EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BAJRAM HALITI, GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE INTERNATIONAL ROMA UNION, LITERATE AND PUBLICIST
JOURNALISM-INFORMATIVE AGENCY OF ROMS
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BAJRAM HALITI, GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE INTERNATIONAL ROMAUNION , LITERATE AND PUBLICIST, REGARDING NOTATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBERENCE ON VICTIMS OF HOLOCAUST OVER ROMS
Literates have always been and will be the most loyal chroniclers of time in which they live and write. Literature, besides those artistic, besides literate’ personal experience of the world, contains both history, historiography, factography, politics – elements on which base we apprehend a time about writer is writing.
Literate, publicist and journalist Bajram Haliti is writing about his time. Also, he is a chronicler of after-war period of time. With his books “Roms – nation of unrighteous destiny” and “Roms affront wall of death Auschwitz ” he in-depth brighten genesis about sufferings of Roms during World War II.
With wish to openly discuss about policy of genocide, we asked general secretary of the International Roma Union – Mr. Bajram Haliti, who is regarded as one of the most important explorers of genocide over Roms in camps of the Third Reich, to give us better insight to sufferings of Roms during World War II. He published about that great number of scientific works, which has been presented to domestic and foreign publicity. However, he believes that it is final time for exploring of genocide to be institutionalized, that unremembered nazi and ustasa’s crimes could be wrest away from the oblivion.
JIAR: Mr. Haliti, is it possible at all after Auschwitz and Jasenovac to write poems or stories about sufferings of Roms and Sinties in camps of the Third Reich?
Bajram Haliti: As literate and ethic for years I have been facing with question of Teodor Adorn was after Auschwitz possible at all to write poems or stories. I was wandering should I use words in my verses that would cause tears to my readers. How to explain that to someone, who doesn’t know death from fume of crematorium, than from the books, and who marched through camps’ roads.
With what word to describe to young generations pain of gipsy mother from who were wrest child and thrown amongst those who have been destined for a gas chamber. Can a odour which is spreading from coach be described to person, a coach in which for a week death people stayed amongst live, and couldn’t fall down only because there wasn’t enough space – so that he do not start throwing up? Can anyone imagine that into cruelty of live persons always unconsciously inserted both dose of satisfaction: one less in barrack, his snoring won’t dispute others sleep. Can I describe to someone what I was feeling when I was writing rhumes about sufferings of “Roms affront wall of death Auschwitz” and stand in the corner of room in which already lied hundreds of dead and in which I would be lying for a few minutes, only that this execution haven’t been interrupted by sleep.
I’m afraid that it is impossible to transfer all those experiences. We can speak and shape our remembrances into words. But, those words, neither when readers lustly accept them, aren’t becoming reality in their heads. What happened in Third Reich evades to any power of imagination.
JIAR: Tell us when and where have been brought decision about notation of the international day of remembrance on victims of holocaust over Roms?
Bajram Haliti: Decision about proclamation of the International day of remembrance on victims of holocaust was brought by ERTF, on proposal of president Rutko Kawcinski, on international session about Anticiganism, which has been held on 29. and 30th June this year in Strasbourg , having in mind unremembered victims of Romany nation. For date have been determined 2nd august – day when during World War II disappeared around 3,5 millions of Roms. Day of holocaust over Roms have been proclaimed as sign of remembrance on 16th December 1942, when commander of SS troops and Gestapo of Nazi Germany Heinrich Himler issued order that Roms from European countries under fascist occupation should be deported into “family camp” Auschwitz-Birkenau. According to available data, after Himler’ order, in that camp has been deporter around 25.000 Roms, and historians concluded that only in night between 3rd and 4th August 1944 more then 4.000 persons, including children and old people, have been sent to crematorium.
The most complete description of this tragedy was given by Cristian Bernadak in a book “Forgotten holocaust”, in which he brought evidences that over Roms-campers have been executed the most terrible experiments.
