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On May 13, in Lety u Písku we remember the sacrifices of the Gypsy holocaust during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.

The concentration camps in Lety near Písek and Hodonín u Kunštátu were the height of anti-Gypsy policies of prewar Czechoslovakia, whose parliament had, in 1927, voted in the so-called Gypsy abatement of nuisance legislation (Law 117: the “Law on Wandering Gypsies”). 

This legislation enabled the creation of special records concerning Gypsies and the setting up of special Gypsy identification and, before the war, measures were accepted and realized which led to the forced concentration of Gypsies.

Following the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Nazi army and the setting up of protectorates for Bohemia and Moravia, the Nazis had at their disposal a completely prepared list of Gypsies with their entire families.

The Czech protectorate offices cooperated with the Nazi authorities when resolving such Gypsy issues as the setting up and administration of concentration Gypsy camps in Lety u Písku and Hodonín u Kunštátu.

Those who had survived the concentration camps were eventually deported to the extermination camp of Auschwitz. From a total of around 6,000 Gypsies living on protectorate territory, only a handful had survived - some few hundred persons.

After the Second World War, nothing was spoken about the existence of Gypsy concentration camps and the fate of Gypsies in this country. After the succession of the communist regime, the entire matter of Gypsies and Gypsy concentration camps became a closed issue and the communists adopted forced Gypsy assimilation.

In the 1970s, large scale pig farms were built on the former Gypsy concentration camps and, during the first half of the 1990s, they were privatized, even though the government at that time new that these pig farms were built on the former concentration camps, as such defiling all the victims and survivors of the holocaust.

The pig farm standing at the site of the former WWII-era concentration camp for Romani people at Lety, Czech Republic. (PHOTO: ROMEA Archive)The pig farm standing at the site of the former WWII-era concentration camp for Romani people at Lety, Czech Republic. (PHOTO: ROMEA Archive)

The approach and stand taken by the authorities to this matter is not acceptable to Gypsies living here or abroad and we expect the same response to the present state in Lety u Písku and Hodonín u Kunštátu by the European Union considering that, following Czech's entry into the union, this embarrassing affair now exists within the union's boundaries.

We are convinced that this ethical matter must be resolved, for which reason, your excellency, I am referring through you to your government and your people for the moral support of Gypsies in the Czech Republic to remove the pig farms from these locations of suffering of our brothers and sisters during the Nazi holocaust.

We want the tragic past of our ancestors to be concluded and that all victims of the holocaust be given their due respect. This is our obligation not only to all holocaust victims but also to those who have survived the holocaust and all surviving generations.

The violation of Gypsy victims of the holocausts in Lety u Písku and Hodonin u Kanstat is condemnable, not only from a moral and ethical point of view, but must also be considered in international legislation governing human rights of minorities.

The existing situation in Lety and Hodonin stands against the post-war efforts of civilized nations to condemn and bring to justice those crimes committed by the Nazis against innocent and defenseless human beings of various nationalities and origins.

It is unthinkable to believe that a civilized world would allow the Polish state to set up a large scale pig farm on the Auschwitz concentration camp in the same manner as has been done here. The number of victims of the Auschwitz and Lety concentration camps is not the issue.

The point is that human beings died in these camps out of the racial hatred of Nazi madmen, for which reason everything should be done to remove these pig farms from Lety u Písku and to stop the flow of pig stalls which are vilifying deceased and living Gypsies alike by polluting in this manner these locations of Gypsy holocaust victims.

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