Requiem for Auschwitz was a project which commemorated the victims of National Socialism, in particular the Sinti and Roma who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazi regime. The project featured a choral and orchestral work by the Dutch Sinto composer Roger “Moreno” Rathgeb. The world premiere took place in Amsterdam on 3 May 2012 and was performed by the international Roma and Sinti Philharmonic Orchestra of Frankfurt, conducted by Riccardo M. Sahiti. From there, the production continued on a European tour to Bucharest, Prague, Budapest and Cracow. The choirs and soloists came from the countries where the requiem was performed; the Amsterdam Student Choir performed the piece in the Netherlands, the Polish radio choir performed it in Poland, the opera chorus of the Bucharest National Opera in Romania, the Prague Philharmonic Choir in the Czech Republic and the Honvéd Mens Choir in Hungary. The German premiere took place at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt/Main on 28 November 2012 and was performed by the chorus of the Frankfurt opera house.

In January 2011, the German Bundestag invited the Dutch Sinto and survivor of Nazi persecution Zoni Weisz to address parliament on the day of commemoration for the victims of National Socialism. It was an important gesture in light of the fact that the persecution and destruction of the Sinti and Roma had received very little public attention in Germany thus far.

The hope was that the Requiem for Auschwitz and its accompanying programme drew increased public attention to the “forgotten Holocaust of the Sinti and Roma” (Zoni Weisz) and the continuing discrimination against the Sinti and Roma in numerous European nations today. The Federal Cultural Foundation has awarded the project 252,000 euros, most of which went toward financing the musical part of the project, in particular the performance in Germany and some of the costs of the European tour. Additional funds have been provided by the Culture Programme of the European Commission and the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF).

The International Gipsy Festival in Tilburg was responsible for organizing the project. The festival’s artistic director Albert Siebelink is, like Zoni Weisz, a member of the project’s organizational committee. In addition to the musical programme, the International Gipsy Festival was coordinating an extensive accompanying programme of exhibitions, films, youth workshops and conferences which presented the history of genocide of the Sinti and Roma and current tendencies of anti-Gipsyism in Europe at the concert tour locations. The costs of the accompanying programme have been covered by the Soros Foundation, the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF), the European Council, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the Culture Programme of the European Commission.


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