Memorial to the Sinti and Roma

Memorial to the Sinti and Roma






The memorial, designed by the Israeli artist Dani Karavan, is a circular pool of water with a triangular concrete plinth at its centre, on which a fresh flower is to be placed each day.

The words of Auschwitz, a poem by Italian Santino Spinelli, are formed in the metal surround of the pool in German:

Eingefallenes Gesicht, erloschene Augen, kalte Lippen. Stille. Ein zerissenes Herz, ohne Atem, ohne Worte, keine Tränen.
and English:

Pallid face, dead eyes, cold lips. Silence. A broken heart without breath, without words, no tears.

Violin music, at times almost imperceptible, plays in the background and seems to bounce around the clearing in which the memorial is located.

Partly surrounding the site is an opaque glass wall with a timeline tracing the genocide.

The memorial has its own protracted history. The suffering of the Sinti and Roma people was not officially recognised by the German government until the then Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, did so in 1982, 37 years after the end of the war.

A further ten years passed before it was agreed in 1992 that a monument should be erected and a decision on its location wasn’t made until 2001.

There were then more delays while the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma debated the wording to be associated with the memorial, particularly the possible use of the term ‘gypsy’.


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