Berlin: More than 67 years after the end of World War II, Germany has unveiled its national memorial for around half-a-million Sinti and Roma who were murdered by the Nazis in Europe.
Located near the Reichstag building housing the German parliament in Berlin, the memorial will give the country`s over 70,000 Sinti and Roma population for the first time their own site to mourn and commemorate the victims of the Nazi genocide between 1933 and 1945.
Berlin already hosts two separate memorials for six million Jews and several thousand homosexuals killed during the Holocaust.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opened the memorial at a ceremony attended by President Joachim Gauck and several other political leaders as well as by over 100 survivors of the Holocaust, called upon the nation not to forget the sufferings of the Sinti and Roma.
"The memorial is for a group of Nazi victims, whose sufferings until now did not receive the public attention it deserved," she said.
Israeli artist Dani Karavan has designed the memorial, which is in the form of dark circular pond with a triangular stone in the centre on which one fresh flower will be placed every day as a sign of grief and remembrance.
It took more than 20 years for the memorial to be completed after the German parliament approved the project in 1992. Its construction was delayed by disputes over its design and its location. Its cost of 2.8 million euros is financed by the German government.
With a population of around 12 million people, Sinti and Roma are the largest minority in the European Union. Various studies have shown that their ancestors migrated from India more than 600 years ago.