16.08.2019Events we should not forget: Dikh He Na Bister. Amalipe Center joins in celebration of August 2, Roma Holocaust Day
Active young people and volunteers from the Center for interethnic dialogue and tolerance “Amalipe” participated in this year`s initiative „DIKH HE NA BISTER“, dedicated to the 75th Anniversary of the largest Roma genocide during the Second World War. It was possible due to the help of the Trust for social achievement and all of the participants are part of the Educational program of Center Amalipe – “Every student will be a winner” – chairs of school parliaments or participants in the “Equal chance – access to secondary education” program.
The aim of the event is to increase the knowledge that the young people have on the topic of Roma genocide, to develop a capacity and to motivate them to take active role in encouraging the knowledge for honouring the memory of the victims but not only – on local, national and international level. Every year the initiative is organized in Krakow, near the Auswitz-Birkenau camp.
In this year the initiative was held from 29th of June to the 4th of August. The event was coordinated by the International Roma youth network Ternipe and Documentation and Culture Center of German Roma and Sinti. This year more than 400 young Roma and non-Roma from 28 national groups from all around Europe participated. The participants had the chance to earn more knowledge about the Holocaust via lectures and discussions. They were divided in groups in which also participated witnesses from the death camps, and this made everybody to feel the horrors of that time, 75 years ago.
Part of the agenda was a visit to the Auswitz-Birkenau camp, transformed into a museum. A day before the official memorial service on 2nd of August, the Bulgarian group had the honour to participate in a conference, dedicated to the rights of Roma and the Roma genocide, and a speaker was Jesse Louis Jackson – civil rights activist and a founder of People United to Save Humanity (PUSH) and National Rainbow Coalition in USA. In the conference took part representatives of the European commission, as well as Roma, members of states parliaments and the European parliament: Mr. Ismael Kortes, member of the Spanish parliament, Soraya Post – former European MP and others, After the conference and the panel discussions the participants attended concert with the „Roma and Sinti” Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Ricardo Saiti .
On 2nd of August was the European memorial day for the Roma Holocaust. In the memorial ceremony, organized by the Central council of German Sinti and Roma with the Associations of Roma in Poland and in partnership with the State Museum Auswitz-Birkenau took part more than 1500 people: Roma from all around Europe, representatives of governments, embassies, international organizations and the society. In May 1944 the Nazi regiment starts to plan the socalled “final solution” for the “camp for the gypsy families” in Auswitz. The liquidation of the “Gypsy camp” is planned for 16th of May 1944. When the SS soldiers try to remove the prisoners from their shacks, the Roma men, women and children fight against them, armed only with sticks, instruments and stones. The soldiers are forced to leave. On 2nd of August 1944 the soldiers come again and in the gas chambers of Auswitz-Birkenau die near 3000 Roma men, women and children. It is believed that in Auswitz died around 19000 of the total 23000 Roma sent there. More information about the activities and the meetings you can find from the participants sent from Ceter “Amalipe”.
Atanas Atanasov – CIEDT “Amalipe”
Here you can find information about the whole initiative and below you can read more about our participants' impressions.
Poland-Krakow “Remember and don`t forget”
I waited with impatience the journey to Poland. I learned things that will remember my whole life. In the organized seminars we were divided in groups, we were in the best group because we were able to speak in Bulgarian and the others to understand us. I learned more about the Roma history, had a chance to improve my communication skills and learned so much about the concentration camps. We discussed important topics such as discrimination towards Roma, how they are perceived in other countries, what is the attitude towards them, how can we be different etc. We visited two concentration camps. Tears filled my eyes from the sight and from everything that happened here. To make experiments with children, pregnant women, men and experiments for which you can never think of. As I listened I felt the need to sit down, because I had no strength to continue to listen how they played with the lives of innocent people, yet I learned many things I don`t regret knowing. I am glad that I had this opportunity. We met Jesse Louis Jackson-Senior who shared great wisdom with us. I met many people, learned a lot about their countries and for our culture. I am proud to be Roma. This was amazing experience with great people. I am thankful to the team of Amalipe for the given opportunity. Thanks to you great memories were created. I love you! Nasko, I thank you too for the fact that you were with us the whole time and helped us, you are an amazing person!
Bogomila Samuilova, student from Proffesional High schools “General Vl. Zaimov”, town of Sopot
AMALIPE, I want to thank you for the opportunity to visit Krakow, Poland and for the trust you had in me to be part of the representatives of the Center and Bulgarian Roma; for the chance to learn about the culture of the Roma from different countries, to make new friends, and last but not least, to learn more about the Holocaust and the Nazi concentration camps, built and managed by Nazi Germany in Poland during the Second world war.
