Antigypsyism and Racism in Past and Present Europe

 Venue: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Ave. Michel Ange 11, 1000 Brussels

Languages: German with simultaneous translation into English

Organisation: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels Office

Contact: Anna Striethorst

Antigypsyism is deeply rooted in European society. Still today hate-speech against Roma is widely accepted in the media and in public speech. The public conference highlighted examples of modern Antigypsyism, experts spoke about its background and its worst consequences. The conference further gave perspectives on what can be done to overcome this century-old phenomenon. It took place on the 11th of May, 2010 in Ave. Michel Ange 11 in Brussels. The same day, the European Parliament held a Hearing on the genocide of Roma and Sinti in National Socialism.

The conference was opened by Romani Rose, Head of the Council of German Sinti and Roma. Romani Rose had to experience himself the worst consequences of Antigypsyism: Several members of his family, including his grandparents, were murdered in Nazi concentration camps.

Joachim Brenner from Förderverein Roma e.V., artist Bernd Rausch, Maria Strauss, Ursula Rose and Patrizia Siwak, relatives of victims of National Socialism, opened the documentary-artistic exhibition "Frankfurt Auschwitz". The exhibition was presented for the first time at the 65th anniversary of the liquidation of the so called "Zigeunerlager" in Auschwitz in August, 1944. It names the culprits, speaks about the fate of Roma and Sinti in Auschwitz and highlights the memories of victims and survivors. Pictures by the German artist Bernd Rausch speak about the effacement of individuals as well as of the community Roma and Sinti in National Socialism. The exhibition was open for the public from 11th May until 11th June 2010 in the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels Office.

Futher a presentation on “Antigypsyism: an accepted form of racism in modern Europe?” took place. Dr. Udo Engbring-Romang from the Society for the Research of Antigypsyism discussed examples of Antigypsyism in contemporary research and in the media. María Fernández Molinero from the European Commission gave an overview of the most recent developments of EU legislation in the fight against racism and xenophobia, namely the Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law. Ivan Ivanov, director of the European Roma Information Office (ERIO), shared his personal and professional experiences in fighting Antigypsyism from the European level.

The conference was closed by Dr. Cornelia Ernst. In her work as a member of the European Parliament Cornelia Ernst is vigorously fighting the current deportations of Kosovo Roma in Germany, thereby emphasizing Germany´s historic responsibility towards the Roma.

>> Antigypsyism and Racism in Europe - Conference report
>> Poster of conference (PDF)

Further information:

>> Conference programm
>> Works of the Artist Bernd Rausch