"The opening of the memorial in Berlin must be an initial step to establish a European integration project for Romani peoples."

Romani people from south-eastern Europe: STP demands extensive compensations

After the inauguration of the memorial for Romani genocide victims on October 25, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demanded "extensive compensations". "Germany must now help to ensure that this population group – which was persecuted for centuries – will no longer be attacked and discriminated. The memorial must be an initial step towards a European integration project for Romani people – especially in Serbia and Macedonia", said the STP’s Secretary General, Tilman Zülch, in Göttingen on Friday.

The human rights activist emphasized that the impoverished Roma from Serbia and Macedonia – who were denigrated as "economic refugees" by Interior Minister Friedrich – are seeking shelter in Germany because of the upcoming winter. They are afraid they might not be able to survive the cold months at home, where they are exposed to severe poverty. Therefore, it would be an act of humanity to lend a helping hand.

In the years between 1979 and 1985, the STP – supported by Simon Wiesenthal, India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the former President of the European Parliament, Simone Veil – managed to convince Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and President Karl Carstens to recognize the genocide of the "European Gypsies", to grant pensions for those who were persecuted and to repatriate the displaced Sinti refugees from the German Eastern Territories. Like other German people from these regions, the Sinti who survived the concentration camps also became victims of forced displacement.