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Local Roma Communities Feedback about their distress from last year’s comments by Jimmy Carr.

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

By Daniel Banceanu and Cad Taylor.

The upset amongst many communities that Jimmy Carr has caused in his routine last year cannot have escaped many people’s notice. However, if you have managed to miss this, here is a brief overview, followed by a local Roma man's feedback to the upset and hurt.

The comedian came under fire for saying "nobody talks about the positives" in reference to the Nazi murders of thousands of people from the Roma, Sinti and traveller communities.

The comedian made his comments in a Netflix special, His Dark Material. He has since said that these comments had an "educational quality".

The Roma are Europe's largest and most excluded ethnic minority group, with around 8 million Romany, Gypsy across Europe. Movement is common, with families looking to improve their situation and seek work. Persecution has followed this group in all directions, and as people have come to settle the children are very often the first ever in their families to attend the school.

Daniel Banceanu, a community support for local Roma communities, came to Ipswich at the age of 15, his father had a vision to give a new life for his family and to help them to have all the life chances that he never had growing up. Daniel did everything he could to develop himself, learn English, get qualifications and gain meaningful employment. Last year graduated with a degree in Health and Social Care at University of Bedford this March. He was the first ever in his family to attend both school and university.

Daniel wanted to explain his feelings and share firsthand thoughts, from his family and community in relation to Jimmy Carr’s comments.

“For us Roma people from everywhere the most important thing is not the silver, or it is not the land but our family.

When our silver and land were taken away from us by Nazis, we realised that we could work to earn this again, but when our grandparents, our parents and children were taken, we lost everything, the family, our hope and the sun.

That time became the black day that smashes our heart right up until today.

We are only humans, and we don't deserve that. We shouldn’t be killed for who we are, humans.

We don't deserve to be discriminated against and blamed, because our fathers couldn't protect themselves from that situation - or from people like Jimmy Carr.

We hope that there are good humans, like those who were able to saves some of us from the Black Day.

Lastly, I would like to make a call, let's leave space for Love and come with us to a new war, to beat and eliminate discrimination and prejudice”.

Daniel went on to explain how he had learnt about these atrocities and the holocaust. In the black days, as Daniel calls it, 500K Romani people were murdered - this is sometimes referred to as the forgotten genocide. ‘They were dying in different forms, ‘when I heard this from my father… At first, I just thought of it like a horror movie, and even that was hard to understand. Because they were murdered in so many different ways, they were asked to go in a feeble boat, that had always been made to sink. Another form was to ask them to take showers, where from the pipes flowed gas, not water. Another method was based on a promise ‘ I remember today, that they were asked to leave their camp and the prison they were kept in, asked to leave but they were told they would find a city where they were able to life and be safe, so, with hope in their heart, they all left, but it was so very cold, freezing in fact, they had left happy to seek safety, but as they left with hope, this was just a cruel and brutal trap, nothing but leak and frozen wasteland. Their destiny was to just be left to die there. I was only around 12 when I heard all of this.

‘It was so painful as a child to try and understand this, because this was the story of my actual family, it can smash your soul apart - almost too much to process for us, my grandfather never saw his parents after this time, My grandfather became an orphan, he managed to run from this dark time, but, a light came - he survived and went on to make a beautiful family and give new hope to a new generation.

The dark and forgotten genocide had the power to destroy all hope, our father fought to support us to go to school for the first time, in safety, to live and grow, so to hear in 2022 that these are made as ‘comedy’ can completely kill our hope once again.

Daniel went on to add, ‘In the pandemic, people died in poor conditions, because they were asked to keep working to support everyone. People that I knew, working in factories with less than safe conditions and zero-hour contracts, including hundreds of delivery drivers, we all played our role, just helped to make things continue for you all - no others did not want to do this work. People died in this situation, but we knew we were helping others. Our Roma families can be large and have many members in one house, so going to work at this time was a scary thing, because you knew that coming home from these places could mean putting your families in danger’.

Carr’s comments have been condemned widely by groups such as the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the Auschwitz Memorial and Hope Not Hate. Downing Street has also said that the comments made by Carr were “deeply disturbing”

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