© Rolf Krahl / CC BY 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)“
Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) plans to partially block or even relocate the “Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism” in Berlin’s Tiergarten Park. According to the current plans of Deutsche Bahn AG, “one of the most important future projects of the Berlin railway network” (quote from German Rail statement) is to be built here near the Reichstag building: a new City-S-Bahn line as an additional north-south link for the main station. Not only Sinti and Roma, but also German Jews and other groups to whom the memory of Shoa and Porrajmos is important will resist.
On the web portal http://www.change.org, a petition is currently running as the first sign of a hopefully broadly supported protest against the railway plans that jeopardize the hard-won memorial inaugurated in 2012 (https://www.change.org/p/deutsche-bahn-ag-das-mahnmal-der-ermordeten-sinti-roma-bleibt) . The managers of Deutsche Bahn seem to have a short memory. When configuring the S-Bahn line, which is to divide after undercrossing the Spree river in order to bypass the Reichstag on the right and left, they simply overlooked the memorial on the south side of the Reichstag building. If their plans go through, the western S-Bahn line will run exactly across the location of the memorial. As one hears from discussions of the Memorial Foundation and the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma with German Rail representatives, the latter were very surprised that someone might be against simply dismantling the memorial and moving it elsewhere. They remembered even less the fact that the German railways benefited quite well from the deportations of the Sinti, Roma, Jews and other victims’ groups to the Nazi extermination camps. And that this might give rise to a historical responsibility for the railways today. For comparison only, the Dutch railway company has long since agreed to make reparations for complicity in Nazi deportations from the Netherlands.
The threat to the monument, which is an important place of remembrance for many victims’ relatives, cannot be treated as just a matter for the Gypsies. It concerns all those who care about the German culture of remembrance and the fight against forgetting as well as against the resurgent right-wing radicalism.