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Friday, 7 September 2012

Merkel to inaugurate memorial to GIPSY victims of Nazis


German Chancellor Angela Merkel will address a ceremony next month to inaugurate a memorial to murdered Roma and Sinti victims of the Nazis, sources close to the government said Thursday.
The memorial, in a central Berlin park opposite the imposing Reichstag parliament building, will be unveiled on October 24 after years of delays and a dispute over its wording.
The monument, whose construction began in December 2008, features a well brimming with dark water symbolising life, grief and remembrance and was designed by Israeli artist Dani Karavan.
Historians say the Nazis exterminated between 250,000 and 500,000 Roma in Europe during World War II.
The Roma and related Sinti, like the Jews deemed racially inferior by the Nazis, were also systematically persecuted, confined to ghettos and special camps, deported and killed.
In concentration camps such as Auschwitz and Ravensbrueck, they were subjected to grotesque medical experiments.
But West Germany did not recognise the genocide until 1982.
The government's decision to erect the monument dates back to 1992 but it has been held up by a semantic dispute.
The head of the Central Council of Sinti and Roma in Germany, Romani Rose, objected to the memorial referring to 'Gypsies', as they were known in the past but now viewed as derogatory, arguing for the use of 'Roma and Sinti'.
Germany in recent years has built a number of memorials in Berlin to commemorate the victims of Nazi persecution, including a sprawling field of stones in honour of murdered Jews and a smaller monument for gays.

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