Germany unveils memorial to Gypsies

Germany opened a long-awaited memorial to the hundreds of thousands of Gypsies who were killed by the Nazis in what one survivor called “the forgotten Holocaust.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck inaugurated the memorial in Berlin’s Tiergarten park Oct. 24. Designed by Israeli artist Dani Karavan, it features a water-filled basin with a retractable, triangle-shaped column at its center that will be topped by a fresh flower every day.

Panels detailing the Nazis’ persecution of Roma, Sinti and other Gypsies surround the memorial, located across the road from the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building, and close to memorials to the Nazis’ Jewish and gay victims that have been inaugurated in recent years.

It’s not clear exactly how many Gypsies were killed during the Holocaust. Estimates range from 220,000 to more than 500,000.

Their fate drew little attention after the war. Only in 1982 did West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt publicly acknowledge their genocide. — ap