For decades after the war, the survivors and their families have visited the site of the former camp as well as graves in Mirovice and Lety. Not long after the war, a wooden cross with a thorn crown made of barbed wire was erected on the site of mass graves, not far away from the camp. This was an initiative of the family Čermákova whose members were interned in the Roma camp. According to an entry in the Mirovice chronicle a memorial service for the Roma victims took a place at the cemetery in 1968. The site of the former camp was used as a village pasture.
In the early 1970´s the Gypsy – Roma association (the first officially recognized Czech Roma association which operated in years 1969 – 1973) planned the construction of a Roma victims memorial in Lety near Písek. Construction of a similar memorial was also planned on the site of mass graves of the victims of the second Roma camp in Hodonín near Kunštát, where the Commision of former concentration camps inmates, part of the Gypsy – Roma association, organized the first public memorial service on 18. 3. 1973. The association was closed down under the influence of the communist party in 1973 and the plans for the construction of the memorial were not executed.
A large scale pigerry consisting of ten halls was constructed at the site of the original camp in years 1972–1974. Three more halls at the southeast part of the camp were added in the late 1970´s and early 1980´s.
A memorial plaque commemorating the victims of the Lety camp was placed by the survivors at the Mirovice cemetery in 1960. More memorial plaques commemorating the names of the Lety camp victims were made from the initiative of the Mirovice town Mayor Adolf Vondrášek and the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust in 1992.
In connection with the publicists´and public interest in the Roma and Sinti holocaust in the Czech republic as well as abroad in the 1990´s a discussion about the construction of a dignified Roma camp memorial in Lety near Písek was initiated. Historian Ctibor Nečas (the 1970´s author of the first historical works dedicated to the persecution and genocide of the Roma and Sinti on our territory) suggested that the mass graves of the Roma victims in Lety near Písek and Hodonín near Kunštát become a national culture site. Under the patronage of the Commision for nations of the Czech Republic government a Commission for the coordination of the construction of the Lety near Písek was set up. The represenatives of the state, Roma organizations and local governments participated. The project of the sculpturer Zdeněk Hůla was the winning project of the public architectonic competition. The memorial was placed on the site of mass graves of the victims of the camps and was disclosed with the participation of the President Václav Havel on 13.5. 1995.
The intention to remove the piggery was first mentionned by the former Minister of Interior, Jan Ruml, during a memorial act in Lety in 1997. In 1998, Vladimír Mlynář, the former Minister without Portfolio, declared the construction of the memorial a priority. In July of the same year, he also announced that the govrment had decided to construct a dignified memorial at the site of the former Roma camp and make a protection area, which was to disable the growing of the piggery. In January 1999 the government passed a decision in which the Minister for the Local Development was to calculate a financial estimate for the purchase of the piggery and the landscaping of the memorial site. The grounds of the former concentration camp was sold to AGPI company by Lety town in 1999.
From 2009 the memorial place was under the administration of Lidice Memorial, which produced project studies for the landscaping of the memorial place and executed the architectonic landscaping in the vicinity of the memorial. This included the road, car park and the areas nearby the memorial reconstruction. A natural amphitheater was made here.
The whole process of the take over of the memorial started in the 1970 when the Gypsy – Roma Association, in cooperation with historians, started to open the until then completely concealed topic. The Museum of Romani Culture, statutory contributory organization, continues in the efforts of Roma civil as well as expert organizations which have been pointing out the insufficient rememberence of the Roma holocaust in the Czech Republic. This was done on the basis of Resolution of the Government of the Czech Republic No. 609, 665 and 776 from 2017.
On November 23, 2017, a transfer contract for the purchase of a piggery in Lety near Písek from AGPI company, was signed, and since January 1, 2018, the Museum of Romani Culture has become the official Memorial for the victims of the Roma Holocaust at the former Protectorate Gypsy camps administrator.
On April 3, 2018, the former piggery was handed over from the joint-stock company AGPI to the Museum of Romani Culture. The piggery covers an area of 7.1 hectares. The last pigs left the farm on 13 March 2018 and the area has been cleared out.
In the matter of the purchase of the pig farm in Lety, the Museum of Romani Culture and AGPI, a.s. on November 23, 2017 paid to AGPI: April 11, 2018 – CZK 360 651 836,80 , which represented 80% of the price of pig farm, on April 12, 2018 – CZK 45 081 479,60 – 10% of the price of pig farm after transport of animals (the last pigs were taken on March 14, 2018) and the pig farm was cleared. Finally, as stated in the contract, the last installment
was made by the Museum of Romani Culture on September 10, 2018, after the long-awaited clearing of slurry from the lagoon “in a usual way”. It concerned the remaining CZK 45 081 479,60, the final 10% of the total price of the pig farm.
On September 4, 2018, the Government Resolution No. 609 and No. 766 of 21 August 2017 was revoked and the release of funds for demolition and archaeological research in the amount of CZK 111.5 million, including VAT, was approved.
In 2019, preparations for the announcement of an architectural competition in the second half of 2019 began. More information about the architectural competition can be found here.
The term of the tender for the demolition contractor depends on the course of the architectural competition for the new Memorial. We are currently expecting to announce around May 2020 and complete the demolition by the end of 2020. The demolition contractor will be selected on the basis of the Public Procurement Act (Act No. 134/2016).
The memorial act is held annually at the memorial of Zdeněk Hůla on the closest Sunday to May 13 and is organized by the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust. It is headed by a descendant of survivors Čeňek Růžička.
Currently you may visit the national Memorial Lety (including the Memorial by Zdeněk Hůla, replica of the barracs and the amphitheater) as well as the camp history educational path. The educational path starts in the town of Lety in front of the town hall, passes the site of the former Roma camp and ends at the cultural memorial Lety.
If you are interested in the Memorial visit, please contact head of Romani holocaust Memorials,
Mgr. Monika Duždová
+420 774 855 225