The Czech Republic’s Jewish community has condemned some of the addresses delivered at a memorial ceremony at the former Nazi concentration camp in Terezin as anti-German, nationalist and xenophobic.
In a statement released Sunday, the Federation of the Czech Jewish communities denounced the keynote address delivered earlier that day by the head of the Czech Senate, Milan Stech, who said “Nazi crimes could not be compared to violence committed by Czechs against Germans after World War II.”
“Crimes [during the forced expulsion of 3 million Germans from postwar Czechoslovakia] were committed by individuals, whereas Nazi crimes during the occupation of the Czech territory were part of the official and carefully designed political campaign of the German state,” Stech said in his speech.
The Jewish groups also criticized Jaroslav Vodicka, the head of the Czech Freedom Fighters’ Union, who said Europe was endangered by the ongoing migration crisis in which “millions of mostly economic migrants were seeking more comfortable lives,” wanting “to exploit Europe’s welfare and economic system that took generations to build.”
The memorial ceremony in Terezín is held each year to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp that occurred on May 8, 1945, and to commemorate its 35,000 victims.