2 August 2021

Anna-Nicole Heinrich

Video address on the European Holocaust Remembrance Day for Sinti and Roma August 2, 2021

Dear Chairman Romani Rose, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today is the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma. It commemorates the inconceivable suffering and inhuman cruelty inflicted on Sinti and Roma. Tens of thousands of them were murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau, countless became victims of the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Today is a day of lamentation. It carries the cries, the weeping, the despair of the people about the the despair of the people about the suffered injustice up to the genocide to us, into our time.

We mourn with you for the murdered women and men, children and old people. We lament the monstrosity with which human lives were systematically destroyed. And mourn for everything that was done to people because they were marked as different and foreign, marginalized and persecuted.

We sympathize with the wounds that your daughters and sons, grandchildren and granddaughters still carry within them to this day. And we, as the Evangelical Church in Germany, would like to thank today’s community of Sinti and Roma: Because you have opened our eyes to the fact how difficult it is to belong to a minority that many people still encounter with massive prejudice.

Therefore, this day of lamentation is also connected with a great obligation for the present and future.

Because antiziganism is still a major problem for society as a whole in Germany. This is the shocking conclusion reached by the report of the Independent Commission on Antiziganism, which was commissioned by the German Bundestag and presented at the beginning of June.

We assure you, as we did last year during our joint visit to Auschwitz: As the Protestant Church in Germany, we will stand together with you for our democratic constitutional state in the face of increasing racism and nationalism – against antiziganism, anti-Semitism and all forms of racism. This also includes educational work: education about the history of the Sinti and Roma and about their recognition as a national minority. And it includes raising awareness about what the causes and effects of antiziganism are.

In doing so, we also look at ourselves. We want to work actively to ensure that Sinti and Roma can participate in our churches and in our society on an equal footing – and even more: that this also becomes perceptible and visible. It is important to counter any anti-Gypsy prejudice in a concrete way. This is an important learning experience for all of us.

That is why we support the important work of the network “Sinti and Roma and Churches”, especially in the areas of education, media and remembrance work. This is also an obligation for us, but above all, we would like to tell you explicitly, we experience this cooperation as a great gift. For this we thank you from the bottom of our hearts

Opening Remarks

Romani Rose

Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma

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