Germany unveils memorial for Roma
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Merkel (C) says this horrific chapter of German history filled her with ‘sorrow and shame.’ EPA photoGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel has opened a somber memorial to the half million Roma and Sinti murdered by the Nazis, as she warned of still rampant discrimination against the minority.
The long-delayed monument, a round pool of water with a stone triangle at the center on which a single fresh flower will be placed each day, sits opposite the Reichstag Parliament building in central Berlin.
A timeline recounting how the Nazi extermination drive unfolded stands next to the memorial. “Auschwitz,” a haunting poem by Italian writer and composer Santino Spinelli, is inscribed in English and German around the rim of the dark pool.
Merkel, who was visibly moved during a solemn inauguration ceremony, said this horrific chapter of German history filled her with “sorrow and shame.”
“This memorial remembers a group of victims that was too long ignored,” she said, noting that the West
German government only acknowledged the genocide in 1982.
“It commemorates the unspeakable injustice that was inflicted on you,” she told the audience including several elderly survivors.
The Nazis deemed the Roma and related Sinti like the Jews to be racially inferior, and unleashed a systematic campaign of oppression against them. Historians estimate nearly 500,000 Roma men, women and children across Europe were killed between 1933 and 1945, halving a population with roots in Germany dating back six centuries.