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

Original Source

Serbia's scrapheap scavengers

By Matt Prodger
BBC correspondent in Belgrade

The Saiti family, like many of the 10 million Roma (Gypsies) in central and eastern Europe, are struggling against poverty and discrimination.

International Roma Day, on 8 April, is aimed at raising awareness of the problems facing Roma.

In central Belgrade the Saitis live on the wrong side of the tracks.

Their home is a cardboard hut perched beside a railway.

Shaban Saiti, 32, has a wife, four children and little else apart from a cannibalised Citroen car, which he calls his "Beloved Dyana".

Together they make up a familiar sight in Belgrade. Shaban spends his days driving round the streets searching for rubbish - anything - to sell.

Struggle to survive... more...

For editorial by the ROMANISTAN NETWORK see my article
"Where does the money go?" on ROMANI FIRST - English Edition.

Armed police watch travellers' camp

Apr 12 2005

By Joan Mulcaster

TRAVELLER-on-traveller crime has led to armed police staging repeated watches on a mobile homes site after a caravan was torched in an arson attack.

But as police marksmen joined other officers after threats of an armed attack on a site in Rectory Lane, Woodmansterne, on Saturday April 2, terrified occupants swept all their children into trailers.

And neighbours, fearful for their own safety, were demanding nationwide police crackdowns on firearms throughout the travelling community.

When the armed attack threat was not carried out, and the officers were dispersed, villagers were also asking questions about the heavy use of manpower.

A member of Woodmansterne Residents' Association said: "When police forces throughout the UK held a firearms amnesty followed by a crackdown on unlicensed guns, did this also apply to travellers? "Have they ever raided any caravan sites for firearms? If not, then why not?"

Another villager said: "A big chunk of manpower - nine vehicles plus officers - was up here tonight, which must have meant other areas were deprived."

Only last month on March 17 a Surrey Force helicopter was called to the site.
This hovered as seven men were arrested after dismantling a caravan. They were later released with no further action taken.

The same night another mobile home was burned to the ground and witnesses are still being sought for this crime.

It is understood there are no firearms at the Rectory Lane site, occupied by peaceful Romanies.

They claim they are being repeatedly targeted by a small minority of violent, and often armed, Irish travellers among those now flooding into the UK after Ireland's tightening of planning laws.

A Romany, who does not want to be named for fear of revenge, said: "Some of them want our land and are harassing us in the hope we will go. Now they are threatening us, and those threats have included threats to shoot.

"Romanies, mostly Smiths, have been law-abiding citizens here for centuries. "When Irish started to travel here at first we rubbed along with them OK. But the thousands here now have a few bad lads with shooters."

Inspector Bob Jenkin, Surrey Police Inspector for Reigate and Banstead, said: "There has been significant police activity at the site over the last few days and we are doing whatever is necessary to keep the peace and prevent disorder."

This is from the local area Guardian newsapapers in Surrey

Original source

No Prosecution for Carnival "Gypsies"

Attorney General decides “not enough evidence”.

This is an update to the article in O NEVO DROM #1 – Spring 2005 (the entire issue of this newsletter is downloadable as a PDF documents from O NEVO DROM Yahoo)…

The attorney general of the region covering Berg, near Ravensburg, in Germany, an area that has many, many Sinti families living within its territory, has closed the investigations for “incitement to national/racial hatred” against the church choir of Berg which in the carnival procession on January 29, 2005 had a float that featured its members dressed up as Gypsies and the float bearing the slogan “Zack, zack, Zigeunerpack”, which, roughly translated, would be “Get a move on, Gypsy scum” because of lack of evidence and this despite a number of complaints that have been lodged with the office of the attorney general. However, his office decided that there are no charges to answer because, in his view, there was no intent and malice and because this has been going on for many years in this carnival in that members of various organizations and charities dressed up as Gypsies and had floats with similar slogans in the processions. Well even more reason to actually prosecute them, I would say. But then, being Gypsy and feeling offended by such actions, I would say that you might say. Seeing this is not the first incidence of that kind by various organizations, including the church community on various occasions, should make the law enforcement want to do something, I should think. Had such an attack, however, been aimed at Jews, for instance, with the float reading “Zack, zack, Judenpack” the perpetrators would have been arrested and charged rather speedily and would have been, I should imagine, given a custodial sentence in court, if even only a symbolic and short one. But,a s per usual, nothing happens when it affect Gypsies, and this is NOT only so in Germany. The UK sees similar occurrences day in day out nearly from the sides of the media and even mainstream politicians and political parties. Who mentioned Michael Howard and the Tories?

