The Memorial to the Holocaust of Roma and Sinti will be opened. Its partner is also UWB

University Science Public

The construction of the memorial was preceded by thorough research led by the Department of Archaeology at the Faculty of Arts of the University of West Bohemia, which provided detailed information about the former concentration camp.
On Sunday, May 12th, the public will have the first opportunity to visit the Memorial to the Holocaust of Roma and Sinti in Bohemia, which was established on the site of the Second World War concentration camp in Lety near Písek. On Tuesday, April 23rd, a final press conference on this project was held.

The site, where a pig farm stood since the 1970s, was examined by teams from the Department of Archaeology at the Faculty of Arts of the University of West Bohemia, with the research also involving the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and the New Technologies Research Center. Archaeologists, along with the Museum of Romani Culture, obtained detailed information about the location and layout of the camp, the architectural form of individual parts, and their developmental changes. A significant collection of artifacts provided insights into the conditions of the prisoners' lives and allowed for the reconstruction of the camp's operation. Thanks to the research, an unknown location of the victims' cemetery was also discovered. Unique finds, including clothing, footwear, and personal items, were uncovered during the excavation.

At the beginning of last year, the research was summarized in the publication "Testimony of Archaeology about the so-called Gypsy Camp in Lety."

"We are opening a memorial, the construction of which was entrusted to the Museum of Romani Culture by a resolution of the government from 2017. The Museum took over the cultural heritage of Lety and the former large-capacity pig farm in 2018. We were tasked with conducting archaeological research first, which took place from 2019 to 2020, followed by the demolition of the pig farm in 2022," summarized Jana Horváthová, the director of the Museum of Romani Culture. "With this, the Museum is opening its second branch, after the Hodonín u Kunštátu branch - the Memorial to the Holocaust of Roma and Sinti in Moravia," she added.

The construction of the memorial in Lety was financially supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, as well as by the Czech state through the Ministry of Culture and the Embassy of Germany in Prague. "The Czech partners are the municipality of Lety and the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen," said Karolina Spielmannová, spokesperson for the Museum of Romani Culture, adding that the idea of the memorial "is to commemorate the memory of the imprisoned directly at the site of suffering, to inform and educate about the events before and during World War II and the impact of the Nazi genocide on Romani communities in the Czech lands."

Co-author of the memorial Anna Míšková added that it contains two exhibitions. The one inside the visitor center is called "Memory of Place and Place of Memory." "It deals with the events that took place at this site, but also the symbolism that this place carries. It guides visitors through the pre-war period and World War II with an emphasis on the operation of the so-called Gypsy camp in Lety near Písek, to the post-war trauma resolution and, of course, to the struggle to remove the pig farm," the spokesperson said.

The outdoor exhibition "Trail of Memory" will be accessible continuously. "Thanks to it, visitors can hear the voices of survivors and walk around the circle with the names of all registered prisoners to the emergency cemetery, where a new cross has been erected," she described.

The Memorial to the Holocaust of Roma and Sinti in Bohemia will be open to the public for the first time on Sunday, May 12, 2024 - the same day when a traditional memorial service to honor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust of Roma and Sinti will take place at the emergency cemetery in the immediate vicinity of the Memorial. Visitors to the memorial service will have the opportunity to tour the memorial area, including both of its exhibitions.



Pavel Korelus (translated by ChatGPT)

23. 04. 2024