Holocaust writer: Gypsies harm Romania's image

Meir Wagner, a Swiss citizen who was born in Romania currently working on a book about "The Righteous of Romania," in an attempt to show the world there were Romanians who tried to help Jews during World War II, made a few statements during an interview published in Bucharest Daily News on April 22 that sparked up the controversial issue of gypsies in Romania.

According to Mr. Wagner, gypsies are “a problem for Romania. They are not positive people.” We are republishing below part of the interview.

“I wrote a book about the Righteous of Switzerland and I am going to write a book about the Righteous of Romania. I was invited to meet some ministers of the new government and the mayor in Bucharest. I gave them my book about Switzerland and we talked about the future book about Romania.

I spoke with the new Bucharest mayor and I invited him to be the guest of the mayor of Basel in order to make stronger relations between Basel (the second largest city in Switzerland after Berne). He gave me his mobile phone number and told me, "You can call me any time, 24 hours a day."

I also met the Foreign Affairs minister and other state ministers. Mister Ungureanu was very interested in my book. I invited him to create a business forum, to meet Swiss businessmen in order to convince them to increase their investments in Romania.

I will also meet Culture Minister Mona Musca, to finish the discussion about the book.

I also met the minister of Transport and Tourism because I am a member of the National Tourism Board of Switzerland and I am going to help him increase the number of Swiss tourists in Romania. So this was the reason for my visit here, to help Romania in various ways.

Who will pay for the research?
The Romanian government will pay for a part, the Jewish community and even some sponsors for the rest.

What kind of reaction do you expect from such a book in Romania?
Look, I will tell you something. My book made the Swiss people very happy because their image was improved. So I think a book about Romanians who helped Jews will have a similar effect. Their image in the world will be improved.

We now blame gypsies for creating a negative image of Romania. What is your opinion on this issue?
Gypsies are a problem for Romania. They are not positive people.

What is the solution?
It is very difficult. It is like the problem of the black people in America. They were brought to be slaves and work here, and now they have to keep them. It is necessary to get rid of them.

To get rid of them? How? What can we do? Do what Hitler did?
Not this.

What else. Maybe educate them?
Yes, but I think they are not interested in this. It's like taking a fish from the water. They only can exist in their own way of living.

Then what else can we do?
Export them; transfer them to some countries that haven't got enough people who work.

Copyright © 2004 Bucharest Daily News

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