Info-Tour in March 2015

From 17th to 28th of March the civic organization Konexe (CZ) and friends will have a journey through several cities in Germany to inform about the current situation of Romani people in Czech Republic and the “Free Lety Movement”.

The events will take place:plakat_infotour

  • Döbeln

Tue, 17 March, 19:00 pm
Treibhaus e.V., Café Courage, Bahnhofstraße 56

  • Leipzig

Wed, 18 March, 19:00 pm
Lipinski-Forum, Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 19/21
same time in this place: exhibition History, genocide and the presence of Roma and Sinti in Bohemia and Moravia (16.-27.03.2015)
cooperation: Romano Sumnal und ecoleusti

  • Halle/Saale

Thu, 19 March, 19:00 pm
Reilstrasse 78
cooperation: Miteinander e.V.

  • Heidelberg

Fri, 20 March, 19:00 pm
Heidelberger Kunstverein, Hauptstraße 97

  • Frankfurt/Main

Sat, 21 March, 16:15 pm
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Campus Westend, Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1, IG-Farben Haus, Raum 254
cooperation: Förderverein Roma e.V., Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste Frankfurt/M. und das Fritz-Bauer-Institut

  • Dortmund

Sun, 22 March, 19:30 pm
Nordpøl, Münsterstr. 99

  • Düsseldorf

Tue, 24 March, 19:00 pm
V6 , Vollmerswertherstr. 6
cooperation: Ternodrom e.V.

  • Duisburg

Wed, 25 March, 19:00 pm
SJD Die Falken Duisburg, Düsseldorfer Str. 399

  • Hamburg

Thu, 26 March, 19:00 pm
Rom und Cinti Union (RCU e.V.), Rellingerstrasse 23

  • Berlin

Fri, 27 March, 19:00 pm
Infoladen der Naturfreundejugend Berlin, Weichselstraße 14, Neukölln (low barrier)
cooperation: Amaro Foro e.V.

All lectures will be in english. If any other translation is needed please contact: solidarity_not_charity(at)riseup.net

The journey is sponsored by: Anne-Frank-Foundation (Belgium) and private supporters.
If like to be a part, you can donate here.

All Victims of Holocaust deserve dignity

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January 1945, closely following the liquidation of the “Zigeunerlager” (“Gypsy-Camp”) on 2 August 1944, when 2,897 elderly people, women and children, all of them the remaining Sinti and Roma in the so-called “Gypsy-Camp” at Auschwitz-Birkenau, were murdered in the gas chambers there. This was the climax of the Final Solution of the Gypsy Question. The Nazis intended to exterminate the Roma completely. Those lessons from the Holocaust have not been fully transposed into the general knowledge of the people in our societies.

Civil society organizations (named bellow) are strongly concerned about the rooted anti-Gypsyism in Europe and its manifestation in the general lack of involvement of Roma in the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Despite the pressure, and about 2000 signatures on the petition to UN officials to “take immediate action to include Romani speakers in the official commemoration of the Holocaust at the UN”, there is once again no Romani speaker at the official United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony in New York on the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Similarly, Romani victims have been neglected at the Czech Holocaust commemoration that will be attended by 30 heads of national legislatures from around the world as well as 500 additional quests.

read more at akana.cc…

movie: Revitalization of the Holocaust

original: “Revitalizace holokaustu”, 2014
A short movie about the history of concentration camp of Lety with Paul Polansky

length: 7:12 min, english with czech subtitles
produced by , camera: Ondřej Vlk, cut: Tereza Reichová, co-author: Hynek Trojánek, animation: 12092014, music and sounds: krradesh, narration: Marek Eisler, translation: Alžběta Glancová, Jiří Richter

Open Letter

From the Konexe civic association to the citizens and institutions of Europe

Dear Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission, citizens of Europe,

We are writing to you about a matter of great seriousness.

The situation of Romani people in the Czech Republic is critical. According to the results of all public opinion polls on this issue, the majority of our country is so saddled with strongly anti-Romani prejudices and sharply anti-Romani attitudes that antigypsyism has become a mainstream opinion here. Romani people are discriminated against in housing, on the labor market, and in other areas of their lives. The Czech school system is segregated.