International day of holocaust over Roms is denoted today across the world, by giving away honor to victims of racial proscription, in which during World War II disappeared more than 3,5 million of Roms – and especially in European countries, which survived golgoth of the World War II. In that world clash, some nation were faced with total annihilation, 53 millions of people lost their lives, from which near 31 millions of civilians. Still, the greatest victims of nazi ideology “blood and dirt” were Jews, then Roms and Sinties.
International day of remembrance on victims of holocaust is denoted today with array of manifestations and programs, and a central commemoration will be held at Memorial to victims of the World War II in Auschwitz , where Romany priest will serve religious sacrament. By organizing visits to ill-spoken nazi camps – Dahau, Auschwitz , Buhenvald, Mathauzen and placing wreaths on monuments to innocent victims of Nazism and fascism will be given honor to victims of racial pogrom.
JIAR: More than 65 years passed since World War II was finished, and still there are discussions held about were Roms victims of holocaust. Your comment?
Bajram Haliti: In Europe there are almost no works that are dealing with this subject. Authors mainly only by the way mention crimes which has been committed over Roms and Sinties.
Genocide over Roms and Sinties caused in Europe , according to some counts, around 3,5 million of victims. Historians are forgetting those 3,5 million of Roms who disappeared in fume of crematorium or bonfires which have been established by Nazis. However, that is a fact, in majority of works that are dealing with world of concentrating camps: not even a line, even a phrase. Silence. Oblivion. Gypsies. Unknown.
JIAR: Were Roms part of program of national-socialistic party of Adolph Hitler?
Bajram Haliti: Annihilation of Roms was part of program of national-socialistic party. National-socialistic party soon proposed and proclaimed legal regulation about racial qualification, apropos battle against Gipsy danger, and knowledge which are giving racial ideology to us, they proved that the best method in solving of Gipsy problem is to treat them as racial problem.
JIAR: Tell us when deportation of Roms into concentrating camps began?
Bajram Haliti: In December 1942, Himler signed a main warrant for deportation of all Roms inGermany . Although Himler allowed some exceptions from deporting, that was often ignored on local level. Even soldiers in German army (Wehrmacht) who were on absence were closed and deported as Roms.
Roms in Germany have been deported to Auschwitz , where have been allocated special camp for them in Auschwitz-Birkenau (Gipsy family camp). Complete families have been jointly imprisoned. Nazis selected Auschwitz as a polygon for “ultimate solution of Gipsy issue”. In 1942, warrant has been issued that Roms should be arrested on territory of Reich . Roms have been tortured in transport with insomnia and terrible conditions of traveling, in regular closed coaches for cattle, in which they were strangling, especially in summer period of time. After they would exit from coach, they have been awaited with jabs of SS troops, after they have been re-ordered in column by 10 persons. All of them have been tortured, they breathed hardly, and many of them were wounded. Platform of station was surrounded by armed SS troops and police dogs. After they exited, there have been leaded to square where all valuables and valuable personal things were taken from them.
JIAR: Tell us about experiments which have been performed over Roms in Nazi camps?
Bajram Haliti: Experiments that have been performed over Roms in Nazi camps are hard to explain with words. About that is recited in reports of spectators which Bernadak mentioned in book “Forgotten holocaust”. Roms experienced worst torments. In long array of German crimes nothing is so terrible as a martyr death of Roms. All kinds of violence have been tried on them. More often than any other nation, they were serving as guinea-pigs for “scientific experiments”, and even if few Germans have been sterilized in Ravensbrick as a punishment, what is that in compare with serial sterilizations of Roms – including girls.
