Memorial for remembering the Sinti and Roma murdered

24/10/2012

Berlin is home to several monuments to Germany’s dark past. On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel helped inaugurate another one, this one dedicated to the Sinti and Roma murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. With persecution of the minority on the rise, its unveiling could hardly have been more timely.

For years, the northeastern-most corner of Berlin’s large, city-center park called the Tiergarten was simply blocked off. The barriers hid a small construction site under the trees, but little work ever seemed to be done. It looked like a project that would never be completed.

But on Wednesday, it finally was. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal President Joachim Gauck and several other political luminaries gathered under Berlin’s overcast skies to inaugurate the memorial to the some 500,000 Sinti and Roma murdered by the Nazis in the Porajmos — as European gypsies call the Holocaust.

The importance of the monument’s completion, said Merkel, “cannot be overestimated,” adding that it commemorates a genocide to which “far too little attention has been paid for far too long.”

Merkel also noted that, at a time when Sinti and Roma remain targets of right-wing attacks, and even official oppression, in Europe, the monument is as timely as ever. “It is a German and a European task to support (Sinti and Roma) wherever they live, no matter what country,” she said. (Spiegel)

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