| The Committee for the Redress of
the Roma Holocaust in the Czech Republic
represents the interests of the surviving victims of Nazism (especially
former concentration camp prisoners) and the surviving relatives of the
victims in the Czech Republic. Alongside many other activities, the
Committee strives to see the victims compensated and to see the
correction of the property injustices that were caused to Roma and
Sinti people. Since its establishment in 1998, the Committee has fought
to see the sites of the former concentration camps at Hodonín u
Kunštátu and Lety u Písku
in the Czech Republic become dignified memorials to the suffering of
Romani people in Germany’s Nazi-era Protectorate of Bohemia
Moravia (called the Protektorát Čechy a Morava / Protektorat
Böhmen und Mähren).
The Committee initiates conferences, information campaigns and
seminars. One of the association’s important aims is to
the public, including Romani people, of the suffering of Romani and
Sinti people during the Nazi era, as well as to discuss what acceptable
models of interethnic behavior are with those living in socially
excluded localities. Another aim of the work of the Committee
to contributing to settling and stabilizing relations between non-Roma
and so that they become acceptable to both.
More detailed information about the breadth and extent of the
Committee’s activities are in the sections Projects and Contacts.
several documents related to the activity of the VPORH
Letter to Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
Ing. Bohuslav Sobotka
Prime Minister, Government of the Czech Republic
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
we are a properly registered organization in the Czech Republic
representing the interests of the Romani former prisoners in the Nazi
concentration camps and their surviving relatives since 1998.
The members of our organization, who are Roma and Sinti who experienced
the death of most of their loved ones during the Second World War,
togther with those who have signed the letter below, express their deep
concern and outrage over the fact that for decades the site of the
former concentration camp for Romani People at Lety u Písku
been desecrated by the operation of an industrial pig farm.
The stench of the pig excrement from the farm makes it impossible for
the victims of the camp buried near the farm to be honored with
dignity. We consider both facts to be a gross insult, not just to the
relatives of the victims and the victims themselves, but to the Romani
nation as a whole.
International treaties, together with their additional Protocols,
oblige the Czech Republic to preserve, in a dignified state,
significant locations where the victims of Nazism suffered. The site of
the Lety concentration camp, where 326 victims perished, including 241
children, during the Nazi era in inhumane conditions is considered a
significant place of suffering of the victims of Nazism by the European
Parliament and many leading world figures. This is documented by two
resolutions of the European Parliament, one from 2005 and one from
2008, and also by statements made by many world-famous figures such as
Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass and Simon Wiesenthal. Human
Commissioner for the Council of Europe Thomas Hammarberg also asked the
Czech Republic to remove the farm in his assessment report of the human
rights situation in the country.
In one of the EP resolutions concerning the European Roma, it is
recalled that “The Roma Holocaust (Porajmos) and the gravity
the crimes of Nazism, which aimed to annihilate Romani people in
Europe, deserve full recognition, and the EP calls on the Commission
and relevant bodies to take all necessary steps to remove the
industrial pig farm from the site of the former concentration camp at
Lety u Písku and for an appropriate memorial to be built
Permit us to recall that of the 6 500 indigenous Czech Roma and Sinti
living on the territory of the Protectorate, roughly 650 survived their
suffering in the concentration camps. A total of 326 Roma and Sinti
perished at the Lety camp, 241 of them children.
During the postwar years, nobody was ever convicted and punished for
the crimes committed at the Hodonín camp (a similar camp for
Moravian Roma) or at the Lety camp. One trial took place with the
former commander of the Lety camp, Josef Janovský. In 1948,
court acquitted him. None of the other persons responsible for the
criminal deaths of hundreds of people were ever tried.
Concentration camp survivors and their relatives disagree with the
allegations made by previous Czech Governments that removing the pig
farm is a significantly difficult matter both economically and
socially. Precisely the opposite is the case: We are convinced
that because society is aware of the relationship between the
Protectorate and our people, our proposal for a way to address removing
this degrading building from the site of the former concentration camp
would be welcomed by society with relief and thanks, as recently
happened in the case of the closure of the recreation center at a
similar site in Hodonín
We remind you that the intention to remove the industrial pig farm
standing on the site of the former concentration camp has been declared
not just by the Program Declaration of the
cabinet in 1998. A similar intention was also expressed by a resolution
of the Zeman cabinet, and particularly by a resolution of
Špidla’s cabinet in 2002. The demand to close
farm, last but not least, is also a part of the program documents of
your Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD).
