Gypsy Persecution In Switzerland

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Gypsy Persecution In Switzerland

Post by cronus » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:00 pm ... ial-purity


Laurence Jourdan1

"I was taken from my mother at birth. I was put in a home for mentally retarded children, where I first underwent the psychiatric torture inflicted on the children of the Yenish community2. I was entrusted to the care of Dr Siegfried. The first time I asked him who my parents were, he said, 'Your mother's a whore and your father's an antisocial good-for-nothing.' I lived with that for ten years, until I understood what he meant: my parents were Gypsies." Mariella Mehr is a Yenish writer who now lives in Italy. For over 25 years she has been writing about the fate of the Yenish Gypsies in Switzerland. From 1926 to 1972 Yenish children were ruthlessly hunted down by the Oeuvre d'entraide aux enfants de la grand-route (Association for Assistance to Traveller Children). Like hundreds of others, Mehr was removed from her parents by force. In her family, three generations were victims of forced sedentarisation: her mother, herself and her son.

Seventy-two years after its foundation, a historical investigation dispelled any ambiguity about the nature of the Oeuvre. In June 1999, Ruth Dreyfuss, a member of the Federal Council, now President of the Swiss Confederation, stated publicly: "The conclusions of the historians leave no room for doubt. The Oeuvre d'entraide pour les enfants de la grand-route is a tragic example of discrimination and persecution of a minority that does not share the way of life of the majority."

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