February 28, 2013

Hundreds of Romanian gypsies 'imprisoned' for months in a ghetto so grim the town mayor sealed it off behind a wall

They were promised new apartments away from the biting cold of the Romanian winter.
But eight months on, 500 gypsy families are still marooned in a snow-bound slum in buildings riddled with damp and seeped in raw sewage.

The situation has been made even worse after the mayor of Baia Mare constructed a wall around the settlement, sealing the Roma off from the rest of the town at the end of June last year.

According to Catalin Chereches, this was part of a grand scheme to improve the lives of deeply impoverished families in the northern Romanian town who have been struggling to survive for generations.
However, human rights groups claim that the 33-year-old Vienna-educated economist is racist. They have accused him of imprisoning the population in a ghetto and making their plight even worse.

Photographs shot in the heart of the slum - and at a dilapidated communist-era blocks where some of the families have been rehoused - show scenes of appalling poverty with families struggling to survive in temperatures which can plummet to -26C.

Faced with such conditions, it is hardly surprising that many Romanians say they would like to move to Britain in January 2014 when they gain the right to live and work unrestricted under European 'freedom of movement' rules.

The concrete wall measures 1.8 metres high - built on an embankment, it appears much higher when you are inside the slum.

It is constructed on one side of a Roma neighborhood of crumbling apartment blocks, but because it links with other buildings and walls, it encloses the area with few access points. Mr Chereches says it was built to keep children safe from a main road.

He claims living conditions have improved by moving families away from a slum where naked children play in the dust with stray dogs and cats. But it still keeps Roma separate from other people and lacks space and bathrooms.

'It's clear, conditions there are not similar to the Hilton or Marriott. But this doesn't mean this is not a step forward towards their civilization and emancipation,' Mr Chereche explained in his tidy and modest office.
The local government started to relocate 1,600 Roma from improvised buildings in Baia Mare's 'five pockets of poverty' - including the Craica slum -  to the offices of a former copper factory, Cuprom.
Those who have moved to the Cuprom offices, near the area with the wall, signed papers to agree, but others still in their old homes fear eviction.


  1. Send them back to India, where their ancestors came from. It's warmer there with fewer Europeans to steal from.

  2. All people are equally loved by our creator and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.Think of all the killing going on in the world, think of the so called elite and their bankers who are financially raping the good and decent people of the world! But instead of going after them, the horrificly poor people of the world such as the Roma gypsies are the ones being maligned and persecuted instead.What a mixed up world! By the way gypsies comes from the word egypt and the gypsies if you trace back to ancient times were decended from the pharoah's and true royalty. Quite a mind blower hey? Few will believe, but the truth always as been a very rare treasure.

    1. What an ignorant in all you're saying... Gypsies are from India. They don't want to have papers, they don't want to work like everybody else, they steal from other people. Now they expect the city to build them houses while the other people work to build their own?

  3. I agree, the hard working people are sick and tired of all these parasite gypsies. About time someone did something, it's a start...

  4. regardless Roma gypsies and they are people and they have the right to school education this is discrimination against Roma parasites honest they are very valuable and dear people come to Macedonia - Skopje to see how Roma have their own school your neighborhood come see what houseshave houses palaces

    1. Yet another ignorant opinion, Gypsies don't want to go to school. When I was a kid, I had gypsy coleagues who skipped classes until give up school altogether. Our teacher tried hard to convince them, even collected money to help them buy school stuff, but with no results. They rarely work and always try to avoid having proper ID papers.