Talet Hans höll vid manifestationen den 2 juni 2012 vid Tiergarten Park i Berlin för resandet av ett minnesmonument för alla Romer och Sinti som föll offer för Hitlers och nazisternas grymheter.
”Let me begin by saying that it is a shame that we have today to convince decision-makers that the Roma and Sinti should have a place in the history regarding the fact that more than over half millions was victims, of them were annihilated and subjected to exactly the same atrocities that 6 million Jews suffered under, during Hitler’s evil ideology and reign of terror over 70 years ago.“This we must tell…” is a Swedish choice of words to remind us not to ever forget the Nazi’s depredations and evil.
Each generation must take their responsibility by telling and making visible the suffering and the monstrosity that Hitler and his followers afflicted upon millions of people around Europe so that it may never happen again.
Since the end of World War II, history books, films and documentaries have repeatedly depicted the Holocaust of Jews, but not one word has been mentioned that the Roma, the Sinti and others were afflicted by the same horrific fate. It took about 40 years before the Holocaust of Roma / Sinti were made known in the media, amongst others.Until the 1980’s, the elimination of Roma and Sinti by the Nazi’s was unknown to most of the world, and today, people react with astonishment that the Roma and the Sinti also fell victim to Nazi tyranny.
Still today, there is no high-level political recognition of the Holocaust of the Roma.At the first two-day International Holocaust Conference held by the Swedish government in Stockholm in the year 2000, the holocaust of the Roma and the Sinti was not on the agenda.
We were four Romanies out of 800 guests who were invited to participate. After vigorous protests, one of us was allowed to give a five minute speech. This, once again made it evident that the Holocaust of the Roma and the Sinti continued to be overlooked.There is a great lack of knowledge concerning the persecution and extermination of the Roma and the Sinti of Europe.
The exact number of people murdered in the Nazi concentration camps will never be clearly determined because almost all Roma and Sinti at that time were stateless and not registered. They could therefore disappear unnoticed.Much more Roma and Sinti were killed than the official figure of half a million that so often is mentioned.It is extremely important for succeeding generations to draw attention to the Holocaust of Roma and Sinti.
It is obvious that an international monument needs to be erected in memory of all those who fell victim to Hitler’s barbarism.Therefore, I address the decision-makers so that they finally show their good-will by giving the Roma and the Sinti a monument to honor the victims and that testifies to what the face of evil can accomplish if it is allowed free rein.But the story of the persecution of the Roma and the Sinti did not end with Hitler’s demise. Today, there is another kind of Holocaust of Roma and Sinti across Europe. Racist tendencies are gaining more and more foothold.
Xenophobic parties are becoming more successful and are represented in a number of countries’ parliaments and institutions of power, putting all the blame on, amongst others, the Roma and the Sinti, for the economic crisis that now prevails in several European countries.
Even that the Roma and the Sinti don’t own Banks, Multinational companies or have any economic or political power. This is an ironic and not at least a frightening propaganda.I would not in any way excuse or defend people who are criminal, who earn money on trafficking and use people, who lives in misery and are poor for their own interest and purpose; they must atone for their crimes and evilness, of course.But to condemn an entire people as thieves and bandits, is in itself a criminal act and is a violation of The Geneva Convention and the current EU rules regarding Europe’s citizens; namely, that every human being has the right to be treated fairly and judged as an individual on their own merits.
Human rights and democratic values are being eradicated, elitism is gaining a platform and strategies are being designed to eliminate people who are regarded as less worthy and a burden to society.The history of the vile Nazi propaganda once again makes itself reminded and the Roma and other vulnerable groups become the easy targets of people’s discontent and ill-will. Resulting in escalating abuse and hate crimes, while people and authorities look-on indifferently, similar to the actions of so-called civilized people during the Nazi domination.
Hitler and his followers succeeded in the Holocaust of amongst others, the Roma, owing to the fact that God-loving people, caring parents and animal rights advocates passively watched while the Romas and the Jews were transported on trucks and by train to an inferno in the concentration camps.
