Czechs to place memorial in place of pig farm at ex-Nazi Roma concentration camp

The Czech government will buy a pig farm now on the site of a former Nazi concentration camp and replace it with a memorial.

Culture Minister Daniel Herman said Monday the farm’s owner will sign a deal soon and the government has approved spending 450 million koruna ($20.6 million) on the plan.

Activists for Roma, also known as Gypsies, and rights groups have long demanded the removal of the farm at Lety, 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Prague, where some 1,300 Czech Roma were sent by the Nazis during World War II.

In all, 327 Roma, including 241 children, died at the camp staffed by an ethnic Czech commander and guards, while more than 500 were sent to Nazi Germany’s infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in occupied southern Poland.

The communist Czechoslovakian regime built the pig farm on the site in the 1970s.

Alongside European Jews, the continent’s smaller Roma minority was a target of Nazi genocide during World War II.

The Czech Republic, an EU country of 10.5 million, has a Roma community estimated to number between 250,000 and 300,000.

Of the roughly one million Roma who lived in Europe prior to WWII, historians believe that Nazi Germany killed over half.

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