Prague - The Holocaust was not only the work of German Nazis but also of collaborationist governments, including the Czech one, Senate chairman Milan Stech (Social Democrats, CSSD) said at a meeting marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day today.
Příjezd transportu k bráně koncentračního tábora Osvětim ukazuje jeden ze snímků, který na výstavu do sídla OSN v New Yorku zapůjčilo muzeum památníku holokaustu Jad Vašem v Jeruzalémě. Zvláštní zasedání Valného shromáždění Organizace spojených národů 24. ledna v New Yorku připomnělo 60. výročí osvobození nacistických koncentračních táborů. AP
Stech recalled that exactly 75 years ago, on January 27, 1939, the Czech government issued a directive under which all state offices had to identify and dismiss all its staff of Jewish origin, provided that the employee was not irreplaceable.
About 1000 people were sacked as a result.
Stech said this measure might not seem cruel. "But all injustice starts somewhere. And this had not a German but a Czech stamp on it," he said.
This directive was passed under the short-lived second Czechoslovak Republic that lasted 169 days - from the Munich Agreement, due to which the country was to cede the Sudetenland border regions to Germany, to the German invasion that turned the country into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, while Slovakia became s puppet fascist wartime state.
Stech said the Holocaust was the worst event in human history and must not be repeated.
He pointed out that crimes against humanity and ethnic hatred did not disappear at the end of World War Two.
Lower house deputy chairwoman Jaroslava Jermanova (ANO) said the liberation of the Oswiecim (Auschwitz) concentration camp, on January 27, 1945, fully showed the atrocity of political and ideological movements that want to reduce a person to a statistical figure.
Former Oswiecim inmate Ludek Elias said the Holocaust was caused by "the hatred of creatures who only appeared to be people" and who did not recognise any other opinion than their own.
About 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, died in the Oswiecim Nazi extermination camp in southern Poland in 1940-1945. Some 50,000 Czechoslovak citizens were among its inmates, and only about 6,000 of them survived the ordeal.
Some 250,000 people out of Czechoslovakia´s pre-war 350,000-strong Jewish community died during WW2.