GlobalPost, October 24, 2012
BERLIN, Germany — Almost 70 years after the end of World War II, Germany has unveiled a memorial to the up to half-a-million Roma and related Sinti people murdered by the Nazis.
The memorial, a dark, circular pool of water with a triangular plinth in the center — where a fresh flower will be placed every day — stands in the capital’s Tiergarten park near the Reichstag.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck joined politicians and representatives of the Roma and Sinti communities, as well as 100 elderly Holocaust survivors for the unveiling ceremony.
“Every single fate in this genocide is a suffering beyond understanding,” Merkel said. “Every single fate fills me with sorrow and shame.”
However, representatives of the Roma and Sinti — a related people who live mostly in German-speaking Central Europe — say the memorial should also serve as a warning about ongoing discrimination across the continent today. Continue reading
GlobalPost, Jan. 17, 2012
BERLIN — Before the Nazis fled Auschwitz in January 1945, they destroyed most of the incriminating documents relating to their operation of the death camp, in which over a million people perished.
Yet, it now seems a small number of surviving documents may have resurfaced — only to disappear again.
According to Polish media reports, two unidentified Germans located three crates in south-western Poland containing documents relating to the former death camp, and then smuggled them out of the country.
The news has led the Auschwitz Museum to file a criminal complaint with Polish prosecutors and the Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation (IPN), which is responsible for investigating crimes related to the Nazi occupation of the country.
“There are several laws regarding archives, regarding historical items, that were violated,” Auschwitz Museum spokesman Pawel Sawicki told GlobalPost. “That is why we informed the Prosecutors office and the IPN.”
The museum took the step on Monday after Polish media reported that a Pole named as Mieczyslaw Bojko had helped the Germans find the crates near Przelecz Kowarska, a village near the German border. The crates were reported to contain military service records and over 100 personnel files. Continue reading
Trollmann memorial in Viktoria Park
Johann Trollmann was a young boxing star when the Nazis came to power. The highpoint of his career should have been winning the light-heavyweight title in June 1933. But Trollmann was a Sinti and he was soon stripped of his title. Before long, he would fall victim to the Nazi genocide.
It seems an odd place for a boxing ring — nestled beneath a canopy of trees in a quiet corner of Viktoria Park in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. The structure is made of concrete, its base slopes steeply in one direction and a dozen concrete spherical objects resembling boxing gloves cling to the ropes. But what’s it doing here?
Nearby, a plaque bearing a photograph of a handsome young man in boxing gloves clears up any confusion. The ring amid the trees is a temporary memorial dedicated to Johann Trollmann, a boxer who was stripped of his light-heavyweight title by the Nazis in 1933 after winning a fight just a stone’s throw away on Fidicin Strasse. There was no place for a champion like Trollmann in the Third Reich — he was a Sinti. And like half a million other Roma and Sinti, he would fall victim to the Nazis’ racial policy of annihilation, dying in a concentration camp in 1944. Continue reading