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Life Talk!

December 19th 2012 - or 19th of December 2012 in British English - in Germany




At first I thought about waiting until 27th of January, because firstly I don’t want to disturb anybody with a subject like this only days before Christmas and secondly the 27th of January is the more popular day, since it is a real day of mourning while the 19th December is a mere commemorate day. When I realized that the Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international event, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to tell you something most of you don’t know already.

Thus I decided to write about 19th of December which in Germany is the day when we mourn the deaths of the Sinti and Roma who got murdered by German and Austrian nazis during World War 2. They chose this date, because 19th of December 1944 was the last time that they gassed so-called “gypsies” in an extermination camp. Anyway on that day – unlike January 27th – most people still have to go to work /school /university etc., but we still use this day to honor the Sinti and Roma who died almost seventy years ago.

Extremely young Germans may be too young to learn about things like this, but when I went to Secondary School our class teacher used this day to hold a little speech on how it upsets her that most people do as if they only had to show respect towards the milions of Jews who died back then simply because by far they are the largest group murdered by the nazis. That day she reminded us of the fact that these SS-officers also killed Sinti and Roma, people who had a disability, people who protested against the nationalsocialists and also groups like communists, the Witnesses of Jehova, and people who defended their democratic political opinion. She reminded us of the fact that milions of non-Jews became victims of this regime as well and that they deserve our respect. In fact many Germans – not only her – see it this way. When the first memorial for the genocide on Sinti and Roma got constructed our chancellor held a speech reminding us of the fact that we already had many memorials that were several decades old to honor the Jewish and the political victims of the nazis. One Romani participant of this memorial’s inauguration even called this murder of almost a milion of Sinti and Roma the forgotten part of Holocaust and last year I found an online comment saying that this user doesn’t understand that so many Germans still are so careful with what they say about Jews, while talking bad about ”gypsies” has always been the most normal thing. One of the prisoners of the concentration camp Börgermoor was a songwriter and a composer. Thus he once composed a song about the miserable and awful living conditions they had to go through under the nazis. In German Secondary School every student has to learn this song by heart for music lessons. I remember that the day my classmates and me had to learn this for was either exactly 19th of December or only one or two days earlier. Later – during my high school years – each semester a gentleman came to us on 19th of December to hold a speech about this genocide and afterwards we always rose to have a moment of silence for these men. Those who were religious may have prayed while others just wanted to honor the dead this way. Of course on this day some newspapers like “Der Spiegel” usually also use this day to publish an article about the horrible crimes a certain number of Germans committed back then. 

December 19th 2012 is a Wednesday. On Wednesday my church usually holds a mass. So I may as well go to church this evening to pray for these victims of the nationalsocialism.

07:10 AM Dec 19 2012 |