Italy midfielder claims Hodgson's 'careful' and negative team was playing for penalties
There is a great story that the Italian press tell about Andrea Pirlo's grandfather, from Sinti – a Romani population – moving to the country for the first time from eastern Europe and presenting himself at the local town hall to register as a citizen.
Two generations on, however, the joke is not on the Pirlos anymore. The joke yesterday at Italy's Casa Azzurri HQ here in Krakow was on the English.
|Hitler killed 5 million Sinti/Roma gypsies in the NAZI Concentration camps|
The outrageously cheeky penalty that Pirlo chipped past Joe Hart with his team trailing in the shoot-out is known in Italian as a cucchiaio and according to the Italian reporters in Krakow yesterday, the midfielder mastered the art as a teenager at Brescia's academy. Pirlo, as he had done after the game, did not try to dismiss the significance of the way in which he scored.
"It was really relevant to the match and our win. This changed the course of the game. In my opinion, Hart seemed to be very confident in himself and, scoring against him this way, it did seem to be a psychological blow. I needed to do something to beat him. Penalties are a very personal thing.
"When you have to shoot a penalty you have to be confident in yourself. I didn't say anything special to my team-mates. We have the same character and determination as Juventus. We are united as a group."
In an Italy team that has struggled for goals at times, Pirlo has become the star. Yesterday, a member of the Italian media said that his naturally non-communicative nature suggested that perhaps he was a bit mad and that might be some kind of explanation for why he took such a risky penalty.
"Look it was not folly. It was not madness," Pirlo said. "I felt like doing that thing at that moment in time. I don't think I was mad when I hit this penalty. I just had this moment of inspiration before I took it."
Pirlo has been around for years. He won the World Cup in 2006 as well as three Serie A titles, including last season's with Juventus, and two Champions League titles but he is currently the man of the moment at Euro 2012. Not bad for a player who was given a free transfer by Milan last summer when his request for a new three-year deal was turned down.
The persecution of the Roma and Sinti
This photo shows ‘Gypsies’ behind the barbed wire of a concentration camp. The Roma and the Sinti are the two main branches of the people who are often known as ‘Gypsies’. The Roma and Sinti consider the term ‘Gypsy’ offensive, so they do not use that word themselves. The Roma and Sinti were among the first victims of the Nazis. Even before 1933 there were special laws for ‘Gypsies’. They were not allowed to travel around or live together in camps.
|Sinti in the Concentration camps|
Once the Nazis gained power they took extra measures against the Roma and Sinti. From July 1933 their children were sterilised so they could never have children themselves. According to the Nazis the Roma and Sinti were ‘born criminals’. In their registration system they were put into the group of ‘anti-socials’ along with prostitutes, beggars, alcoholics and the homeless.
In 1936 the Olympic Games were held in Berlin. Just before the Games began all the Roma and Sinti in and around Berlin were rounded up and put in a concentration camp. The Nazis thought that ‘Gypsies’ did not belong in German society. In the years that followed Roma and Sinti were also imprisoned in other German cities.
In November 1941, 1,000 German and Austrian Roma and Sinti were gassed at the Chelmno extermination camp in Poland. That was over eight months before the mass gassing of Jews began. Nazi scientists also often subjected Roma and Sinti people to medical experiments in the extermination camps. It is estimated that the Nazis murdered between 5,000,000 and 1,000,000 Roma and Sinti.
The Forgotte Holocaust: Roma and Sinti
The Holocaust was the systematic Nazi annihilation of six million Jews during World War 2. The forgotten Holocaust, Porajmos, was the extermination of more than 220,000 Sinti and Roma (Gypsies) - a quarter to a half of the European population - during the Nazi genocide. It is difficult to assess the actual number of victims of this long-neglected chapter of the Holocaust but some estimates are as high 700,000.
After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Nazi mobile killing units, Die Einsatzgruppen, killed tens of thousands of Sinti/Roma in the German-occupied eastern territories. Many were subjected to deportation to the Nazi death camps and thousands were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka.
