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Exhibition in Auschwitz:
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 attend.

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


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