Tuesday, April 3, 2012





PHOTO : Rogier Fokke

Zoni Weisz (1937 - ) is a Holocaust survivor from the Netherlands. Weisz was the oldest of four children of Jacoba and John Weisz from Zutphen, Netherlands. In May 1944, the family was ordered by the Nazis to be deported to the Westerbrok concentration camp. Zoni made a brief escape with his aunt, but they were quickly found and arrested. They were then ordered to Auschwitz.

The rest of his family were sent on a deportation train to Auschwitz, but a Dutch police officer put Weisz on a separate train that allowed him to eventually escape to his grandparent's home for the remainder of the war. His mother and siblings were all killed at Auschwitz, while his father was killed at Mittelbau-Dora.

After the war, Weisz returned to school and began to study horticulture during an internship. After this training, he performed two years of military service, Afterwards, he worked at a flower merchant in Amsterdam and studied lanscape architecture and art history. In 1958, he took over this business and became a well-known florist.

Weisz speaks regularly about his experience during the Holocaust. He is a member of the Dutch Auschwitz Committe and the International Auschwitz Committee.

He was the keynote speaker at a 2007 United Nations exhibition, "The Holocaust Against the Roma and Sinti and present-day racism in Europe".

On January 27, 2011, he was the first Roma or Sinti to address the German Bundestag at the official Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, speaking about the liberation of Auschwitz.

Queen Beatrix appointed Weisz to Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau for his commitment to the Sinti and Roma communities, and for his work in the Dutch floral industry.


�Therefore, we must continue, we must talk about the Holocaust over and over again.�

�The last image I see before my eyes is the train to Auschwitz on the other railroad. I saw the train left for Auschwitz. My father cried out in despair to the cattle car of my aunt: "Moezla, take good care of my boys." That was the last time I saw my dear ones. This image has been etched forever in my retina. I was alone. As a child of seven, I had lost everything and fell into an immeasurably deep hole.�

�We are Europeans and have the same rights as any other citizens, have the same opportunities as they apply to every European. It can not and should not be that a people who have been discriminated against throughout the centuries and persecuted today, the twenty-first century, is still excluded, and any honest chance is deprived of a better future. (...) We must remember them in the future, we must continue to proclaim the message of peaceful coexistence and build a better world - so that our children can live in peace and security.�

"We have promised that we will not forget but preserve the memory of the horrors of history and draw lessons from them in the future"

"It can not and should not be that people who were discriminated throughout the centuries and persecuted today are still excluded and are deprived of a better future "

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