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September 11 2012 19:00 | Centre of Sarajevo

Contribution of Rita Prigmore - Final Ceremony



Rita Prigmore


Sinta woman, survived at Porrajmos

I am a gypsy from Germany, a survivor of the Holocaust after I suffered from the Nazi medical experiments in my body. Many of my family and of my people were killed in Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen and in other concentration camps. There they experienced Nazi cruelty and suffered much in their lives. I come from a people that has terribly suffered and is still affected by many racist actions.

In this city where everyone suffered, a question arises: where do all discrimination and hatred come from? What can we do to prevent one brother from raising his hand against his neighbour and from being discriminated as stranger and even killed?
Today the cries of those who suffer in the world join together with the cry of my gypsy people, who also severely suffered here in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war 1992-1995. These voices change into a cry. This call must be heard: Change your heart, open up yourself to your neighbour whom you do not know yet, whom seems stranger to you. Get to know your neighbour and build up a new future together.

I do wish a responsibility stems in every one of us after these days: combating all racism, discrimination or hatred. We have to combat together in a shared commitment. Therefore, I am very grateful to the Community of Sant’Egidio for inviting me to speak to thousands of European young people during their pilgrimage to Auschwitz. I feel my task is not to pity myself, but to tell my story so that a new generation may grow up respecting all men and women and being aware that all bad deeds will lead in the end to a catastrophe as Auschwitz was.

I am convinced that together we will be able to build up a society - in Europe and worldwide - where Sinti and Roma, like all other peoples, will no longer be discriminated, but may live without fear in a human world where the value of diversity and of living together is recognised: “Living Together is our Future”.

Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI

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