Czech Holocaust survivors call for government minister’s ouster

(JTA) — An organization of Czech Holocaust survivors is urging that a controversial Czech Education Ministry official be fired because of his links to far-right groups.

Leaders of the Terezin Initiative, whose members are former Jewish prisoners of Nazi camps, said in a statement that Ladislav Batora should be removed from the ministry, according to the Czech news agency CTK.

The Terezin Initiative said Batora was associated with a far-right scene that was "infamous for its anti-Semitic and xenophobic" views.

Batora, the former deputy of the ministry’s human resources department, once led a far-right party and sparked recent controversy by criticizing the U.S. ambassador’s support for a gay pride parade in Prague.

Allowing Batora to remain at the ministry "mocks all government campaigns against extremism, racism and xenophobia," CTK quoted the survivors as saying.

The Terezin Initiative statement said the group was  "resolutely opposed to the fact that a person like Mr. Batora may influence both events in the country and education of Czech youths." It also criticized Czech President Vaclav Klaus for voicing support for Batora.

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