About us

The Documentation- and Cultural Centre in the heart of Heidelbergs old town

Wass ketne! Let's get together - the Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma is a place of encounter and dialogue in the middle of the historic quarter of Heidelberg. The rich culture of the Sinti and Roma is alive here. Literature, painting, music - the cultural contributions of the minority are as diverse as the people themselves and are presented in a series of events organised by the Centre with lectures, exhibitions, film screenings, concerts and excursions, and also in successful co-operative efforts e.g. in conjunction with the Kulturhaus Karlstorbahnhof cultural centre.

In addition to this, the Centre is a place of remembrance of the victims of the National Socialists. In particular, the Holocaust of the Sinti and Roma is assessed in the only permanent exhibition of its kind in the world, which makes the Centre an important museum of contemporary history and a place of historical memory.

The exhibition hosts a unique stock of private photographs

One of its central tasks therefore consists in documenting the history of the Sinti and Roma in Germany and in Europe, which goes back more than 600 years. There is a particular focus on the National Socialist crimes of genocide, which have been suppressed from public consciousness for decades. Interviews with the survivors of the Holocaust and the recording of their memories on audio or video and research in archives in and outside Germany have priority here. Furthermore, the Centre systematically collects personal testimony of survivors and their relatives, whereby old family photographs are of particular interest. In the meantime, this work has given rise to a unique archive.

The survivors of the Holocaust Franz Rosenbach (l.) and Hermann Höllenreiner (r.) describe young people the terror of the Nazi-persecution

The focus of attention is always on human rights. As a forum for minorities, anyone who is a victim of discrimination and violence will be given a voice here, because in view of our own persecution under National Socialism, we have a special obligation to provide a place for critical debate on current socio-political developments and to set a course in anti-racism work, education and pedagogical work.

With the support of the city of Heidelberg, the Centre was founded in the historic quarter of Heidelberg at the beginning of the 1990s. Together with the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, it forms the central institution of the minority in Germany. The Centre and the Central Council act independently of each other and are legally separate associations. However, the working relationship is very close. As a unique institution in Europe, the Centre is institutionally supported by the Federal Government of Germany and the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. After several years of conversion and extension work, the complex with the first permanent exhibition on the Holocaust of the Sinti and Roma in the world was ceremonially opened to the public on 16th March 1997.