It is high time the Romani Gypsy People rose up as one and showed the world, like the Jews did and do, that we will NOT be treated in such a manner. The problem is though that the more these things happen the more our People seem to go into hiding and like ostriches stick their heads into the sand trying to hide their ancestry and origins and thereby denying themselves and giving the oppressors more power.

Enough is enough.
Ushti Opre Romale!

It is time to stand up and be counted (literally).

© Veshengro, April 9, 2005


On the occasion of International Roma Day (April 8), the UK Association of Gypsy Women calls on the British Government to halt the policy of violently evicting Gypsies and Travellers from their own land and to curb hate speech against our people.

These acts of physical and verbal violence are causing particular pain to our women and our families. They are poisoning relations between our people and local communities. We are convinced that they will soon result in serious injuries and even deaths. We are particularly concerned for 500 families in Dale Farm, who are threatened by eviction in May.

As a result, we are also appealing to Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Alvaro Gil-Robles, the European Human Rights Commissioner, to establish a joint EU-UN commission of inquiry, and to mediate between the British government and Roma representatives.

Third, we call on the government of Ireland to work with Britain and the Council of Europe to ease the pressure on Travellers in Ireland. More and more Travellers are moving to England because they are forbidden to travel in their own country.

The confrontation between Travellers and Gypsies on the one hand, and local authorities on the other, has now reached a crisis point in Britain. Sick people have been beaten and manhandled as they are evicted. Houses have been destroyed with families still inside.

This violence and intimidation is unacceptable. We respect the right of local communities to preserve their cultural and environmental heritage, and we accept our obligation to keep the environment clean.

But we also call for our rights to be respected as well. The repeal of the 1968 Caravan Act has drastically reduced the amount of land available for sites. At the same time, we are denied the chance of building on our own land. 90% of our requests for planning permission are rejected. As a result, at least 3,500 families are now on the move and without a home. Yet the Criminal Justice Act makes it illegal for them to travel in groups of more than 6 vehicles. When they stop to rest they are liable for prosecution under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act.

These laws are being used to target Gypsies and Travellers, with the open encouragement of the popular press, which is whipping up hatred against our people. We categorically reject the terrifying image of Gyspies that is being promoted by the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Express. We call on the British Press Council to intervene.

We also deplore the way that the Conservative Party is exploiting peoples’ fears to win votes and threatening to repeal the Human Rights Act. This is an attack on human rights itself.

The priority now is to defuse this climate of intimidation before it is too late, and to this end we are asking the United Nations and Council of Europe to intervene immediately. For our part we pledge to explore all legal channels available to us, and lobby the forthcoming session of the European Parliament. We will leave no stone unturned in our campaign for justice.

We will work with international civil society, particularly our sisters in the International Roma Women’s Network, which has members in 18 countries.

For more information, contact Catherine Beard and Rachel Francis: rachelfrancisingham@yahoo.co.uk



The parents of 86 Roma (Gypsy) children in Slovenia are keeping them away from school in protest at moves to segregate them from ethnic Slovene children. The boycott began on Monday at Brsljin school in the southern town of Novo Mesto, on the first day of segregation. The row erupted a month ago when non-Roma parents complained of bullying by Roma boys at the school. The education ministry suggested segregation after the two sides failed to reach an agreement. Some 400 Slovene parents have signed an appeal for the Roma children to be dispersed to schools throughout the town. "Instead of our children learning, they had to make sure that there was order among Roma children in the school. Their rights to learn were violated," said one parent, Niko Padevski. A Roma official on the city council, Zoran Tasic, rejected the segregation idea, calling it "humiliating". Roma form less than 1% of Slovenia's population of two million.

© BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk

The Romani People mourn a Friend

Remembering a Pope

The late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, baptized as Carol Voitila, was, like no other Pope, friendly inclined and disposed towards the Romani-Gypsy People and to our sufferings thru the ages and to this very day and he made that clear from the very beginning of his Pontificate. He was a friend to our People, as he was to other oppressed Peoples.

We can all only say, “rest in peace, maro mal!”

© Veshengro, April 3, 2005



Walter Winter.
Translated and annotated by Struan Robertson.
University of Hertfordshire Press, October 2004. 192pp
Paperback £9.99 ISBN 1-902806-38-7.

