TODAY'S ROMANI VICTIMS RECALL NAZI GENOCIDE
By Grattan Puxon email@example.com
Romani leaders gathered in Poland to commemorate the massacre of the remaining inmates in what was known as the Auschwitz Gypsy Camp.
Their murder, on the night of 1 and 2 August 1944, was but one incident in the long horror of the Nazi genocide against Roma & Sinti, which resulted in more than 500,000 deaths. However, this final solution imposed by Nazi Germany and its allies was no isolated event. Roma migrants were met by persecution and repression almost everywhere from their first arrival in Europe. Historically, one of their entry points was Byzantium and its capital Constantinople. In the twelfth century, Roma came through what is now known as Sulukule, Istanbul's Water-Tower Gate. Many thousands have since lived in the nearby mahala. It's the oldest recorded Romani quarter in Europe - and faces imminent demolition to make way for new development. The Roma of Sulukule have began a campaign to save their homes. They say the foundations of their present-day houses stand on buildings dating back 800 years - and want the area preserved as a Romani heritage site. It's hoped to interest UNESCO and other international institutions in such a project.
Meanwhile, Sulukule Roma aim to broaden their efforts through a twinning of the ancient quarter with Dale Farm, the largest Travellers' community England; a brand new village also under threat of the bulldozer.
On Tuesday (1 Aug), both communities held events to remember the destruction of the Gypsy Camp at Auschwitz. They hope those in power will get the message - and perhaps revoke plans to go down a similar road and liquidate their homes and lives.