A section of Auschwitz-Birkenau was established as a Gypsy camp and Gypies were brought in from the whole of Central Europe, many thousands of them in a very short time - most of them were gassed.
May 12, 1944, 39 Sinti children were transferred from the St. Josefspflege Orphanage in Mulfingen in Germany - 20 boys who received Nos. Z-9873-Z-9892 and 19 girl who received Nos. Z-10629-Z-10647. 35 of the children were killed ...
Victims were put into pressure chambers, tested with drugs, castrated, frozen to death. Children were exposed to experimental surgeries performed without anesthesia, transfusions of blood from one to another, isolation endurance, reaction to various stimuli. The doctors made injections with lethal germs, sex change operations, removal of organs and limbs. Josef Mengele did a number of medical experiments, using twins. These twins as young as five years of age were usually murdered after the experiment was over and their bodies dissected.
Some forty years after the war, only a few of the twins could be found. Strangely enough, many of them recall Mengele as a gentle, affable man who befriended them as children and gave them chocolates. Since many had immediately been separated from their families upon entering the camp, Mengele became a sort of father figure. Still a tension existed, that at any time they could be killed if they did not keep a low profile. Older twins recognized his kindness as a deception - they recalled how they were visited by a smiling Uncle Mengele who brought them candy and clothes. Then he had them delivered to his medical laboratory either in trucks painted with the Red Cross emblem or in his own personal car ...
One twin recalls the death of his brother:
"Dr. Mengele had always been more interested in Tibi. I am not sure why - perhaps because he was the older twin. Mengele made several operations on Tibi. One surgery on his spine left my brother paralyzed. He could not walk anymore. Then they took out his sexual organs. After the fourth operation, I did not see Tibi anymore. I cannot tell you how I felt. It is impossible to put into words how I felt. They had taken away my father, my mother, my two older brothers - and now, my twin .."
Romani Victims of Josef Mengele
Mengele injected chemicals into the eyes of the children in an attempt to change their eye color. He carried out twin-to-twin transfusions, stitched twins together, castrated or sterilized twins. Many twins had limbs and organs removed in macabre surgical procedures, performed without using an anesthetic.
Mengele was almost fanatical about drawing blood from twins, mostly identical twins. He is reported to have bled some to death this way. Once Mengele's assistant rounded up 14 pairs of Gypsy twins during the night. Mengele placed them on his polished marble dissection table and put them to sleep. He then proceeded to inject chloroform into their hearts, killing them instantaneously. He then began dissecting and meticulously noting each and every piece of the twins' bodies.
On the night of 2-3 August 1944, the Gypsy camp was liquidated. Danuta Czech described it in her book Auschwitz Chronicle:'After the evening roll call, a camp arrest is ordered in Auschwitz II and a block arrest in the Gypsy Family Camp, B-IIe. Camp B-IIe and other barracks where Gypsies are housed are surrounded by armed SS men. Trucks drive into the camp ..'
The defenseless women, men, and children were loaded on the trucks that were to carry them to the gas chambers. After the gassing the corpses of the murdered were incinerated in the pit next to the crematorium, since the crematorium ovens were not operating at the time.
In Yitzhak Arad's book 'Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka - The Operation Reinhard Death Camps' the Holocaust survivor Jacob Wiernik described the arrival of the largest Gypsy group brought to the death camp Treblinka, in the spring of 1943: 'One day, while I was working near the gate, I noticed the Germans and Ukrainians making special preparations ... meanwhile the gate opened, and about 1,000 Gypsies were brought in (this was the third transport of Gypsies). About 200 of them were men, and the rest women and children ... all the Gypsies were taken to the gas chambers and then burned ...'
The book 'Sinti & Roma: Victims of the Nazi Era, 1933-1945' published by The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum tells that the discrimination against Sinti and Roma in Europe continued after World War 2.
The 1989 Film 'And The Violins Stopped Playing' by director Alexander Ramati was starring Horst Buchholz, Maya Ramati, Didi Ramati and Zitto Kazann. The film tells the moving true story of a group of gypsies in occupied Poland during World War 2 and how, against a bitter and bloody backdrop, they struggle on with only their strength and courage to survive.