Sinti and Roma - A Clarification of Terminology
Sinti are members of the minority who live mainly in Western and Central Europe, while Roma tend to live in Eastern and South-Eastern European countries. Around twelve million Sinti and Roma live in Europe today. This makes them the largest and most widely discriminated against minority in Europe. They are still fighting against everyday racism, prejudice based on stereotypes and discrimination rooted in history. Sinti and Roma is not only the politically correct term, but also appears in historical sources from the 18th century and is now officially used by international organisations such as the UN or the Council of Europe. European history has influenced the Sinti and Roma minority - presumably as early as the 13th and 14th centuries, Roma from India and the region of present-day Pakistan came to Central, Western and Northern Europe. Sinti and Roma never had their own state or government that stood up for them.
The occupation of Czechoslovakia
In September 1938, the Western powers had accepted Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland on the German-Czechoslovakian border as part of the Munich Agreement. Despite his commitment under the Agreement to guarantee the continued existence of the remaining Czechoslovak state, Hitler occupied the whole of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 and threatened to bomb Prague should there be any resistance. The area was proclaimed the "Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia". This annexation clearly demonstrated Hitler's expansionist aims to the world community. The Western powers and the Soviet Union refused to recognise the protectorate and were concerned about the fact that Czechoslovakia's chemical and metal companies that were important for the war industry, were now in German hands. Despite its nominal status as an "autonomous administrative unit", the Protectorate was subject to German rule. Independent decisions that were not "in keeping with the political, military and economic interests of the Reich" could therefore no longer be made.
German tanks in Prague
© 1939 fotografiert, Fotograf:in unbekannt
The Wannsee Conference
On 20 January 1942, high ranking representatives of the Nazi regime gathered in a villa at Wannsee in Berlin for a conference under the leadership of SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich. On the agenda was the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" (Endlösung der Judenfrage), i.e. the mass murder of European Jews. The contents of the meeting were documented by Adolf Eichmann, who was the conference minutes taker. By the time of the Wannsee Conference, the murder of the Jews had long been in full swing.
The building of the Wannsee Conference in Berlin-Wannsee
Free Art Licence © A. Savin, 2014