BELGRADE – There is no such place of World War II executions in the territory of former Yugoslavia, where the Romani have not been killed. However, Germany has not yet recognized the genocide of this ethnic group. Therefore, the World Roma Organization took the initiative to recognize their ancestors’ holocaust and to seek compensation.
During World War II, the Romani were the third most exterminated group of people in Yugoslavia, after the Serbians and Jewish. In Europe, the extent of the Roma destruction was even worse: about 3.5 million were killed there, according to the President of the World Roma Organization (WRO) Jovan Damjanovic.
Germany has never recognized the genocide of this people, therefore, the WRO intends to seek official recognition, Damjanovic told Sputnik.
“We hired American and Swiss lawyers, as well as our lawyer Milan Vujin. Of course, we cannot compel anyone, but we can legally fight for our rights and for the recognition of our victims. At the International Court of Justice, we will do everything to prove the losses our people suffered through, and the fact that we, too, should be compensated, along with the Serbs and Jews,” Damjanovic said.
The WRO chairman also added that it is remains unknown what exactly happened to the property of the murdered Romani, which were robbed by the Nazis.
“We had houses and land plots, but the biggest value was gold. Our lawyers have already conducted certain investigations. According to them, our gold settled in the Vatican and in Swiss banks. Everything will be known once the trial is held,” Damjanovic explained.
Representative of the NGO network Human Rights House Dragan Popovic considers the WRO’s initiative a very important and timely move, given that the Nazi crimes against the Roma always faded into the background.
“It is important to point out the experience which the Roma have passed through during World War II, when Nazi Germany tried to wipe this part of the population off forever,” Popovic told Sputnik.
“Ethics and morality require that we pay tribute to those who defended our country together with the Serbian people. There were many national heroes of Yugoslavia among the Romani people: Slobodan Berberski, Koca Popovic, Bozidar Katic Kale. I hope that our initiative will bring results in the interests of the Roma community,” Damjanovic concluded.