• Roma

    Gypsies, Roma and Travellers – an Interfaith Roundtable

    Today René Cassin held an Interfaith Roundtable on Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.  This brought together activists, professionals, academics and faith representatives to discuss various ways in which these communities face discrimination or disadvantage, both in the UK and in Europe – these include lower life expectancy, poorer educational attainment, stigmatisation by the media, forced adoption, unfavourable treatment by the police and the law, indifference or ill will from many politicians. Shay Clipson, a Welsh Romany Gypsy, who has acted as a Trustee with UK Association of Gypsy Women, gave a particularly powerful presentation. We learnt how the police seemed slow or unwilling to act in response to serious hate speech…

  • antisemitism,  History,  Roma

    Himmler’s plans for a “human zoo”

    The excellent historical twitter feed WW2 Tweets from 1943 focuses on the Nazis’ plans for Germany’s Roma and Sinti populations. Nazis ordering final extermination of Germany's gypsies: all Roma & Sinti peoples in Reich to be sent to Auschwitz. pic.twitter.com/TUPzK7wGaM — WW2 Tweets from 1943 (@RealTimeWWII) January 29, 2015 Himmler, head of SS, has asked to preserve 300 "pure Gypsies" in "ethnic reservation", human zoo of "subhuman races". pic.twitter.com/Mqp3mhsVln — WW2 Tweets from 1943 (@RealTimeWWII) January 29, 2015 Whether there was any place for a remnant of Jews in Himmler’s “ethnic reservation” I have no idea. I’m inclined to believe there wasn’t– even a few hundred would have been too…

  • Hungary,  Roma

    The Roma Holocaust: Remembrance and trivialisation

    As Europe’s Roma mark the 70th anniversary of the Porrajmos (Roma Holocaust), elected politicians in both Hungary and the Czech Republic have belittled their suffering. The opposition Socialists have called on Zoltan Balog, minister for human resources, to resign over his recent remarks concerning the Roma Holocaust. Deputy head of parliament’s cultural committee, Agnes Kunhalmi of the Socialists, said in a statement on Tuesday that Balog had told public Kossuth Radio that no Roma were deported from Hungary during WW2. “His words contradict all historical research and were clearly untrue and intolerable,” Kunhalmi said. The government’s efforts to relativise and deny the Porajmos, the Roma Holocaust in Hungary, are beyond…

  • History,  Roma

    A People Uncounted

    A documentary film, A People Uncounted, traces the history of the Roma people in Europe with a focus on the still under-researched and under-reported genocide they suffered (along with the Jews) during World War II. In an interview with NPR, the director Aaron Yeger said: [T]here are even cases of Roma who became friends with Jewish victims of the Holocaust during the course of being in the camps and, in some cases, were invited to emigrate to what then became the new state of Israel. I hope I don’t need to explain why, AsaJew, I find anti-Roma bigotry especially disgusting.

  • Hungary,  Roma

    The Hungarian government supports school segregation for Roma

    Cross-posted by Eva S. Balogh at Hungarian Spectrum A couple of days ago I noticed a short news item in Euraktiv.com entitled “Hungary criticizes EU Commission’s ‘lack of flexibility’ on Roma policies.” Zoltán Balog, minister of human resources, who represented Hungary at the meeting of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), wants flexibility in implementing the integration of schools. In fact, as we will see later, Zoltán Balog doesn’t believe in integration. This fact is well-known in Hungary, but it seems that the news hasn’t reached Brussels yet, as so many things don’t. Balog emphasized at the meeting that there can be no uniform Roma strategy for all EU…

  • antisemitism,  Hungary,  Roma

    Jobbik’s leader in the UK

    Today Hope not Hate has expressed their disappointment over Theresa May’s decision not to ban Gábor Vona from the UK: Sadly it seems as though the Home Secretary Theresa May has failed to ban the noted extremist leader, Gábor Vona, from the shores of the UK. ‘That he should be arriving on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, when his party and its politicians have open and disgusting antisemitic views, is all the more deplorable. I don’t think many here will disagree that Vona and his Jobbik Party are racist extremists: Vona has advocated segregation for Hungary‘s 800,000 Roma. His foreign policy spokesman Marton Gyongyosi has called for a register of Jewish people…

  • Roma

    Anti-Roma hysteria watch

    Despite the “Gypsy kidnapping” scare stories, it turns out that the blond girl who was discovered living with a dark-skinned Roma family in Greece is the daughter of a Bulgarian Roma woman who says she gave the child away because she was too poor to care for her.

  • antisemitism,  Hungary,  Roma

    Hungarian police won’t act on anti-Roma attack or on call to deport Jews

    At Hungarian Spectrum, Eva S. Balogh reports examples of Hungarian authorities’ current thinking when it comes to hate speech and incitement against minorities: She cites an article in The Economist about an August 2012 march in the town of Devecser, a victim of the red sludge that covered acres and acres of land around a factory producing aluminum. “You are going to die here,” shouted members of a 1,000-strong march as they stopped at houses they thought were a home to Roma, hurling their water bottles and stones to emphasize their point.” The Economist also mentioned that “not a peep of condemnation [came] from Fidesz.” Ever since that time the…

  • Roma

    Roma database in Sweden

    This news story reminded me of a post I wrote back in 2010 about a secret (and illegal) French Roma database: Sweden’s police have been severely criticized for compiling a secret, illegal registry of more than 4,000 Roma, including children. In a country known for human rights, ethnic equality and strict adherence to the rule of law, politicians expressed dismay at the existence of the list, confirmed by police after a report in a national daily earlier Monday. Parliamentary justice committee chairman Morgan Johansson described the list as “illegal,” saying the constitution forbids registering people by ethnicity. The country’s top police officer, Bengt Svenson, has demanded a joint meeting with…

  • Roma

    Violence and arrests at anti-Roma marches in the Czech Republic

    Anti-Roma marches in the Czech Republic have been marked by the use of tear gas by the police, and it is reported that around 100 people have been arrested.  In Ostrava and Ceske Budejovice demonstrators tried to reach areas with large Roma populations, adding to the tensions. The upsurge in anti-Roma feeling may partly have been fuelled by an article which has apparently been reproduced widely on extremist websites.  This makes unfounded claims about special privileges granted to the Roma by the Czech welfare system: Among the lies presented are that Romanies can apply and get a one-off payment of 230,000 crowns, that Romanies directly receive monthly payments for rent…