German Protestants ready to confront their guilt towards Roma and Sinti


Central Europe


Roma woman who wears a traditional outfit pays respect for the victims inside the memorial room during a ceremony marking the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, held at the Holocaust Memorial in Bucharest, Romania. Photo EPA, Robert Ghement

The German Protestant Churches have been silent about their complicity in persecuting and murdering Sinti and Roma during the Nazi era. Now, the Protestant Church of Germany (EKD) wants to break the silence.

The EKD recently publicly acknowledged its guilt towards the Sinti and the Roma, ethnic minorities that were heavily persecuted during the Second World War. The Church now announces more commitment against the discrimination the groups still suffer. That is reported by PRO. EKD Council President Annette Kurschus says that the Church carries a load of guilt through history. “It was involved in betraying people and handing them over to persecution and extermination.”

In 1933, when National Socialism started to rise in Germany, Sinti and Roma were gradually pushed towards the margins of society. The National Socialists persecuted them, and Church officials helped the Nazis to find the victims. In total, up to 500,000 Sinti and Roma were killed during the Second World War. Both the German state and the EKD denied the genocide for a long time, PRO writes.

Strong signal

Kurschus acknowledges several negative prejudices about the Roma and Sinti exist among church people. Therefore, the EKD wants to combat these visions in the field of education, for example. Furthermore, the Church seeks to support Sinti and Roma in political and social institutions.

The Central Council of German Sinti and Roma calls the acknowledgement of the EKD “historic.” It sees it as a “strong signal to outlaw anti-gypsyism, which has been deeply rooted in our society for centuries”, the Council chair, Romani Rose, said.

Jew hatred in the West

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, which took place on Friday, the Israeli ambassador in Berlin said that anti-Semitism is becoming more and more normalised in left-wing politics. That is reported by Idea. According to the ambassador, Ron Prosor, hatred of the Jews slowly trickles from the political arena into mainstream society. Even though Germany has a clear view on anti-Semitism and the media and public condemn any expression of it, he warns that “left-wing anti-Semitism is more problematic.”

Israeli President Isaac Herzog shares that concern. During his visit to the European Union, he said that anti-Semitism is not only something of “dark regimes” but also exists in the “heart of the free democratic West.” He called on member states to fight Jew hatred at all costs.



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