So in block 9 lied 9 years old girl with great open wound on her stomach, which didn’t stopped to suppurate. But why wound haven’t been sew up? Was that only about immorality towards unneeded “Guinea-pig”, after its organs have been removed? Does maybe that wound serve to SS researchers to observe exposed organs and their decomposition? Any objective was for them, girl were dying for few days in worst sufferings. How many Roms have been exposed to most drastic experiments with attenuated air, waterish and dry freezing, with malaria and sulfamid preparations, sea water, different viruses, poisoned bullets, effect of fire-bombs, healing of flegms with bio-chemical resources, transplantation of bone kernel,…
Mengele was especially interested for twins. Gipsy children called him uncle Mengele. When he would arrive to Gipsy camp, children ascended to his encounter, because he often brought to them chocolates during inspection of those 16 couples of twins, on whom experiments were performed. One day, he personally came to take them to crematorium. Children, it looks, recognized what will happen, and they bagged him to live them in life. Mengele disbelieved them, he compelled them to climb into his car, and he himself tookthem to crematorium.
Crimes are gendering, thorny than thornier, terrible than terrible. But, how can be hell compared, most-terrible destiny tasted Lui Simon. Simon, who had Gipsy origin, served before imprisonment in Legion of strangers, so he had body with tattoos. When agents noted that, they gave to him couple of injections so entire his body bloated like a balloon. In Buhenvald, his skin has been skinned off and it served as decoration to writing desk of camp’ commander.
In autumn 1938, commander of camp Koh ordered to imprison some Rom, who tried to escape, in great crate in which upper side have been sticked iron bullions. Then Koh ordered to stick long nails on bottom plates, so on every move of prisoner they sticked deeply into his meet. In that crate Rom have been exposed affront entire camp. They didn’t gave him to eat, and so he spend 2 days and 3 nights on Appellplatz (square where roll-call usually occurred). His terrible creaks weren’t human anymore. In morning next day, they saved him from suffers, and poisoned him with injection.
JIAR: Is it know how many Roms died as consequence of all pseudo-scientific experiments?
Bajram Haliti: Yes, it is known – 300 Roms and Sinties..
JIAR: By what has been recognized all prisoners in concentrating camps?
Bajram Haliti: In camps, all detainees wear signs with different shapes and colours. Roms wear black triangle mends, symbol for “asocial” or greens, symbol for “professional criminals”. Signs sometimes included letter “Z” fir “Zigeuner”, a German word for Gipsy.
JIAR: What could you tell to us about Nirnberg’ laws?
Bajram Haliti: Nirnberg’g laws have been executed on Roms through medicine and anthropologic researches, imprisonments and sterilization. Nazis tended to suppress Roms to mix with other persons of “German blood”. In eyes of Nazis, Roms were “asocial”, and didn’t included into kind of society which Nazis should build.
JIAR: Is it known exact number of executed Roms and Sinties?
Bajram Haliti: Exact number of executed Roms and Sinties isn’t known, because by living on margins of European countries, they didn’t entered into official statistics. It is believed that number of victims is greater than 3,5 million. Reason for not knowing exact number of dead Roms isn’t only in lack of official statistic, then because there isn’t really interest to find out that number. It should be pointed out that neither approximate number of victims of genocide hasn’t been stipulated, which represents a crime, injustice towards innocent victims. Few guilty persons have been called for responsibility, and justice haven’t been satisfied. On that way, possibility of restoration of genocide crime is still open, which is in opposition with International convention about stoppage and punishment of genocide crimes. Gipsy victims haven’t been recompensed. No-one calculated how many less Roms are today as consequence of genocide crime. Because of that, it is needed to perform listing of dead Roms in Auschwitz and all other camps of Third Reich, from village to village, from town to town, and, by the way, collect remembrances of all killed Roms and Sinties.
JIAR: Explain to us sourcing of word holocaust?
Bajram Haliti: Holocaust (greek olokauston: completely burned, from prefix olo and kauston, burned) is sacrifice immolation to gods or souls of deceased at Greeks or Romans, whereby usually (differently from other types of sacrifices) were burned entire scarifying animal. At old Israelis existed analogue sacrament of burning entire lamb (Hebrew olam kahl: devastation with fire).
