Roma and Sinti Holocaust memorial to be built in Berlin

29th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

After years of struggling to be recognized, these groups along with gays get their wish.

Berlin (dpa) - A memorial to the millions of Roma and Sinti who perished during the Holocaust will be erected in Berlin, the German minister in charge of culture said Monday.

Bernd Neumann said the memorial and another for homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis had been given formal approval by the German parliament's cultural affairs committee.

"The road is finally clear for these monuments to be erected and inaugurated," Neumann said.

Berlin's Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit said work on the Sinti and Roma memorial would begin next month at a site in Berlin's Tiergarten park close to the federal parliament, or Reichstag.

Last month, the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, gave its support to a monument commemorating the murder of at least 500,000 members of the two ethnic minorities in Nazi extermination camps.

Bundesrat president Ole von Beust cautioned against "forgetting and blocking out" memories of the two communities, whose 12 million members make up the biggest minority in the European Union.

The German government and leaders of the Sinti and Roma communities agreed in May 2006 to build a memorial in the shape of a fountain but a dispute over the inscription and other matters relating to the design put the project on ice.

The fountain, designed by Israeli sculptor Dani Karavan, will have a poem by Italian writer Santino Spinelli on its base.

Work on the memorial to homosexuals is due to begin in the spring near the capital's landmark Brandenburg Gate. The Nazis convicted 54,000 homosexuals, some 7,000 of whom died in concentration camps.

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