The Romany Holocaust
Auschwitz - 2 August 2001.
This day, in the former Auschwitz I camp, the first exhibition worldwide
documenting the Romany holocaust opened at block 13.
After a commemorative ceremony at the
Romany memorial at Auschwitz II - Birkenau, the exhibition was inaugurated by
Holocaust survivor, Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, Romany
Auschwitz survivors, representatives of the German and Austrian governments,
ambassadors from Portugal, Greece etc.
No official representative of the Czech
Republic showed up: neither a member of the Czech government nor the ambassador
in Warsaw who preferred to go on holidays nor his deputy nor someone from the
consulate general in Katowice. This is a scandal given the fact that most of the
Romanies in Auschwitz came from the Czech lands, given the daily racism in
today´s Czech Republic with so many killed Romanies, and also given the fact,
that the Czech concentration camps constructed before the outbreak of WW II in
Bohemian Lety and in Moravian Hodonín u Kunštátu are everything but museums
today: one is used as a pig farm, the other as a recreation camp.
It has been also the Museum of
Romany Culture of Brno (Bratislavská 67, CZ-602 00 Brno, Czech Republic) which
furnished a lot of material to the exhibition.
One feels very sad, after returning from
Auschwitz. But one is also reminded that all the events dedicated in Vienna to
Leopold Hilsner, the last Jewish victim of a
blood libel accusation
were not considered by the Czech ambassador in Austria reason enough to join and
Also that, earlier in 2001, the Munich
trial with former Nazi criminal Malloth of the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp
was not attended by Czech diplomats in Germany.
In Prague, thanks to eminent journalists
and authors like Jirí Loewy, Jirí Franek, Pavel Tigrid or Ladislav Reznícek, the
Foreign Ministry and the Czech government have not succeeded so far to make this
intolerable behaviour of Czech diplomats and politicians forgotten. Although the
Prague government was "helped" by the British government who introduced, with
full knowledge of their Czech colleagues, so-called pre-clearance at Prague
Airport in mid-July, nothing else than discriminating measures against Romanies
prevent them to leave for the UK and ask for political asylum.
Asking leaders of the Czech Jewish
community to declare their solidarity with the persecuted Romanies, I didn´t get
any answer. Exactly as with Hilsner in Vienna: noone from the Czech Jewish
community attended any of the many events dedicated.
"Mourning becomes Elektra" ( O´Neill)
haGalil onLine 11-09-2001