Aid for Holocaust survivors in Romania
Romani organisations acting in conjunction with the Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany announced the establishment on March 26, 1999, of the Documentation Office for Rroma Victims of the Deportations to Transnistria in Bucharest, Romania. The Office is founded on the basis of a Protocol by the Foreign Ministry of the Federal German Republic, the Ecumenical Association of Churches in Romania (AIDRom), and the Convention Framework of Cooperation of Roma Associations in Romania (the Roma Party, Romani CRISS, Aven Amentza, Christian Center of Roma - Sibiu). The Protocol, signed on March 26, 1999, states that the parties agree that the deportation of Romani survivors is considered racially motivated persecution. The Protocol also stipulates conditions for which Romani survivors of the deportations to Transnistria between 1941-1944 are to receive „humanitarian aid" in an amount up to 1000 German marks (approximately 510 euros) from the German Federal government, which is to be accorded in two disbursements over the course of one year. Romani persons and representatives of organisations who staff the Documentation Office for Rroma Victims of Deportations to Transnistria will provide consultation and assistance in filling out application forms for the humanitarian aid, free of charge. The office is provided by AIDRom, which serves as the co-ordinating organisation of the program. Only Romanian Romani survivors of the deportations between 1941-1944 are eligible for the aid. The applicant must be a Romanian citizen, with permanent residence in Romania. Applications for the humanitarian aid should include:
- a valid copy of the applicant's identity card;
- proof of current residence, provided by the relevant local authorities;
- a short description of the facts, experiences;
- a medical certificate showing the state of health of the applicant, in the case of persons under 65 years.
Eligibility to receive the aid will be established on the basis of documents from the Romanian National Archives or from the Archives of the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. Requests by persons who do not figure on such lists will be examined by an independent commission. In considering cases in which, in spite of a credible account by the applicant, the applicant does not appear on a list of valid applicants, the Commission may accord aid to a maximum number of 200 persons. The formation of the Commission remains in the care of the Romani organisations which have participated in the Protocol. The Commission must include survivors of the deportations. The applicant, and any organisation concerned with Roma may present supporting material which may serve to verify the respective request. The list of Romani survivors is to be submitted to the German Embassy in Bucharest, after which the funds of the German Federal government are to be distributed by AIDRom. The deadline for completing the application forms is September 30, 1999. Contact information for the Documentation Office for Rroma Victims of the Deportations to Transnistria:
Strada Calusei, nr. 37, sect. 2.
Tel/fax: (40 1) 642 94 91
Coordinator: Maria Ionescu
Observers have noted that the fact that the Romanian government has remained aloof from the establishment of the office preserves the fiction that the Romani holocaust in Romania was a purely German affair. Additionally, persons without valid residence permits, such as persons expelled from municipalities during the wave of anti-Romani pogroms in the years 1990-1993, may be precluded from access to the aid programme.
(Convention Framework of Cooperation of Roma Associations in Romania, ERRC, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Prague, VPORH)