Word holocaust were firstly used for that genocide (which Jews marks with Hebrew word Soa – trouble, devastation) by spiritual synod of protestant’ churches of Western Germany . Gradually, that expression entered into generall usage, and today that is a primary meaning of word. It is used because of its special significance and intensity of hate against Jew and ideological judgment of Judaism, which is isolated from treatments towards other Nazis victims, and has its deep roots in Christian civilization (anti-Semitism).
Holocaust is name for systematic state persecution and genocide over different ethnic, religious and political groups of people during World War II from side of Nazi Germany and its cooperators. In early examples of holocaust are included pogrom during Crystal night and Euthanasia program T-4, which later developed into usage of death squads and concentrating camps, as well as mass and central organized efforts to kill every possible member of communities on which Nazis aimed.
JIAR: Starting from Annihilation in World War II, there should be initiated issues of humanity, democracy and equal value of all people – your comment?
Bajram Haliti: So far, on this issue only Swedish government done something, when in June 1997 on head with president of government Geran Persson, Karl Bilt, Olof Johansson, Lars Leijonborg, Mariann Samuelssen and Alf Svensson started initiative for wide informative enterprise about Annihilation under title Live history.
JIAR: Fascism and Nazism caoused to much evel to mankind to be such quickly forgotten
Bajram Haliti: Those evels even shouldn’t be forgotten! Remembrance on them, as darkest part of newer human history, is in interest of all nations and societies of the world. That is in interest of nations and those countries on whose territory fascism sprouted as ideology and as form of authority. Ideology of fascism isn’t even near removed from minds of individuals, groups and entire layers, as their notional and political orientation, yet this ideology is finding its renovation in organization and activity of its old and new supporters.
JIAR: What could you recommend at the end of our talk?
Bajram Haliti: Based on established facts, spectators, historical and legal documents, it is undoubt that during World War II has been executed genocide crime over Roms.
We ask from United Nations to include us into annual commemorations of holocaust.
That’s why it is needed to provide program of publishing activity in aim of informing publicity about genocide crime over Roms.
To collect on one location all available documentation about sufferings of Roms in World War II, especially about genocide victims.
To ask from European Council in Strasbourg to allow collecting all materials about genocide in one centre.
To request from European Council in Strasbourg beginning of official initiative for opening of all archives in countries in which genocide over innocent victims occurred, and that means to Roms.
To ask from European Council in Strasbourg financial resources for work on collecting of material. We can tell truth only by calling on specific material and documents.
To estasblish one institution, technically well equipped, with teams of researchers who could organizely and systematically review all funds of material, including lists of commissions for revealing crimes of Nazis and their assistants, then different publications, monographies, collections and other war literature.
To establish center for genocide, by which would be allocated place from which could be later developed a museum with staff who will assist to all interested persons.
Let’s try to create Gipsy Jad Vasem, like the most-significant museum in Jerusalim, which would testify that Romany nation was one of the most-terrible victims of genocide, and to be a genocide victim means to be killed only for being born in one nation or one religion.
To build “database” about genocide victims, with first and last name of victims, by using modern computer technology, and to identify victims and determine their number.
To ask list of killer Roms on territory of Croatia , Germany , Poland , France and all other countries where genocide over Roms occurred.
To check is there in Los Angeles and in the greatest federal museum in USA in Washington materials about genocide over Roms.
Appeal should be sent to the government of the USA to open archives of ABVER and GESTAPO, which are still under embargo in USA .
Annihilation was one of the greatest crimes against humanity that has been ever performed. Nazis killed millions of people. Today, that number looks unimaginable. And still, only 65 years passed since that happened.
All us who want to live in society that is decorated with human values, democracy and equality of all people, must rise up against ideology of violence. We can’t quietly and peacefully look while ideas of Nazism are again spreading and while their crimes are being denied. Who forgot history, he risks to see its replication.
Discussed: Aleksandar Sasa Rajkovic