A memorial to the 500,000 Sinti and Roma people who were murdered by the Nazis has been inaugurated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
It is intended to commemorate the dead and to remind people of the need to protect Europe’s 12 million-strong Roma population from discrimination and social exclusion.
“This memorial commemorates a group of victims who, for far too long, received far too little public recognition – the many hundreds of thousands of Sinti and Roma who were persecuted by the Nazis as so-called gypsies,” said Merkel.
“The destiny of every single person murdered in this genocide is one of unspeakable suffering. Every single destiny, fills us, fills me, with sadness and shame.”
“Half a million Sinti and Roma, men, women and children, were murdered during the Holocaust. Society has learned nothing, next to nothing from this, otherwise they would treat us differently,” said Dutch Sinto survivor Zoni Weisz.
His voice faltered as he described how, as a seven-year-old, he watched his father, mother, sisters and brother being deported in a train to Auschwitz concentration camp.