Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Who will speak for the Roma?

News that A Welsh Mayor has apologised over comments he made about Hitler and travellers at an equalities meeting.

There were claims councillor Mike Eckersley said he believed Hitler had the “right idea” about moving travellers out of the country.

But Cllr Eckersley, mayor of Prestatyn, denied this and claims that was not the thrust of what he was trying to say at a Denbighshire corporate equalities meeting.

He said: “There was a heated debate going on about what we could and could not do.

“I said Hitler had an idea of moving people to another country, but I said we were bound by Europe and there was a duty to provide for travellers.
If Councillor  Eckersley had made his comments about Hitler and the Jews then he would have been condemned by a far wider number of People but we often ignore such attacks on Travellers espicially those who are Roma.

Te extermination of Romanies was started as early as 1933 while camps were being established by the Nazis to contain Romanies at Dachau, Dieselstrasse, Mahrzan and Vennhausen. The vast majority of Romanies were to suffer the same indignities as the Jews. The Society for Threatened Peoples estimates the casualties at 277,100.] Martin Gilbert estimates a total of more than 220,000 of the 700,000 Romani in Europe, including 15,000 (mainly from the Soviet Union) in Mauthausen in January–May 1945.[28] The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum cites scholars that estimate the number of Sinti and Roma killed to lie between 220,000 and 500,000.[2] Dr. Sybil Milton, a historian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Research Institute, estimated the number of lives lost as "something between a half-million and a million-and-a-half"  see this on (Wikepedia) for more.

And yet it is largely ignored and when France insinuated a program of deporting thousands of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma as part of a crackdown on illegal camps in the country.and  Romanian citizens have the right to enter France without a visa, due to their countries of origin being in the European Union and although to its credit the Leaders of the EU protested, and some pointed out that it had echoes of French collaborators deportation of Roma during the second World War it still was not treated on the sane level as Antisemitism.

After the War there was a feeling of intentional guilt over the Holocaust and perhaps there was a reflection by governments and  people who realised the appalling discrimination against Jews in our own countries but  Roma received very little sympathy of this when we look at International Holocaust day we do not remember the fate of the Roma.

Councillor  Eckersley remarks are all too real of the prejudice that exist against Roma today and wheras there is evidence Antisemitism appears to be raising its ugly head in Europe once again. There still powerful and influential people )Jewish and Non-Jewish) who will rightly conem it . Who will speak for the Roma?


  1. Is this man a Labour councillor?

  2. Let's not forget the 2007 Llansamlet by-election where the Labour candidate circulated leaflets castigating the local Romani-descent community and promising tough action against them. On the other hand, there is a cross-party consensus at the Assembly to help travellers of all kinds so let's not make a party political point.