The civil rights work of the German Sinti and Roma led to the founding of the Central Council 40 years ago and to the recognition of the Holocaust against the minority by Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. To mark the occasion, the Central Council and the Documentation and Cultural Center of German Sinti and Roma invited guests to a ceremony with the Hugo Wolf Quartet in Heidelberg on April 7.
40 years of the Central Council
40 years ago, on March 17, 1982, the then Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt received a delegation from the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, which had been founded shortly before, in the Federal Chancellery in Bonn. At this meeting, he recognized the Holocaust of the 500,000 Sinti and Roma for the first time as binding under international law for the Federal Republic of Germany. The recognition of the genocide was the first political success of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, which was founded on February 6, 1982.
With a concert on the eve of the “International Roma Day,” composer Ralf Yusuf Gawlick and the Hugo Wolf Quartet paid tribute to the Central Council’s decades of civil rights work. The three male musicians and one female musician presented “Imagined Memories” by Ralf Yusuf Gawlick, an extraordinary piece, in addition to the Schubert masterpiece “Rosamunde.” In it, the composer and professor at Boston College deals with memory and its influence on identity in an exciting way.
The world premiere with the “Hugo Wolf Quartet” took place in 2016 at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York.
In his welcoming speech, Romani Rose emphasized the importance of music for dialogue and the fight against racism:
“Tonight’s concert evening, which we are celebrating on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, is a shining example of what can result from the mutual influence of people with different cultural identities. Cultural encounters and music in particular, are also significant when it comes to breaking down prejudice.”
Ralf Yusuf Gawlick
Ralf Yusuf Gawlick is of Roma-Kurdish descent and was born in Pfaffenhofen, Bavaria, in 1969. His mother brought him to an orphanage as an infant and he grew up with adoptive parents in North Rhine-Westphalia. “Imagined Memories” is an autobiographical work in which the composer explores the relationship he never lived with his mother. It was only after the premiere that he actually met his birth mother after a long search. Ralf Yusuf Gawlick was personally present at the ceremony in Heidelberg.
Hugo Wolf Quartett
The Hugo Wolf Quartet from Vienna holds its own at the top of the worldwide chamber music scene and delights an international audience. Having trained with the Alban Berg, Smetana, Amadeus and LaSalle Quartets, as well as with Ferenc Rados, the quartet laid the foundation for its career. Founded in Vienna in 1993, it soon received coveted awards such as the Vienna Philharmonic Special Prize and the European Chamber Music Prize. In 1995, it won the String Quartet Competition in Cremona and made its debut at the Vienna Konzerthaus.
The Hugo Wolf Quartett consists of Sebastian Gürtler (violin I), Régis Bringolf (violin II), Subin Lee (viola) and Florian Berner (cello).
The concert was held in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Mannheim and the Heidelberger Frühling.
40 years of the Central Council was also the occasion for numerous high-ranking personalities from politics and society to offer their congratulations. The greetings can be found on the specially created website.