Phase 5: Memorial Day #Existence

Posted on December 3, 2021 by Stephanie Ballantine

After the end of the Second World War, it took 37 years for civil rights activists from Romani communities to obtain recognition of the genocide of the Romani people by the German government. On 17th March 1982, after countless demonstrations and even a hunger strike by Holocaust survivors and their supporters in Dachau, the then Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt declared: “The Sinti and Roma were severely mistreated by the Nazi dictatorship.

They were persecuted for racial reasons […]. These crimes constituted genocide.” After another 20 years, the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe murdered under National Socialism was inaugurated in Berlin-Mitte on 24th October 2012. For many survivors and their descendants, it represents a symbolic grave that the victims never had. And for the descendants of the perpetrators, it is a memorial as well as an expression of responsibility not only for the injustice committed, but for the observance of human rights in today’s Europe. But for the German state, all this seems to be only half as important.

For several months, negotiations have been going on about how much this place may be damaged because of the construction of a city train line. The question is being asked, are representatives of the Berlin government, the German Parliament and the German Railways – the successor organisation to the Reichsbahn, which made a profit with transports to the concentration camps – taking back their declared responsibility for the genocide? In any case, they are deliberately ignoring voices of the survivors. And they ignore all those whose existence is affected by an intervention in the memorial.

The monument bears witness to our history, and stands symbolically for hundreds of thousands of our ancestors whose lives were extinguished. There is often nothing more than our memory and this Memorial. The Memorial bears witness to the existence of our ancestors and thus also to our present reality.

14:00 – 16:00
Brunch with Radio Django (Sinti Swing)

19:30 Greetings:
Hamze Bytyçi, Co-Curator
Gerry Woop, State Secretary for Europe
Susanne Hauer, Allianz Kulturstiftung

Poem by Jo Clement

Concert by Riah Knight and Lindy Larsson-Forss

Concert by Iva Bittová

Exhibition With posters by:
Annemie Martin, Barby Asante, Dan Turner, Danyang Zhao, David Paraschiv, Delaine Le Bas, Durmish Kjazim, Elisa Estera Paraschiv, Emília Rigová, Esra Rotthoff, Estera Sara Stan, Gabi Jimenez, George M. Vasilescu, Jana Kießer, Jeffrey Wynne,Kálmán Várady, Krzysztof Gil, Ludovic Versace, Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Mara Lea Hohn, Marcin Tas, Marina Rosselle, Moshtari Hilal, Naomi Stan, Nihad Nino Pušija, Nomadic Seeds, Roland Korponovics, Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv (RJSaK), Sead Kazanxhiu, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Sujatro Ghosh, Valérie Leray, Wir Sind Hier! With videos by: Charles Newland, Edis Galushi, K.A.G.E., Kristóf Horváth, Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro, Roland Korponovics, Selma Selman

All posters are also available to take home!