Mr. Prime Minister,
the surviving relatives of the victims know a feasible way to redress
this. Should you decide to seriously address this problem, I am willing
to visit you together with other surviving relatives to present our
ideas for resolving this.
On behalf of the survivors, the victims’ relatives, and the
organizations listed below:
Dáša Šubrtová, Antonie
Šubrtová, František Šubrt,
Steinová, Jan Stein, Jan Růžička, Antonín
Filomena Růžičková, Anna Richtrová, Rudolf
Berousek, Karel Berousek, Hana Berousková, Anna
Jan Peha, Jan Růžička, Hana Nová, Libuše
Anna Pehová, Jana Kokyová, Marie
Miroslav Daniš, Josef Berousek, Jan Hauer, Čeněk Růžička,
Růžička ml., Pavel Růžička, Zoja Růžičková,
Růžičková, František Janďourek,
Vrbová, Jan Růžička, Marie Růžičková,
Vrba, Antonín Hauer, Marie Hauerová, Karel
Serynek, Antonie Burianská.
Forum CZ, o.s., Strana rovných
aven jekhetane, o.s, SRNMPK, o.s., Khamoro, o.s., Euroroma
Part of this request includes a signature page with the names of the
persons who identify with the text of this request which will be sent
to you separately.
In Hořice, 14 March 2014
on behalf of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust in the
Czech Republic (VPORH v ČR).
Čeněk Růžička, chair
We are also sending a similar request to the Czech Minister
Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation, Mr Jiří
Dienstbier, and to the Czech Culture Minister, Mr Daniel Herman.
Report of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust in the
Czech Republic for 2014 (pdf).
The President of the Committee for the Redress of the Romani Holocaust
in the Czech Republic, Čeněk Růžička, and a representative of the
Central Council of German Sinti and Roma Romani Rose.
Closing words at the plenary
session of the Conference on the Fate of Holocaust Victims’
Assets, 29 June 2009
Růžička, president of VPORH
Esteemed Holocaust survivors,
Esteemed Mr Chair,
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am glad I have been given the opportunity to speak at this closing
plenary session. You will not find my name listed in the original
program of this afternoon session, but I am glad the organizers of this
conference have ultimately decided to make room for a Romani community
representative here as well.
In just a couple of hours, the Terezín Declaration will be
adopted. Some believe this document is inadequate, others consider it
the maximum possible. I would like to point out to you, however, that
what Terezín symbolizes for Czech Jews is the same thing
symbolized for our Roma and Sinti by the former so-called
camps” at Hodonín and Lety. While at
creation of a European institution will be announced tomorrow, at the
site of the former campa at Lety, where our forebears died, an
industrial pig farm remains.
Just one-tenth of the Bohemian and Moravian Roma and Sinti who were
imprisoned in the concentration camps survived. Despite that fact, we
are still struggling for the public to acknowledge and comprehend that
the Romani population was subjected to genocide during the war in
Central Europe. It is a fact that this has been forgotten in many
respects, even during the preparation of this significant conference.
No Romani organizations are represented on its organizing committee,
and our representatives were not invited to its working groups. The
fate of our forebears is comparable to that of the fate of the Jews,
however. The “Gypsy Camp” at Auschwitz was adjacent
“Jewish Family Camp”. Our vehicles, family jewelry,
livestock and pets, and our homes were also confiscated and sold, and
the money made financed our destruction. I hope this conference will
contribute to raising questions of property damage. The Government has
not yet managed to respond to the letter we sent on this issue in
February of this year.
It is a great shame that Romani Rose was not able to speak here on
behalf of the Central Council of German Roma and Sinti.
His work has gained international recognition over the decades, but he
was not involved in the preparations of this conference. However, I
would like to repeat the appeal he made on Friday.
The Terezín Declaration should not be silent about the
situation at Letyech, where for more than 35 years a pig farm has stood
on the place where our forebears died. The delcaration should focus on
places of Romani suffering and name them too!!!
At a time when the activities of neo-Nazis are again growing in Europe,
it is, in my opinion, important for the property and restitution
questions not to cover up the main reason we are here.
of people who lost their lives under drastic conditions as a
consequence of monstrous racial theories oblige us to join the fight
for human rights so the message of our forebears’ suffering
contribute to a better society.
Thank you for your attention.
Feedback from the media
Czech Radio - Radio Praha.