“Attitude Towards Roma Similar to that of Second World War”

The life of the Roma in GreeceThe story of the little blond girl, Maria  found in a Roma camp in Farsala, monopolized the Greek and international media for several weeks and revealed a tough reality. Racial discrimination towards Roma, or Gypsies as they are often called, are still continuing in Greece and in many European countries.

Erika Schlager, an expert on issues concerning Roma rights and legal adviser of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, spoke to the “Voice of America” about this phenomenon.

Erika Schlager has visited Greece and many of Roma camps in different parts of the country. “Poverty frightens and marginalizes” she says. “The world will always see poverty as part of the Roma identity, and this is fueling the creation of stereotypes.” The poor Roma stand out, while Roma who are integrated into society pass unnoticed.

She believes that the way in which the media presented the story of the little blond girl and the debate that followed, caused a negative reaction towards Roma, not only in Greece but also in other European countries. In Ireland and in Serbia, children were removed by force from their Roma families because they didn’t resemble their parents. However, after DNA tests, it was proved that they were their biological parents.

Schlager  notes that media’s and society’s attitude towards Roma is still similar to that of the  Second World War, which led to the genocide by Nazi Germany. About half of the Roma population died in concentration camps.

The prejudices of the past are still continuing. Many in Greece believe that Roma do not want to be assimilated. Schlager disagrees and believes that it is the prejudices that shape our perception about them.

She claims that Roma want to be assimilated and educate their children, but many times the access of Roma children in schools is difficult. The Greek government has taken measures for Roma education in Greek schools, but these measures are not always implemented.

Roma is the largest minority in Europe, amounting to 12 million. Their integration in the workforce of Europe will have a beneficial impact on the economy.

In Europe, there is a well-organized movement concerning the protection of the Roma rights. The European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest. According to Schlager, the next step is the creation of local organizations in different countries that could fight for Roma rights, from the inside.


  1. Like this is only like this in Greece, I know for a fact that ex-yugo and Bulgarian people also are very racist to Roma..

  2. Gypsies like to feed on the labours of other peoples too much to integrate. They are discriminated against because they should be.

  3. And the Gypsies are racist against Balkan peoples. There is no sense in loving and paying for a group of people who hate you.

  4. Would you like some whine to go along with the cheezy article?

    Stop lying Nikoleta. There are measures to send the GYPSIES children to school and the GYPSIES hide their kids from authority. THEY ARE THE ONES TO BLAME FOR THEIR LIVES.

    The majority of GYPSIES are parasites. They roam the streets pretending to be poor so they can get a handout. Even in good times, they did the same thing. I guess WORKING FOR A LIVING is beneath them. THEY use their children as dancing monkey to make money. THEY ARE THE ONES TO BLAME FOR THEIR LIVES.

  5. They should go back to central and southern Asia. Europe for the Europeans.

  6. Is europe a country? With one culture? With one identity? One language? One ethnic group? The answer to all those questions is no. How does someone from Switzerland have more right to be in greece then gypsys who have lived in greece for longer then 700 years? I dont understand thos europe for the Europeans your speaking as if europeans are one people that share a common culture

  7. Europeans are a closely related group i.e. one people, as far as genetics are concerned — that’s why we each identity as White.

    Gypsies were a resented invader that have only been in Greece (and Europe) for about 500 years (not 700+). Europeans have been in America since the early 1600s, yet you people insist that we have no right to be there — it’s not our land. Yet non-Native gypsies are okay to be in Europe? Another Leftist double standard.

    The Swiss people, being an indigenous European ethnic group, have more right to Europe and Greece than a non-Native, non-White, non-European invader like a Gypsy or African.

    Europe belongs solely to the White indigenous Europeans. We have genetic, cultural and ancestral ties to the land that go back many thousands of years (to the last ice age and beyond).

  8. If we are so similar why do greeks and swiss look different? Why are our cultures different? You really believe you have a right to be in greece over a gypsy who speaks greek? Is orthodox? Celebrates greek holidays and traditions? And who’s family has been in greece since the 14th century?. Of course some gypsys are a trouble for the society here in greece, but theirs many who have assimilated into greek society. And please thousand years ago greeks had no idea who swiss people were, I doubt greeks have genetic, cultural ties with the swiss