„In the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic, a pig processing plant has operated for decades on the site of the former World War II Lety camp for Roma and Sinti*. Most of Čeněk Růžička’s family members died at the camp, where more than 1,300 Roma were forced by Czech police to live and work. At least 326 died there, many of them children, while hundreds of others transported from Lety to Auschwitz were also killed.
Every year in May, Růžička, the director of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust, organizes family members and survivors to join together at a former burial ground to honor the victims. They say the pig plant’s existence on the former site of the camp desecrates the memory of those who suffered at Lety, and it threatens to erase from public memory the often forgotten persecution of Roma during the Holocaust. In recent years, the United Nations Human Rights Committee and members of the European Parliament have joined survivors, family members and human rights activists in calling for the removal of the pig processing plant. Still, the Czech government will not force the plant’s relocation or pay for it to move.
Young Roma and human rights activists stage frequent blockades and protests in front of the plant, which they say has become a symbol for the ongoing exclusion of Roma in the Czech Republic. But many believe the government’s position won’t change until citizens are willing to reexamine and confront Czechs’ role during the dark chapter in history.
*Some Central European Roma self-identify as Sinti, based on their unique traditions and dialect.
Senior Producer: Kelly Whalen
Producer: Renata Berkyová
Associate Producers: Adéla Zicháčková, Chantale Glover
Michael_a von der Recherchegruppe Maulwurf