Complaint filed against alleged war criminal in the Czech Republic
07 November 1997
According to information received by the ERRC, Mr. Paul Polanski, an American historian, and Mr L'ubomír Zubák, a Czech Romani activist, have filed a com plaint against 93-year-old Mr Václav Stuchlík for participation in genocide against Roma during the second world war. Mr Stuchlík was an employee of the fifth division of the Ministry of the Interior of the Protectorate of Moravia and Bohemia. According to Mr Polanski, Mr Stuchlík visited Lety concentration camp, in which many Roma perished during World War II, and personally chose Roma for transportation to Auschwitz. Polanski and Zubák told journalists that Stuchlík is a "former employee of the fifth division of the Ministry of the Interior of the Protectorate of Moravia and Bohemia who took part, during the Second World War, in genocide against the Romani nation accord ing to Article 259 of the Criminal Code." To support their claim, on September 23, Mr Polanski presented a number of transcribed testimonies of Lety camp survivors to the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism, the office which has also taken responsibility for dealing with war crimes. Markus Pape, the journalist who published a history of the Lety camp earlier this year, is less sure, pointing out that Stuchlík had already left his job at the Ministry by the time Lety was transformed from work camp to Gypsy concentration camp. Czech police spokesperson Pavel Bret, who met with Polanski and Zubák, refused to comment on the case, saying that the investigation of the events at Lety camp is stilt only just beginning.
Two individuals in addition to Mr Stuchlík, both former camp guards at Lety, are presently under investigation for criminal acts in connection with the camp. One of them, Mr Josef Hejduk, was the subject of a complaint lodged earlier this year (see Roma Rights, Summer 1997).