‘For me, this memorial site is a reminder of what my people had to endure under Nazi rule: marginalisation, deprivation of rights, and extermination. This site is a testament to that. To put it in the words of my grandfather, who was one of the survivors, memorials are important and right, but it is just as important that our history finally enters people’s minds.’
Shlica Weiss is the granddaughter of Egon and Lajana Mettbach. Persecuted under the antiziganist policies of the Nazi regime, they were deported as children from Hannoverscher Bahnhof railway station to the Belzec forced labour camp on 20 May 1940 by the Hamburg Criminal Police, along with many other relatives. There the family was torn apart and taken away to various other camps. Many of the family members were murdered. Shlica Weiss’s grandparents survived several concentration camps and returned to Hamburg after the war.
As a social education worker at the Sonnenland e.V. district project, Shlica Weiss runs the scheme ‘Mer kekhne – Us together’. Through her work she informs people about the history of the Sinti and Roma and the discrimination they continue to endure. She organises spaces for encounters between equals for this particular minority and other groups in society, and supports those affected by antiziganism. For her, it is important that memorials not only commemorate the past, but also call for active action in the present.