In “Winter Time” German Sinto Walter Winter retells, in his own words, his remarkable wartime experience and story of survival of the Gypsy genocide of the Nazis. One of nine children, he was conscripted into the Germany navy only to be discharged on ‘racial grounds’. In 1943, together with two siblings, he was deported to the ‘Gypsy Camp’ of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Over a year later, shortly before the extermination of the entire ‘Gypsy Camp’, he was deported to Ravensbrück, and from there to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Grotesquely, before the war was over he was re-conscripted and forced to fight against the Red Army on the Russian front.

Walter Winter recounts his memories of Nazi persecution with extraordinary courage and compassion. He does not flinch from recounting the dreadful crimes he witnessed in the camps and the cruel deaths of so many, including his wife, who died in labor. Yet despair is held at bay by his own personal bravery in confronting authority, once beating up an SS guard and on another occasion confronting the notorious Dr Mengele to request extra rations for starving Sinti children in his block. Despite this, he was always willing to see the good in individuals, including some members of the SS.

The fate of Germany’s Sinti and Roma at the hands of the Nazis is still too little known by the German public, not to mention the wider world. Winter Time will make an important contribution to the righting of that wrong, and the footnotes and appendices by his dedicated translator, Struan Robertson, throw a valuable new light on the policy of the Third Reich and successive post-war governments towards the Sinti and Roma.

When the translator of this book, Struan Robertson, says about himself, that prior to the meeting with Kaku Walter Winter “I understood the Holocaust to have been exclusively the Nazi extermination of the Jews. This is a common misconception” he is explaining the problem very well indeed. Most people around the world do see the Holocaust, like he used to, as exclusively Jewish and on top of that the stance of some Jewish groups who have even said, “the Gypsies defile the memory of the Holocaust by wanting to be associated with it” also adds to this. Even people in Germany (or maybe especially in Germany) do not see or want to see the Holocaust to be also a Romani issue.

This is a most important book in all book about and by Romani, probably the most important, in that it is a book by a Romani himself and not one by a self-acclaimed expert on Romani affairs writing about the Holocaust or anything else Romani, who often write utter tosh.

BTW, Sinti, in their own version of the Romani Chib, would not call the Holocaust “Porriamos”, at least not originally. That word is a Vlax Roma word with its origin in the Romanian language, as can be seen by the “-mos” ending. In Sintitakes, if this would be used, it would be, probably, “Porriape”.

We see far too few books that are the memoirs of real true Romani People. We need more of this kind of books. Not only about the Holocaust but Romani Life in general as well.

There is but one problem with this book and that is that the material in the “appendix” to this book, the chapter called “Postscript: Origin and History of the Roma and Sinti” as well as in other parts of this “Postscript”.
The Sinti are, for instance, NOT “Roma”, regardless what the self-acclaimed experts of Romani studies wish to have the world believe. The Sinti are in fact part of the Romane Chave to which also the Romanichals of the UK, the Romanichels of France, the Manouche/Manush, belong. Not to be forgotten in this also must the Cale (Spanish Gitanos) and the Kale (Wales) and the Kaale (Finland) neither of which are Roma but who also have their roots in the Romane Chave. It is high time that the People were listened to for a change and not only people such as certain professors even though one or two may be of Romani descent. It is the real Romani People that need to be given a voice in this matter in order for the record to be set straight and if given that chance they soon would tell them that they are Sinti, Romanichal, Gitano (Cale) and that they are Romani but NOT Roma.
Also here again we can see the attempt at work to lump all Romani together under the term “Roma” which is about as correct as calling a Welshman or a Scotsman English. When will the People be taken note of I wonder.
Those experts who put together that tosh on the “Origin and History of the Roma and Sinti” should go and ask the majority of Sinti whether they think that they are Roma? I would suggest to the questioner however that he step back very far as he may get hit by something.

With the exception of the above, however, the remainders of those “Postscripts” are more or less fine and most educating, I am sure, to those not in the know about Romani persecution throughout the ages and to this present day. Nothing really has changed in that regard.

It is a shame though that there are a few printing/typesetting mistakes that have crept into this final book that proofreading should have picked up really.

In summing up I would like to say that this is a powerful and most importantly true story about survival of Romani People in the concentration camps of the Third Reich. This is a book that is needed more than ever today, especially as too many people see the Holocaust as being uniquely Jewish and it is often claimed, especially by Jews, that Jews were sent to the gas because of their race and ethnicity while Gypsies were sent to the gas because they were asocial. This is very insulting indeed because the truth is and this is shown again and again that Gypsies were sent to the camps in the same way as Jews for reasons of race.

© Veshengro, November 2004