Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust

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Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust
  • Version 1.0
  • Publication date 12 March 2024

The civic association ‘Výbor pro odškodnění romského holocaustu v České republice’ [Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust in the Czech Republic] was founded in 1998 in the Czech Republic by Romani former inmates of concentration camps and their relatives. The founder and chairman of the committee was Čeněk Růžička (1946–2022), a Czech Roma activist and son of survivors of the genocide of Roma and Sinti. His parents were interned in the Zigeunerlager Lety near Pisek, his father Jan Růžička (1917–unknown) in the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora and his mother Alžběta Růžičková (1924–unknown) in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp.

The Committee has persistently drawn public attention to the suffering of the Czech Roma and Sinti in the camps Lety near Pisek and Hodonin near Kunstadt and fought for the closure of the pig farm and recreational facility that operated on the sites. It also strives to win compensation for the victims of the National Socialist persecution of Roma and Sinti and redress for the property losses they suffered during World War II. The Committee initiates conferences, information campaigns, lectures, discussions, and educational seminars. Every year in May, the committee organises a commemorative ceremony at the site of the mass cemetery of the Lety near Pisek camp.

At the municipal cemetery in the nearby town of Mirovice, where some victims of the Lety camp are buried, the Committee placed a memorial plaque with the names of the deceased on 13 May 2000 and a memorial statue on 13 May 2002. In 2005, it created the travelling exhibition ‘Lety – příběh zamlčené genocidy’ [Lety – the Story of a Forgotten Genocide], which was presented in the European Parliament in Brussels and in both houses of the Parliament of the Czech Republic in Prague. This was followed in 2007 by the successful travelling exhibition ‘Zaniklý svět’ [A Vanished World]. The Committee has collaborated on the project ‘Database of Roma Victims of the Holocaust’ [Databáze romských obět holocaust, DROH] from 2016 until 2020 and, on several occasions, with the Museum of Romani Culture. Through their extraordinary efforts, Čeněk Růžička and the Committee have contributed significantly to opening and moving forward the public debate in the Czech Republic on the Lety near Písek site and the National Socialist genocide of Roma and Sinti, at the same time raising awareness of the contemporary situation of Roma and Sinti.

Zitierweise

Michal Schuster: Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust, in: Enzyklopädie des NS-Völkermordes an den Sinti und Roma in Europa. Hg. von Karola Fings, Forschungsstelle Antiziganismus an der Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg 12. März 2024. -

2002
13. Mai 2002Auf dem städtischen Friedhof in der Stadt Mirovice (Tschechische Republik), auf dem die Opfer des ehemaligen „Zigeunerlagers” Lety bei Pisek begraben sind, bringt das „Komitee zur Wiedergutmachung des Holocaust an den Roma“ eine Gedenktafel mit den Namen der Verstorbenen an.