Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis said that a Roma Nazi concentration camp was a labor camp.
“There were times when all Roma worked. What these morons write in newspapers, that Lety was a concentration camp, is a lie, it was a work camp. Whoever did not work, whoosh and he was there.”
The Lety camp was initially established by the Czech government in 1939 as a labor camp for those "living off crime". However, the Nazis that occupied the Czech Republic weeks after the establishment of the camp turned it into a concentration camp for Roma in 1942. In total, 1,309 people were interned in Lety, including families with children, according to the Holocaust.cz website. Some 326 died, including children. About 25 percent of those interned in the camp managed to escape or were released and the rest were later transferred to Auschwitz.
His comments ahead of the elections came after he visited an area mostly populated by Roma and he was asking why so many of them were unemployed. Many Roma live in secluded communities with high unemployment and poor living conditions both in the Czech Republic and other countries.