Travellers’ genocide protest upsets Basildon council head

By Grattan Puxon

Under the heading Travellers' Genocide Protest the Echo newspaper reports this week that residents at Dale Farm, facing the bulldozing of their homes, have asked to stage a combined Holocaust and anti-eviction exhibition in the town hall to mark UN Human Rights Day on 10 December.

The exhibition is intended to show that painful similarities exist between the treatment of Gypsies in the early Nazi years and their fate in present-day Britain. Long social exclusion through public hostility and prejudice has led to institutionalized racism within local authorities, among them Basildon.

However, the paper says council leader Tony Ball considers comparisons made between the treatment of Gypsies by the Nazi regime in Germany and his current eviction plan are "outrageous". It is to be expected that he will turn down the request, though no official response has yet been made.

History records that 70 years ago, between 25 and 27 October 1939, SS chief Heinrich Himmler ordered a count of Sinti and Roma living in Germany in preparation for their forced transportation to Poland. No families, meanwhile, were allowed to make Christmas visits without special passes.

Even before the count, the Berlin authorities took matters into their own hands and began to clear Gypsies out of the city. Ignoring a Settlement Law about to be issued by the central government, they tried to arrange for a first deportation on 30 October.

The Berlin burgomasters complained, much like his Basildon counterpart today, that if the Gypsies were not immediately expelled, the city would have to build a special camp for them at great cost and still greater difficulties.

In the event, the eviction operation intended for the end of l939 was postponed. But at a meeting in Berlin on 30 January l940, it got the go-ahead and a start was made on removing 30,000 Roma, Sinti and Travellers from Greater Germany to newly occupied Poland.

Initially, orders said that those who owned land, had a father or son serving in the army, or were married to an ethnic German, were not to be sent. But soon the ethnic-cleansing became more thorough, so that very few were able to escape the Nazi plan.

With or without the exhibition, Dale Farm Travellers will stage a protest outside Basildon town hall on 10 December to coincide with a meeting of Tony Ball's cabinet. The cabinet is to decided which company of hard hat thugs to hire for the destruction of the Dale Farm community.

30 October 2009

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