philharmonic, are
taking part in the ‘Romano Drom’ music and dance workshop in North
Bohemia. The aim of the summer school, organised annually by musician and
choir mistress Ida Kelarová, is to support children and youth at risk of
social exclusion. The two-week school will culminate with a series of
performances, starting on Tuesday night in Nový Bor.
Czech Roma who survived the holocaust during WWII will be entitled to a
payment of 2500 euros according to the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A
spokeswoman for the ministry said that the payment would affect between 10
and 15 people. The payment follows long negotiations between the foreign
ministries of the Czech Republic and Germany and has been welcomed by the
Czech committee for the compensation of Roma holocaust victims.
Germany is to pay compensation to remaining elderly victims of the Roma
Holocaust who suffered during WWII in concentration camps such as Lety or
the death camp Auschwitz. Each will receive a one-off payment of around
2,560 euros in the coming months. The agreement was reached with the help
of the Czech Foreign Ministry and former special envoy on Holocaust issues,
Jiří Šitler (now the Czech ambassador to Stockholm).
Up to 115,000 poor people are living in 600 ghettos around the Czech
Republic, according to human rights minister Jiří Dienstbier. The
cabinet has just backed his plans to help such people – many from the
Roma minority – by redirecting part of their housing benefits away from
often unscrupulous landlords and toward improving their homes and paying