They enabled the Nazis to implement their eradication strategy. The propaganda of hate that, amongst others, Hitler’s media prophet Joseph Goebbels accounted for had succeeded.And we should not forget that some countries in Europe was allied with Hitler and his National Socialist Regime and supported the deportations of Roma, Sinti, Jews and many others out of their countries to the concentration camps.
Today, we see similar hate propaganda in Hungary, Romania and other European countries that mainly target the Roma and the Sinti. In many European countries, the Roma and the Sinti are denied basic human rights and are openly subjected to xenophobia and various forms of abuse while, once again, so-called humane people stand by in the sidelines, indifferently watching.
It is still legitimate to oppress and hate Roma and Sinti without being considered a racist.The Roma and the Sinti are, in general, still far behind the majority of the population when it comes to education, employment, housing and health. And in Sweden, unlike many countries in Europe, the Roma and the Sinti lack almost all political representation.
Most of the Roma and the Sinti / Resande in Sweden exist on sufferance and do not have any influence upon or have codetermination in questions regarding their right to exist and their future.The Roma and the Sinti are usually excluded from large parts of the social establishment, resulting in alienation, which in turn, leads to the nourishment of xenophobic undercurrents.In some EU countries, the exclusion and social deprivation of the Roma and the Sinti is not considered to be a matter that the countries need to address.
The Roma and the Sinti are instead blamed for their miserable existence and attempts are made to ”sweep” them off the map by denying them a fair and humane existence.It is the same strategy that the Swedish authorities had with their legalized and structural discrimination of Roma and Resande until the 1960’s when the writer and the Roma activist Katarina Taikon, among others, prompted the government to change course.
However, not much has been accomplished since then that can be considered concrete results regarding, for example, discrimination in housing and employment.It is therefore imperative that we earnestly work to find solutions on a long term basis that will give the Roma and other vulnerable groups the motivation and encouragement to get out of their despair and the life destructive mindset that they do not count or can become part of society. If allowed to persist, this will result in continued adverse segregation and isolation…
Today, children and youth witness how people are daily downgraded in the labor market, even though they try to live by the rules that society sets. They see that their last names, ethnicity, skin-color and age play a higher role than good education, skills and personal qualities when one is considered for a job interview or not.Many still see the authorities and society’s leaders as a threat.
Romanies must therefore be permitted to participate in public life, which means that they must gain influence over, and involvement in, issues related to their own cultural heritage and the present and future of the Roma.Romanies should be recruited as civil servants, at both a local and national level.
There is a need for more consultation in the municipalities between the Roma, the Sinti and the local authorities, on issues including schools, health care, housing and work conditions.This consultation must be characterized by participation, meaningfulness, and the understanding of the importance of working across borders in order to insure that everyone in society shall live under safe and fair conditions. We need institutions for equality that can implement a direct and open dialogue.
There is a need for forceful efforts to increase the awareness and level of knowledge among officials and the public. Our elected politicians bear a particularly heavy responsibility to combat xenophobia and other undemocratic actions and behaviors in society, and are therefore required to have the knowledge and an understanding of the mechanisms that contribute to hostility and intolerance.
We, who are committed and work against injustice and xenophobia, react with horror and grief at the racism and evil that rage freely in several European countries today.
Romanies should not be forced to flee head over heels from their homelands in hopes to find a humane and just existence. Each country must take their responsibility for their Roma and their Sinti population.We demand that the EU, governments, authorities and people with a sense of justice and a civilized approach, sharpen their criticism both in words and actions against the hate and terror inflicted upon the Roma / Sinti, Jews and Muslims in a Europe that should have learned from the madness of the Nazi regime and from what happened in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990’s.
Europe must now forcefully take its responsibility and take action by putting severe pressure on states that commit heinous assaults on democracy and the EUs elementary values, laws and regulations.If not, chances are, we will soon be back in the Europe of the thirties and forties!But, I still believe in that Love conquer the evilness as racism, because in the end we all are exactly same vulnerable and sensetive of disease and other difficulties in life.
Written by: © Hans Caldaras, May 2012.