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Monday, November 12, 2012

Homage to forgotten Sinti, Roma: they must not have died in vain

Ravensbrück (Germany) Memorial plaque in
Rose garden by Wall of Nations
"In memory of the Sinti and Roma
victims of the Nazi genocide"

“Requiem for Auschwitz” − Roger Moreno Rathgeb
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

“… Fighting prejudice, with choir and violin”

Public opinion generally has refused to recognize the Roma and Sinti as victims of the Holocaust so they have been deprived of the protection provided by historic memory.

The Romedia Foundation believes

[t]he moral consequences of the Nazi genocide must be extended to the Roma and Sinti [because] only by acknowledging the past [can] we understand how hatred in the present represents a deeper threat.

For twenty years, the foundation has challenged the discrimination faced by the Roma people in Hungary and across Europe. In recent times, Romedia implemented the “Requiem for Auschwitz” project consisting of the program series: concert, film festival, art exhibition, and a digital online exhibition.

To all victims
The “Requiem for Auschwitz” premiere and launch occurred in Amsterdam on May 3, 2012, and moved across Europe:

May 3, 2012 in Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam; and May 4, 2012 in Tillburg; August 1, 2012 in Krakow, St. Catherine Church; October 10, 2012 in Bucharest, Atheneul; October 24, 2012 in Frankfurt, Alte Oper; November 4, 2012 in Prague, Rudolfinum; November 6, 2012 in Budapest, Mupa – Palais of Arts.

 The composition “Requiem for Auschwitz”

Riccardo M Sahiti
“Requiem for Auschwitz”Choir
“Requiem for Auschwitz” honoring all victims of the Nazi-regime is performed by the Roma and Sinti Philharmonic Orchestra from Frankfurt am Main, a 60-member choir, and four outstanding Hungarian soloists. Its conductor is  Riccardo M Sahiti. The work’s composer is Dutch Sinti musician Roger Moreno Rathgeb. The International Gipsy Festival Tillburg together with five partner countries arranged performances of the piece.

“Requiem for Auschwitz” is catalogued as a 21st century mass (Text/libretto: Latin mass) composed in 2009 “in memory of victims of Auschwitz.”

The composer Roger Moreno Rathgeb
His reflection on Auschwitz:
 Roger Moreno Rathgeb

Voices of dead souls cry out from ash-soaked soil into the ears of visitors, help-seeking hands seize them by the throat. …

If all this really happened according to the will of God, I am convinced that we owe our freedom to all of these tormented souls.

With this requiem, Roger Moreno Rathgeb not only commemorates the dead; he also makes a musical contribution to the commemoration of victims on behalf of the Sinti and Roma; and helps to create a living monument in reconciliation and mutual respect, that these dead will not have died in vain.

Roger Moreno Rathgeb is a Dutch Sinti composer, born (1956) in Zürich, Switzerland. He reportedly had worked on “a requiem for the victims of Auschwitz” ─ a 60-minute composition for symphony orchestra, choir and soloists – long before its publication. He visited Auschwitz, was deeply affected by what he experienced there, and for a time set the work aside. He later returned to the composition and finished it in 2009.

Background: Sinti, Roma, Gypsy

In The Middle Ages, Sinti arrived in Germany and Austria. Groups expanded into France and into Italy and Eastern Europe (mainly what are now Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia), and eventually adopted various regional names.

The Sinti and Roma who migrated into Germany in the late 15th century “converted to Christianity.” Nonetheless, they were still generally accused of being beggars and thieves.
 Roma and Sinti
Philharmonic Orchestr

By 1899, the police kept a central register on Gypsies. Considered by the National Socialists to be racially inferior, Sinti and Roma were persecuted throughout Germany during the Nazi period ─ the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 often being interpreted to apply to them as well as the Jews.

Adolf Eichmann recommended that the ‘Gypsy Question’ be ‘solved’ simultaneously with the Jewish Question, resulting in the deportation of the Sinti to clear room to build homes for ethnic Germans.

Some were sent to Poland or elsewhere. Others were confined to designated areas. Many were gassed.

In concentration camps, the Sinti were forced to wear either a black triangle, indicating their classification as ‘asocial.’ or a brown triangle, specifically reserved for Romani people.

Sinti or Sinta or Sinte (sing. masc. Sinto; sing. fem. Sintisa) is the name of a Romani or Gypsy population in Europe. Traditionally nomadic, in earlier times living on the outskirts of communities, today only a small percentage are “unsettled.”

Sources and notes: REQUIEM FOR AUSCHWITZ           

“Requiem for Auschwitz,” complete concert registration of the world premiere in Amsterdam, 3rd .mpg, YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDn0L6ZXmkk

Requiem for Auschwitz − Period: 21st century; Composed in: 2009; Musical form: mass; Text/libretto: Latin mass; In memory of: the victims of Auschwitz

“Requiem for Auschwitz – fighting prejudice, with choir and violin,” November 7, 2012,

Requiem for Auschwitz (by Roger Moreno-Rathgeb) world premiere in Amsterdam on 3-5-2012, played by the Roma and Sinti Philharmonics under direction of Riccardo M. Sahiti.
Information about CD’s or DVD’s at the ALFA foundation



The Requiem for Auschwitz project is realized through a partnership of:
•    Alfa Stichting/International Gipsy Festival Tillburg – the Netherlands – initiator of the project
•    o.s. Slovo 21/Khamoro World Roma Festival – the Czech Republic – partner of the project
•    Roma People Association – Poland – partner of the project
•    Romedia Foundation for Hungary – Hungary – partner of the project
•    National Centre for Roma Culture Romano Kher – Romania – partner of the project.

The following persons have offered their support to the project:
•    Václav Havel, ex-president of the Czech Republic
•    Lászlo Andor, member of the European Commission
•    Valeriu Nicolae, director of Policy Centre for Roma and other minorities, Bucharest
•    Ian Hancock, director of the Program of Romani Studies and the Romani Archives and Documentation Center at the University of Texas at Austin.


Roger Moreno (born as Roger Rathgeb, October 8, 1956): a Dutch Sinti composer born in Zürich, Switzerland. Roger Moreno Rathgeb is a musician who, as many Sinti musicians was self-taught, but at later age learned to make staff notations and started composing his own works.


Image: Ravensbrück Memorial plaque in rose garden by wall of nations "In memory of the Sinti and Roma victims of the Nazi genocide"

Ravensbruck: Nazi German concentration camp for women (Frauenlager) located in a swamp near the village of Ravensbrück, 50 miles (80 km) north of Berlin. Ravensbrück served as a training base for some 3,500 female SS (Nazi paramilitary corps) supervisors who staffed it and other concentration camps. There were 34 satellite camps attached to Ravensbrück, many of them at military industrial plants. Britannica

Google translation at http://www.wortgewan.de/2012/05/08/requiem-fur-auschwitz-to-all-victims-of-auschwitz-and-the-holocaust-from-roger-moreno-rathgeb/


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