Roma Holocaust exhibit in Prague
An exhibit devoted to the history of the Roma and Sinti Holocaust has opened in Prague's National Gallery. Entitled "The Roma Holocaust: the genocide of Roma and Sinti and racism in today's Europe," the exhibit is meant to bring to light aspects of WWII history not often mentioned.
At the exhibit opening, Jana Vrbova, whose grandparents were interned and whose father was born in the Lety camp in the south of the Czech Republic, spoke about her hopes for the exhibit's success:
"As the granddaughter of people who lived through the Lety camp, I hope that many people will visit this exhibition, and that they will no longer say that Roma died in the camps because they were dirty and didn't uphold adequate hygiene standards. I hope that these photographs will prove that Roma in Lety lived in horrible conditions, and that people will no longer make light of the topic. Above all, I hope that what happened in Lety will never be forgotten, and that everyone will know about this piece of history—not just those few among us who recall the events regularly, but everyone. I think that I can also speak for my grandfather, and I hope that he's not angry with me in heaven when I say that the events of Lety and the other camps should never be repeated."
"Of course nothing fundamental will change. But the exhibit should serve at least to start a change where the perception of Roma is concerned. When you look at these photographs, you see that these Roma were intelligent people. But today you hear the Fascist groups saying that they were dirty, that they stole, etc. Yet here you see that they were intelligent people who had values, were educated in traditional trades and made a regular living. This exhibit shows all of this clearly."
Part of the exhibit's aim is also to draw attention to racism against Roma today, and Gwendolyn Albert, the Director of the League of Human Rights, comments on the degree of awareness about the Roma Holocaust in the Czech Republic, and the attention the subject is given:
The exhibit is on display at the National Gallery until July 16th.
Photo: Jana Sustova