Roma Holocaust Survivor attacked by French National Police

In the afternoon of 23 September 2014, the local French Police of Arpajon, a little municipality of 10.000 habitants in the region of Ile de France, decided to have a search in the property of Raymond Gureme, a French Roma Holocaust Survivor 89 years old. When the police started the search in the house, Raymond asked the police to show the search warrant, but the police answered “… we are not in the USA here, we don’t need it!”, according to a testimony present during the search. Afterwards, the police forced to enter the house but Raymond opposed it and he was badly beaten by a policeman who is about 30 years old. Two of Raymond Gureme’s sons tried to defend him and were arrested by the police for „rebellion“ and „death threats“. Raymond has marks all over his legs and arms and he was visited by a doctor in order to make a formal complaint. When Raymond’s relatives asked in the Police stations the reasons behind the search, they didn’t received any clear answers. At the moment Raymond has to face his aggressors in a tribunal were his sons are judged.

Raymond Gureme, is a French Roma Holocaust Survivor, 89 years old. Raymond is coming from a traditional Roma family. Since he was a child he was performing in the Circus of his family as an acrobat. He was interned for eight times in the French Concentration Camps but he managed to escape from all of them. During the Second World War he joined the French Underground Resistance to liberate France from the Nazi occupation. When he was 87 years old he decided to share his history, with the help of the journalist Isabelle Ligner, in the book “Interdit aux Nomades”.

The Roma Genocide during the Second World War is one of the forgotten page of the history. More than 500,000 Roma and Sinti were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis. For many years the topic of the Roma Genocide was known just by a little number of academics and researchers in their studies. Only on 1989, the German Government officially recognized the Roma Genocide during the Second World War and followed by the Polish Government only on 2011. The lack of recognition of the Roma Genocide create walls in the people minds towards Roma that results in stigmatization and discrimination. What happened to Raymond Gureme is symbolic of the effects that the lack of recognition has on the society: no respect for the history, for the Holocaust survivors and for whom fought for the freedom and allowed us to enjoy this “modern day” democracy.

Source: Roma React
Date: 26.09.2014