Romani Rose was born in Heidelberg in 1946. He is the leading figure in the movement for Sinti and Roma civil rights.
As a member of a German Sinti family that lost 13 members in concentration camps and the Holocaust during the Nazi era (his grandfather was murdered in Auschwitz), Romani Rose has been politically active since the 1970s in the struggles of the minority for acknowledgement and material compensation for the wrongs they have suffered.
His significant successes include the acknowledgement of the German Sinti and Roma as a national minority under the terms of the Framework Agreement on the Protection of national Minorities (Rahmenuebereinkommen zum Schutz nationaler Minderheiten) of the Council of Europe.
Since 1982, Romani Rose has held the post of Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, and since 1991 he has directed the Documentation-Cultural Center of the German Sinti and Roma, an institution known across Europe for presenting the first permanent exhibition on the destruction of the Sinti and Roma. Together with other representatives of minorities from the USA, Mexico, Argentina, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, France, and The Netherlands, Romani Rose is a member of the executive committee of the International Movement against Discrimination and Racism (Internationale Bewegung gegen Diskriminierung und Rassismus – IMAR), founded in Tokyo in 1988. In March 2006, the Polish government named Romani Rose to a seat on the International Auschwitz Council.
Romani Rose is an author and the publisher of numerous books, including Buergerrechte fuer Sinti und Roma. Das Buch zum Rassismus in Deutschland (1987), Den Rauch hatten wir taeglich vor Augen. Der nationalsozialistische Voelkermord an den Sinti und Roma (1999), and the catalogue, published in three languages, of the permanent exhibition at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum about the Nazi genocide committed against the Sinti and Roma (2003). In addition, Romani Rose has written numerous reports and articles for publication by the OSCE and the UN committee against racism. He is also co-director of the documentary film Auf Wiedersehen im Himmel, which had its premiere on ARD television in 1994.
Photo by Mikołaj Grynberg