Deutsche Bahn (DB) is sending a clear signal against antigypsyism. In the presence of Romani Rose, Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, and Robert Klinke, PhD, Special Representative for Holocaust Remembrance and International Affairs of the Sinti and Roma at the Federal Foreign Office, and Richard Lutz, PhD, DB’s CEO, adopted the working definition of antigypsyism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Prior to the event, the DB had laid a wreath at the memorial for the Sinti and Roma of Europe murdered under National Socialism and commemorated the approximately 500,000 victims of this minority.
With the adoption of the working definition, the DB is following up on the constructive discussion with Romani Rose and Mehmet Daimagüler, PhD, Federal Government Commissioner for Antigypsyism, in May 2022. The discussion took place following reports of discrimination against refugees from Ukraine belonging to the Roma minority.
Richard Lutz: “By adopting the IHRA definition of work, we are not only sending a clear signal against antigypsyist prejudice and resentment, but also taking action: For example, we cooperate with the Educational Forum against Antigypsyism of the Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma to raise awareness of and inform our employees. It is our goal as company to bring people together and overcome distances. Discrimination and racism have no place here.”
Romani Rose: “I welcome DB’s initiative to make the IHRA definition of work binding for its company and to counteract any form of antigypsyism on this basis. In doing so, the company is making it clear that it wishes to fulfil its obligations vis-à-vis history, including the murder of 500,000 Sinti and Roma in the Holocaust. The DB is thus sending a clear signal to outlaw antigypsyism in the same way as antisemitism.”
Robert Klinke: “DB’s adoption of the IHRA definition of work is a strong signal. It goes hand in hand with a commitment on the part of the company and its employees to raise awareness of all forms of antigypsyism and to counter it without any ifs or buts. Racism, discrimination, and prejudice must not be allowed any space in German society, the DB included. The company is committed to this once again today.”
To name an example of measures taken by the DB against antigypsyism in addition to the cooperation with the Educational Forum against Antigypsyism, a report by Romani Rose about the history of the Sinti and Roma and the discrimination that members of the minority are exposed to every day has been added to DB’s intranet.
The DB had already committed itself to the fight against antigypsyism in the past: Thanks to its donation to the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ), the EVZ was able to increase its humanitarian commitment by 40 percent. This also benefited Holocaust survivors of the Sinti and Roma minority. The exhibition “Embattled Existence: Roma Survivors of Nazi Terror in Ukraine”, realised in 2012 with the funds, provided exemplary insights into the lives of Ukrainian Roma.
Furthermore, the DB has had a group works agreement on equal treatment and protection against discrimination for many years. The company has a zero-tolerance policy in this. With various projects, such as Trainees against Hate and Violence, young employees in particular are sensitised to take a stand against racism.
The IHRA Working Definition of Antigypsyism was adopted by the 34 IHRA member states two years ago. Germany was the first country to adopt the definition at national level in 2021. The Working Definition of Antigypsyism is an important tool to identify the phenomenon of antigypsyism, a specific form of racism, and thus to be able to counter it decisively.
On the occasion of the adoption of the IHRA working definition of antigypsyism, the DB underlined that the planning and construction of the City-S-Bahn Berlin (S 21) will provide maximum protection for the memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe murdered under National Socialism, thus taking into account the significance of this site for society as a whole.
More pictures available at the Deutsche Bahn media portal.