Pondělí 22/4/2013

Czech Roma Holocaust

Antifa.cz invites you to an afternoon discussion about the Czech Roma Holocaust. The event takes place on Sunday, April 28th, from 16:00 at club Pilot in Vršovice. You can look forward to the Czech premiere of the 2011 documentary "A People Uncounted". Afterwards join in a lecture and discussion of the Roma Holocaust with American historian Paul Polanski. He will discuss the realities of the labor camp in Lety near Pisek, The Czech nazis and their post-war impunity. The event is part of the "Action Days 2013."

We are calmly watching the current hysteria around the passionate struggle over the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, or more precisely the question of who and how which will write the history of the former regime. What frustrates us is the fact that the topic of the Roma Holocaust in Europe fails to bring out an equal amount of passion in others, and most likely never did. In Lety near Pisek, the location of the labor camp "for persons of Gypsy origin", which was managed in particularly by "persons of Czech and not German descent " still stands as a pig farm. The Roma ethno-elite and human rights activists say it should be "immediately demolished". A variety of Roma from segregated localities speak of "pork, provided free of charge to the poor Roma." What does the Czech state, the Czech elite, or the "common Czech" say? Nothing. They don't care. All that is shown is apathy, indifference, ignorance, and a lack of passion. If it is forgotten, it is as if it never happened. The phenomenon of Czech Nazism is long forgotten. The Silence in the historical relationship of the Czech state and Czech speaking citizens towards the Roma during the second world war is in high contrast with the current bursts of passion towards the Roma during the trials of pogroms and demonstrations for decency, or in general, Czech anti-gypsyism. It has taken less than 70 years for people to repeat such slogans as " Gypsies to the Gas".

When we were still in school, we had pushed into our heads the official ideological version of the the second world war, validated by the Benes Decrees, in which people were divided into two categories, the guilty Germans and the innocent victims - the Czechs. We could not understand it - partially because of collaboration, but especially due to partisan anti-fascism. We think that it would be good to now approach the second world war not through a nationalistic viewpoint of a " guilty German vs. an innocent Czech " but through the lens of "fascist vs. antifascist".

We reject the ideological construction of innocence of Czechs, which is confirmed by the Benes Decrees and the pig farm in Lety. As a result of this construction, topics like ; the Roma Holocaust, labor camps, active collaboration of Czechs in the liquidation "of people of Gypsy origin" and Czech fascism and Nazism, are fading away. We believe that if the pig farm was destroyed and turned into a memorial, the innocence of the Czech people involved would sooner of later be challenged. At the present time, the pig farm pays tribute to the myth of Czech innocence, and not to the Czech Roma Holocaust.

Where there is a lack of knowledge, the door for prejudice, ignorance and repetition of mistakes, opens for history to repeat itself. Therefore, we invite you to an afternoon discussion about the "Czech Roma Holocaust". The event takes place on Sunday, April 28th, from 16:00 at club Pilot in Vršovice. After a brief introductory speech, you can enjoy the Czech premiere of the well known 2011 Canadian documentary film "A People Uncounted", about the Roma, Holocaust and contemporary racism. After the movie will be a lecture by American historian, journalist and poet Paul Polansky, who from 1993 to 1999 conducted research in the Czech Republic about the camp in Lety near Pisek and Czech collaboration and their post-war impunity. He also recorded interviews with dozens of survivors. Based on their findings he has written several books - including a novel from 1999 titled Storm and the 1998 book, the Uneasy Silence. For many in the Czech Republic he became persona non grata, but is now returning thanks to our invitation. We hope the lecture, scheduled for 17.30, will be accompanied by a fruitful discussion.