The hardships of Roma survivors

 

The majority of the Roma survivors are vulnerable, old (in their eighties), ill, poor, illiterate, don’t know their rights, they are not able to go to the authorities, to write and to make requests, to keep themselves informed about their rights, etc.

In addition to that, although Law 189/2000 seems, at the first glance, generous, stating a variety of ways in which the survivors can prove they have been deported, in reality the Houses of Pensions have arbitrary means of applying the law, which makes it harder for the Roma survivors to receive their legal rights.

Although the law 189/2000 accepts the affidavits (without stating the number or imposing a certain kind of witness), in reality the Houses of Pensions prefer the archive documents, and the applications based on witnesses affidavits are usually refused. The Houses of Pension start from the assumption that the Roma affidavits are not likely to be true and that they will end up with lots of requests for the allowances provided by the law 189/2000. Actually, the number of the potential Roma beneficiaries throughout the whole country is very small: 73 years after the deportation to Transnistria, out of the 25.000 Roma deportees very few are still alive (half of them died in Transnistria, and the rest died in the following 70 years). Nowadays, in 2015, we estimate that the number of the Roma survivors is about 200 persons (most of them were children when they were deported 73 years ago), and some of them benefit already from the law 189/2000.

Some regional Houses of Pensions have conditions which prove to be harder and harder to accomplish: there should be at least two witnesses (preferably beneficiaries from the law 189/2000, and who must have been relatively old enough when they were deported to Transnistria). These practices makes it very hard for these people to have access to their rights (and these people are part of a very vulnerable group: Roma, illiterate, old, poor, often severely ill and unable to move).

During the project we found settlements where there were only 1-2 Roma survivors who, even if they were deported, they do not necessarily benefit from the law 189/2000 or who were just children when they were sent to Transnistria. How can we help this people if we continue to maintain these conditions?

The Houses of Pensions have the habit to consider credible only the documents which are produced by an authority (the red Cross and the national archives). But the Houses of Pensions do not actually know the state of the archives and they ask for documents which the archives can’t provide:

  • the Red Cross does not have nominal lists with the Roma or Jewish persons who were deported, hence it can not provide such documents;
  • many branches of the national archives do not have the lists with the names of the people deported from their region (it is the case of some archives: from Sibiu, Galaţi, Vrancea, Ialomiţa etc).
  • moreover, very often the police in 1942 did not record the names of all the persons they were deporting;
  • very often, especially in the case of the former nomads, only the head of the family was nominated. For example: “from Vadu Pasii, Buzau, there were deported: Stanescu Dumitru, a woman, 3 children, 2 mules". How can the old illiterate survivor from now (the child who was not recorded) prove that he was part of that family? And usually because the parents were not legally married, the birth certificate mentions only the mother (who was also not registered by police in 1942).
  • Many Roma people, especially children, were recorded only by their nicknames: Genovica, Paulina, Jandarica etc., not by their real names.

 

 

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