A Testimony of the Roma Holocaust

By • on October 31, 2010

“Why I don’t cry?… Roma Holocaust, the True Story” (“Sostar na Rovas?… O Samudaripen thaj lesqi ciaci paramisi”) is the name of a new book about Roma Holocaust, launched on 29 October, 2010.

The book describes the deportation of Roma to Transnistria, to the banks of the Bug river, through 25 interviews made by authors with the survivors of the Holocaust. The book also features numerous documents and studies about the issue. The book launch in Bucharest’s Village Museumwas attended by a few Roma survivors who spoke about the terror of the Roma Holocaust. “I was 12 years old when me and my family, my parents and my three brothers were deported to the Bug, in Transnistria. I’m the only one from my family who survived this tragedy. Terrible things happened there and I hope they don’t happen again”, told Mr. Iustinian Badea, an 80 year-old Roma survivor of the Holocaust told Roma Transitions.

“They (Romanian authorities) lied to us. They told us that we will go to the Bug to be given houses, land and animals, to have a better life. But, after we got there, they put us all in a barn and began to starve us. Many of us died of hunger. Survivors were forced to devour the corpses. It would have been better for us to die by shot gun, instead of hunger,” says a crying Iustinian Badea, another survivor.

“I remember that they took us from home and they kept us for a few days at the police station, as if we were criminals. Then, they put us in wagons for animals and so we went to the Bug, in Golta, Dumaniovka region. It was in October. It was very cold outside. They gave us a little bread and a cup of water. That was our food for three days,” said Ms. Enuta Spiridon, 81. “At Bug, all the Roma were very hungry. I remember that I saw a man who ate his wife, after she had died. After a week, he died too. I was lucky. Together with my brother, we went to Russian fields and picked up corn grains. Then, we put the corn grains on fire and ate. On the Bug, everyone received 200 grams of rye flour for one day. We mixed that rye flour with water and that was our daily food supply”, says Ms. Enuta Spiridon.

The book was written by Adrian Nicolae Furtuna together with Delia Grigore and Mihai Neacsu. “This book aims to explain to young Roma the meaning of the Roma Holocaust. Most of the young Roma don’t know their history. So, I tried to explain in this book the hardships that our grandparents have endured. We don’t want such events to take place anymore”, told Adrian Nicolae Furtuna.

“In 1942, under an order of Marshal Antonescu, between 25.000 and 36.000 of Roma people from Romania were deported to Bug. In my book, I demonstrated that Maresal Antonescu’s decision aimed at ethnic cleansing of Romania and not to punish Roma with criminal records. I have documents that prove that Roma from Romania without criminal records were deported to Bug. So, deporting of Roma to

Bug was an act of ethnic cleansing”, says Adrian Nicolae Furtuna.

Delia Grigore argued that oral history is not enough and the Roma communities in Romania have so far had only oral history. “This book is not just a book, it’s a testimony. We want to challenge the Roma people to learn more about Roma Holocaust”, she says.