Even before the departure for Krakow I was filled with emotions, expecting great journey. I`ve made new friends – Atanas, Rosi and Masha. One of the most emotional days was the day of the visit in Auswitz I and Auswitz II. I woke up excited, filled with interest for the upcoming journey. We visit Auswitz I first, where in the beginning was suggested the concentration camp for polish prisoners. We visit the houses, museums, saw pictures, documents, pile of shoes, women hair, suitcases and children`s clothing. I felt real sadness when saw these piles as I imagined how many innocent people were killed, I can`t describe the feeling. When I saw the pictures of children, with whom they made experiments, the prostetics, I felt really bad. After we walked around Auswitz I we had lunch and back to the busses for a visit in Auswitz II. It was not that renovated, we went through the trails where millions of people were brought there, we saw a train carriage, shaks, where they lived, we saw the pools where people have died, we saw the fences with electricity; the gas chambers and the separate camp for Roma and Sinti, brought a lot of emotions, I have no words to describe what I felt. After the travel we went to the hotel, we had time for rest and to discuss what we saw, I saw many disturbed face. One of the topics was discrimination. I learnt that it exists not only in Bulgaria and is a significant problem. We`ve met survivors from the camps, we took pictures with Jesse Jackson. During these days I made many new friends, the goodbye was hard, I hope to meet some of these people again. I can tell that I have friends form Hungary, Serbia, Greece, Turkey and Lithuania. The beautiful Center, the cafes and souvenir shops, the horse carriages, and the horses were amazing; the old Krakow and the castle – magnificent place, captured in many pictures and memories. These are my impressions of our journey, I`ve missed something for sure or haven`t described it as well as I feel it.Amazing experience, great people, new knowledge, new friends. I thank you from the depth of heart!
Stoyan Atanasov, participant in the “Equal chance” program, village of Kochevo, Plovdiv
Experienced and rationalized by Masha Viktorova
In Krakow, at the Memorial day, in the days of meetings and hours for walks.
THANK YOU! I start with a thanks not because of good manners, but because it is true. BRAVO! I start with a compliment, but not because I want to fawn, but because it is deserved. NEVER AGAIN! It is not a thing, it comes from heart and soul. I work on the topic of Holocaust and know facts and events. But the meeting with this evil place again and again makes me say without a doubt, NEVER AGAIN, NOONE DESERVES TO TRAVEL TOWARD THIS, NOONE SHOULD REMEMBER, BECAUSE HE SURVIVED THIS, NEVER AGAIN.
„Dikh he na bister“ is an initiative that gathers hundreds of young Roma to honour the memory of the Roma victims of the Holocaust. Hundreds of people, speaking several languages, interested in the life in Europe, hundreds who know the traditions and the culture of their community. Hundreds of young Roma who are becoming better people, because by meeting the past you become a better HUMAN.
The group of young people I was part of / for the event I dyed my hair, after all I know about the Zulu people/, supported by CIEDT “Amalipe”, experienced something exciting. The travel is always an adventure, especially when it is for the first time.
During the work sessions we shared facts from our countries in terms of discrimination, we share specific moments of the education process and the way of living. For me it was interesting to hear about the life in tabor of the Roma from Lithuania, the forced early marriages in Bosna and Herzegovina and the indifference of the authorities, the segregation in Finland. Interesting and radical for me was the approach to the problems from one of the participants from Serbia, who follows the logic “an eye for an eye”. There are problems with discrimination in every country, every group shared examples. The visit in Auswitz and the Memorial day. I was impressed not only by the great organization of the event but the scale.
The meeting with this horrifying museum is shaking and even in the moments when you are looking for your bus or your group, you imagine the thousands brought here to be murdered, looking for a relative or a friend. Even the train rails are scary. The pictures are evidence – back then and today.
In the Memorial day the only problem were some inconsistencies with the translation process, but they didn`t affect the event. Our group had the chance to take a picture with Jesse Louis Jackson.
Masha Victorova, teacher from Otec Paysii Secondary school, member of Every student can be a winner network
YOU CAN EXPECT SOON THE STORIES OF THE OTHER PARTICIPANTS AS WELL
The participation of our representatives in the initiative was realized with the support of the Trust for Social Achievement.
Trust for social achievement (TSA) is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to break the vicious circle of poverty by promoting opportunities that help Bulgaria's underprivileged people achieve educational and economic success. TSA supports programs that, with their integrity, potential for growth and transparency, help improve the well-being of the poorest people in Bulgaria, with a particular focus on the Roma.