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Friday, 9 March 2012

Czechs against shopping centre at former Jewish deportation site

Prague, Feb 27 (CTK) - Opponents of the planned sale of a plot where Prague Jews gathered in wartime before mass deportations, met at the site Monday, voicing fears that the buyer, a developer who plans to build a shopping centre there, would not unveil a dignified monument to the Jewish transport victims.
The Prague 7 district assembly is discussing the sale Monday.
The protesters wore the yellow David stars on their cloaks and pushed empty shopping trolleys, mistrustful of the investor's pledge to build a monument to the Jewish victims.
"The gathering place was right at this site...It is very important for people to remember that there used to be our fellow citizens of Jewish origin and that they were eliminated, witness and historian Toman Brod told journalists.
Nevertheless, Prague Jewish Community chairman Frantisek Banyai says a monument linked to the then gathering site does exist. He says a plaque on the nearby Parkhotel commemorates the Jewish deportees in a dignified way.
That is why Banyai does not support the protesters.
"Wringing out a monument is not optimal. Initiative in this respect should be on the investor's part," he said.
Prague 7 Hall spokesman Martin Vokous said the investor, to whom the district hall leased the plot in 2002, himself came up with the idea of building a monument to the deportees.
"We don't know how the monument will look like," Vokous said.
Nor does the investor know it, but he reckons with building a monument after a construction permit for the shopping centre is issued, Martin Pilka, from the Lordship company's board, said.

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