BERLIN (AP) – A group representing Germany’s Gypsies said Tuesday it has protested to Iran over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s dismissals of the Nazi Holocaust as a “myth.”
Of the roughly 1 million Gypsies living in Europe at the time of World War II, historians estimate that the Nazis and their allies killed between 25 percent and 50 percent, in addition to the Holocaust’s 6 million Jewish victims.
The head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Romani Rose, said in a letter to the Iranian ambassador that “the government in Tehran must respect these historical facts if it wants to be part of the international community,” the group said in a statement.
Rose also expressed solidarity with the Israeli and Jewish communities in Germany and elsewhere in his letter to Ambassador Seyed Shamseddin Kharegani condemning the Iranian president’s “continued hate propaganda.”
Ahmadinejad provoked outrage in Europe when he said last year that Israel should be “wiped out” and the Holocaust was a “myth.”
Tensions have escalated since then amid concerns over Iran’s nuclear program and the furor over widespread publication in Western newspapers of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.
Rose’s group said his protest was directed not only against Ahmadinejad’s remarks but also against “demonstrations tolerated by the Iranian government with banners and placards saying that ‘the Holocaust is a lie.”‘