The Prime Minister`s speech can be seen as a recognition from the Government, that the Norwegian Roma were victims both of Nazi-Germany`s extermination policy but also of the Norwegian Government`s antiziganist legislation. This process of recognition has been spearheaded by Roma activist`s from what is a small ethnic minority of only a few hundred people in Norway. The recognition and the alternative Roma voices that it has brought out in the public sphere, has been an important contribution to the public debate in Norway, where both old and new forms of antiziganism has been expressed in recent years.
In 1999, the Roma, including Resande, were recognized as national minority.
In 2000 the Swedish government publicly apologised for the historical persecution and discrimination of the Resande group. In the same year, the Swedish archbishop officially stated that the church ́s historical relationship to Roma had made a reconciliation process necessary.26 In 2010, the Chairman of the Swedish Riksdag apologizedto the victims of abuse in state child foster care. However, he was subsequently critizised that he failed to mention the effect of the racist discourse, that Resande were over-represented.
Shortly after the revelation of the police Roma registers in 2013, the minister of justice officially apologised. It took until 2015 for the head of Swedish police to apologise, however the apology failed to mention that the register was ethnic profiling.
Restitutions, reparations, compensations
After the first protests of the German Sinti and Roma civil rights movement against the exclusion of many Sinti and Roma victims from compensation payments, the West German Parliament established an extraordinary compensation fund (Härtefonds) to compensate non-Jewish Nazi victims. But it required further demonstrations of the “Central Council of German Sinti and Roma” to achieve a fundamental change in discriminatory restitution practices. A documentation exposed in the 1980s more than 500 cases of minority members who had not yet received adequate compensation payments for their persecution by the National Socialists. After that the Central Council imposed new decisions in several thousand compensation cases. At the beginning of the 2000s, the Central Council reached compensation for Sinti and Roma who had been compelled to do forced labour from the foundation’s fund, Remembrance, Responsibility and Future, and the Swiss banking fund. For the first time, non-German Roma got the chance to claim for though small compensation.
In the 2000s, the symbolic apologies were in the 2000s followed by individual compensation to Romani/Tatere that suffered under these policies, a collective compensation in the form of funding for a museum department and exhibition about the Romani/Tatere at Glomdal Museum, and a fund for developing and making the Romani/Tatere culture visible.
In 2015, the Stortinget as a material act of compensation to finance a permanent cultural and knowledge resource centre for Norwegian Roma. Representatives from the Roma community has in cooperation with the Church City Mission been working on the outline for the centre, with the aim that the centre will open during 2017.
Between 1998-2000, individual compensation could be applied for by victims of forced sterilisation. In the time frame 2013-2014, could be applied for by victims of for abuse during forced child foster care. Neither of these processes payed attention to the antiziganist dimension that Roma and Resande had been intentionally targeted and over-represented. There is no available statistics how many Roma benefitted from these compensations.
After a decision in 2014 by the Chancellor for Justice almost 3,000 Roma, who had been illegally registered by the police received a compensation of 5000 SEK. However, he did not regard the register as ethnic discrimination.As the decision was regarded as insufficient, he case was taken to court by 11 Roma, supported by the organization Civil Rights Defenders, who won the case in the District Court of Stockholm, who judged that the register was ethnic and that an individual compensation of 30 000 SEK should be paid. The case has been appealed against by the Chancellor of Justice.
Physical memorial sites as well as commemoration days and rituals are core manifestations of collective memory. They refer to specific historical events, but also to the political history of their establishment.
Roma Holocaust remembrance
The 27th January, the date of the liberation of Auschwitz, was in Germany 1996 established as commemoration day for the victims of National Socialism and by the United Nations in 2005 as the Holocaust Remembrance Day. The 2nd August was in 2015 recognized as Roma Holocaust Day by the European parliament in memoriam of the liquidation of the Roma camp in Auschwitz 1944. Roma Resistance Day, 16th May, commemorates the revolt of Roma and Sinti in Auschwitz against the first attempt to liquidate the camp.
These three dates allow different manifestations of Holocaust memory and Roma identity at many places - most importantly at the Auschwitz memorial and the Berlin Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism, which was established in 2015. [See also RomArchive section, Voices of the Victims]
Other Roma commemoration sites Finland
A memorial for the Finnish Romani soldiers who died in WW2, was erected in 2003.
Since 1996, TL has held an annual commemoration at the “Stone of shame” at Riis cemetery in Oslo. The stone is placed by the mass grave used by Gaustad psychiatric hospital. The annual event has both served as a memory ritual, tying the Romani community together through remembering a common historical experience, but it has also had a political function, reminding the Government and the Church of Norway that they needed to take responsibility for their actions.
The memory of the antiziganist riots of 1948 in Jönköping, as media support and police passivity let a racist mob attack Resande, was in 2015 marked with a memorial.
European level political intervention against antiziganism
Since the Millenium, several documents at the European level call for action against antiziganism.
An outstanding example is the before mentioned 2015 EU-resolution on “International Roma Day – anti-Gypsyism in Europe and EU recognition of the Memorial Day of the Roma genocide during World War II”.