Tomio Okamura SPD


Tomio Okamura’s So-called Apology

Prague, Feb 15 (CTK) – Tomio Okamura, leader of the anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), sent a letter to the Prague Jewish Community in which he distanced himself from questioning the suffering in the concentration camp for the Roma in Lety, South Bohemia, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes today.


However, Okamura has not apologised to Roma representatives, LN writes.


Earlier this month, Cenek Ruzicka, chairman of the Committee for the Compensation to the Roma Holocaust, filed a criminal complaint against Okamura and deputy Miloslav Rozner (SPD) over Holocaust denial.


In January, Okamura said the Lety camp had not been fenced. Later he admitted that there was a fence, but insisted that no one guarded it and the inmates could freely move around.


The Prague Jewish Community, the Museum of Roma Culture and the Lidice Memorial called his words Holocaust denial.


Rosner criticised the purchase of the pig farm near the Lety commemorative site, which the previous cabinet approved with the aim to have the farm pulled down.


“Undoubtedly, I would never throw half a billion crowns out of the window for the removal of a well-running company for the sake of a never existing so-called concentration camp,” Rozner told an SPD congress last year according to Czech Television (CT).


“The SPD absolutely does not question objective historical facts and suffering of the people who were detained in the labour and internment camp Lety during World War Two. The planned extermination of Jews, Slavs and ‘Gypsy’ population was a part of Nazi criminal plans of the so-called final solution to the racial question,” the letter said.


“This is an unquestionable fact,” it added.


The Prague Jewish Community received the latter last week.


“We received it with a certain reserve because Okamura writes whatever he wants. I think this is solely given by the purpose. Personally, I strongly mistrust him,” Prague Jewish Community chairman Jan Munk told the paper.


He said Okamura was not a partner for a discussion for him.


In the letter, Okamura mentioned the correction of his words about the unfenced camp, but he did not speak about Rozner’s comment.


Instead, he condemned what he called a mendacious campaign of the media and political rivals against his party, LN writes.


“It is appalling that I have not seen any apology by Okamura addressing the Roma Culture Museum,” Petr Papousek, chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic, said.


The Roma Culture Museum administers the memorial to the victims of the Lety camp.


“He acknowledges the Holocaust of Jews, but not that of the Roma. The Roma are not in the centre of his interest, to put it euphemistically,” Jana Horvathova, the director of the museum, said, adding that he had only sent the letter to the Jewish community.


From August 1942 to May 1943, a total of 1308 Roma people gradually stayed in the Lety camp, where 327 of them died and over 500 ended up in Auschwitz.


Nazis exterminated 90 percent of Bohemian and Moravian Roma people.