Wiesenthal Centre Presents Condolences and Solidarity with Roma after Pogrom in Hungary: "Gypsophobia Must Not Become Acceptable to the Mainstream in Eastern Europe"

SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTRE - EUROPE
Tel. +33-147237637 - Fax: +33-147208401
e-mail: csweurope@gmail.com

Wiesenthal Centre Presents Condolences and Solidarity with Roma after Pogrom in Hungary: "Gypsophobia Must Not Become Acceptable to the Mainstream in Eastern Europe"

Budapest, 5 March 2009

In a letter to Hungarian President László Sólyom, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, expressed "outrage at the pogrom in the village of Tatarszentgyorgy that led to the burial, yesterday, of a five-year old Roma child and his father, and wounded two other children when their house was firebombed by racists."

The Centre commended the President for his statement that "the economic crisis has created an urgent need for Hungary and other East European countries to show more understanding for the Roma".

Samuels noted that "in 'Judenrein' (ethnically cleansed of Jews) Eastern Europe where the Holocaust succeeded, antisemitism persists as a phantom pain syndrome – the body still seeks to scratch the missing limb."

The letter identified today's target of hate as "the Roma community – over 700,000 people in Hungary alone. Also marked for extermination by the Nazis, scapegoated for the current economic crisis by neo-Nazis, Gypsophobia must not become acceptable to the mainstream in Eastern Europe in the way that antisemitism has become an epidemic in the West."

Samuels is presently in Budapest to discuss the situation with anti-racist educators. He presented the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's condolences to the families of the victims and its solidarity with the Roma community.

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58.