Romani people in the Czech Republic are facing racially-motivated attacks and violence. During the past few years, Romani communities have been targeted by hateful anti-Romani demonstrations and marches which often become violent and have grown into attempted pogroms on more than one occasion. Not only do the followers of neo-Nazi, ultra-right movements join these demonstrations, but so-called ordinary citizens get involved in them as well. Antigypsyists espousng anti-Romani hatred can be found in every single Czech political party, from the left to the right, and politicians strive to win the electoral support of the majority of voters who are antigypsyist.
Continue reading

Hodonín and Lety functioned as concentration camps

by Jana Horváthová (director, Museum of Roma Culture, Czech Republic):

Tomio Okamura is mistaken and his ignorant remarks have done further damage to his already-tarnished image. I am not very surprised, since as an historian I encounter relatively well-educated people rather often who mix up the various phases in the life of the camps that were in operation during the time of the Protectorate.

The racialized, targeted action against “gypsies” during the Protectorate was well covered-up for a very long time and for a very clear reason:  So the entire action of the “final solution to the gypsy question” could take place as quietly as possible. From the start of the Protectorate until 1942, as a result of such a policy, actions against “the gypsy race” were included within the framework of the fight against so-called “asocials”.

On 10 August 1940 the so-called disciplinary labor camps were opened at Hodonín (Blansko district) and Lety (Písek district) on the basis of a regulation issued by the Second Czechoslovak Republic which the Government of the Protectorate then adopted through an amendment. These disciplinary labor camps (kárné pracovní tábory – KPTs) were intended for so-called “work-shy persons” who were unable to prove that they had a regular source of income.

read more on romea.cz…

A Battle for Roma History in the Czech Republic

There can be no more appropriate metaphor for Europe’s collective amnesia about the plight of Roma during the Holocaust than the Czech government’s inability to remove a pig farm situated on the site of a former concentration camp for Roma.

Visitors to the sleepy village of Lety in Southern Bohemia, upon seeing the industrial farm behind rusty barbed wire, often remark how sinister it looks. Between 1942–43, around 1,500 Roma were taken to Lety and, of those not deported, at least 300 were murdered, most of them children.

read more at opensocietyfoundations.org…

16 May 1944: Romani Resistance Day

It seems that the denial of genocide and the denial of racism are communicating vessels. An ethnic group whose genocide is denied continues to be targeted with racism.

Conversely, the recognition of genocide can start a healing process in society that can help it overcome racism. The Romani Holocaust, called the “porajmos” (destruction) in Romanes, is a part of history that is not only forgotten today, it is even denied.

We do not know much about this aspect of the Holocaust. There are just a few books about it, and very little historical research.

Be that as it may, some forgotten parts of the Romani Holocaust really deserve commemoration. Romani people did not always play the role of passive victims during that era.

What happened on 16 May 1944? In the extermination camp of Auschwitz II – Birkenau, section BIIe was called the “Gypsy Camp” (Zigeuner Lager).

read more at romea.cz…

Czech Treatment of Gypsies Spurs Heated Debate

Washington Post, October 4, 1999
By Peter Finn

LETY, Czech Republic—In early August 1942, the Czech police came for Bozena Ruzickova, then 18 years old and eight months pregnant. Along with her fiance, her brother and his wife, their two children, her grandmother and several uncles, she was bundled onto a truck and taken to a Czech-run camp for Gypsies here in southern Bohemia.

Only Ruzickova would survive. Her baby, Eva, would die in October, one month after birth. Some of her family would die at Lety; her fiance was guillotined in Prague for escaping from the camp. The rest of her relatives were transported to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland in 1943 and murdered.

An estimated 500,000 European Roma, as Gypsies prefer to be called, were killed by the Nazis during World War II, more than 7,000 of them from Czechoslovakia while the country was under German occupation. Allegations of Czech complicity in what Roma call “the Devouring” have circulated for decades in this country, but the true story of the Czech role is only now coming to light — and it is sparking angry debate.

read on at washingtonpost.com…