Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Exhibition: The Holocaust Against the Roma and Sinti and Present Day Racism

The third edition of Gypsy, Roma and Taveller History Month is taking place this month. To mark the event, a mobile exhibition entitled ''The Holocaust against the Roma and Sinti and present day racism in Europe,'' will take place in east London.

This is the first mobile English-language exhibition on the Nazi genocide against the Sinti and Roma. The prime goal of the exhibition is to examine the holocaust against the Roma and Sinti, and, above all, the extent to which Europe as a whole was involved. The comprehensive final part of the exhibition focuses on present-day racist discrimination against the Sinti and Roma.

In most European countries today the vast majority of people remain totally unaware of the National Socialist genocide of the Roma and Sinti minority which claimed some 500,000 victims during the Second World War. As a consequence of the failure to overcome this ignorance the racist clich├ęs and stereotypes about the Roma and Sinti, which were heavily influenced by Nazi propaganda, persist until the present day. These prejudices, passed down the generations, are among the main reasons for the perpetual wave of racially motivated crimes of violence which are still being committed against the Roma and Sinti in Europe today. Roma and Sinti suffer discrimination and prejudice in all social strata: a disadvantaged minority numbering some 10 million.

Against this backdrop, the exhibition seeks to impart a greater appreciation of the past in an attempt to help dissolve current situations of conflict. In focussing on the Holocaust against the Roma and Sinti and its European dimension, the main aim is to expose a crime against humanity which to this day eludes all historical comparison and remains unimaginable in its enormity. Like the Jews, the Roma and Sinti were rounded up, disenfranchised, ghettoised and finally deported to the extermination camps, all in the name of National Socialist racial ideology. With no respect for persons and individuals, National Socialism subjected infants and the elderly alike to the same de-humanising treatment. The National Socialists denied these people the right to exist, collectively and definitively, merely because they had been born Sinti, Roma or Jews.

As regards content, the exhibition is subdivided into four areas. The first part documents the beginning disenfranchisement of the German Roma and Sinti following the National Socialist accession to power up to the outbreak of the Second World War and the first deportations to occupied Poland. The second part of the exhibition covers the genocide of the Roma and Sinti in Nazi-occupied Europe. The exhibition seeks to highlight the distinctive features of the persecution in the different occupied and allied states, against the backdrop of the overarching themes common to the National Socialist extermination policy. The third major area documents the systematic homicide of Sinti and Roma from virtually every European country in the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.

Finally, the fourth part of the exhibition picks out the main developments since 1945 in Europe, turning the spotlight on the public avoidance to confront and acknowledge the Nazi genocide against the Roma and Sinti and on the emergence of the civil rights movement in the Federal Republic. One particular emphasis is on current forms of discrimination against the national Roma and Sinti minorities in Central and Eastern Europe. Using selected examples, the exhibition demonstrates that Roma and Sinti are increasingly subject to open and violent racism and continued social prejudice.

Holocaust against the Roma Sinti exhibition
2 - 20 June.
The Art Pavilion
Mile End Arts Park off grove Road
Tower Hamlets
London E35BH
12:00 - 6:00pm Tuesday - Saturday
12:00 - 4:00pm sundays.
There will be a late night showing on June 3rd untill 10pm.

Official Launch Event
8 June, 1:30 – 4pm
Reception hosted by the German Embassy
Confirmed speakers include Mr Romani Rose, the respected academic and writer about the Roma Sinti Holocaust, Donald Kenrick, the deputy German Ambassador Dr.Eckhard L├╝bkemeier, and Romany Academic Damian Le Bas Jr.
RSVP: evasajovic@yahoo.com

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