BERLIN - Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis murdered 500,000 Sinti and Roma Gypsies. Now, nearly 70 years after World War II, a memorial is being inaugurated today in Berlin to honor those murdered.

German President Joachim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Berlin’s Mayor Klaus Wowereit are expected to attend the inauguration ceremony along with Romani Rose, the Chairman of the Council of German Sinti and Roma who lost 13 relatives during the Holocaust. Over 100 Holocaust survivors are also expected to attend the ceremony, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The memorial, which was designed by Israeli artist Dani Karavan consists of a water basin with a stone stele at its center. Around the edges is the text of Santino Spinelli’s poem “Auschwitz” in English and German. Now, after the Jews and homosexuals, the Sinti and Roma also have a Holocaust memorial.

The memorial has been planned for over 20 years, but discussions with Sinti and Roma associations and construction difficulties led to delays in its completion.

The Heidelberg-based Documentation and Cultural Center of German Sinti and Roma issued a statement saying the memorial was a sign on the part of Germany’s government "that not only points to the past but mainly symbolizes responsibility for the present and future." The statement went on to say that Europe’s 12 million Sinti and Roma Gypsies are still subject to discrimination and that increasing racism in Europe threatens not only minorities "but European values at the core of which lie human rights and human dignity."

Photo courtesy of: Dokumentations- und Kulturzentrum Deutscher Sinti und Roma