A dignified memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti in Bohemia is finally nearing completion. On Monday survivors, activists and politicians symbolically planted the first trees in a forest in Lety that will symbolize the lost Roma community. The memorial will open to the public on February 3, 2024.
The history of the Lety concentration camp – a World War II internment camp for Romani people from Bohemia and Moravia during the Nazi occupation is one of the most shameful and neglected chapters of the country’s 20th century history.
Over 1,300 prisoners were interned in the camp during the occupation. Over 300 people died in the camp, over 240 of them children. More than 800 Roma were deported from Lety to Auschwitz, where almost all were gassed.
After the war, the memory of the genocide of the Sinti and Roma was for the most part repressed in Czechoslovakia. The community of Czech Romanies was almost entirely annihilated and the newcomers from Slovakia and Romania, who settled here after the war, had no knowledge of this tragedy. During the 1970s, the communists built a large pig farm on the site of the Lety camp.
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Author: Daniela Lazarová, Sources: ČTK,Český rozhlas