10/01/2020 Event, Report

Article on the reading of Ricardo Lenzi Laubinger’s “Und eisig weht der kalte Wind”

On September 29, in an event held at the Ökumenisches Forum in the Hamburg HafenCity and organized by the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, the author Ricardo Lenzi Laubinger presented his book: “Und eisig weht der kalte Wind”, on the life and tragic fate of his family – the Weiss/Laubingers.

After an introduction by Dr. Kristina Vagt (Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial), passages from Laubinger’s book were read by Karin Heddinga (Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial). Ricardo Lenzi Laubinger accompanied the reading by performing a few songs on the violin. The songs also had a personal connection to him: One of the songs was composed by the famous violinist Georges Boulanger for Laubinger’s grandfather.

In his book, Ricardo Lenzi Laubinger focused on the story of his mother, the German Sintiza Sichla Weiss, who in 1940 at the age of 14 was deported, together with her relatives, from Hamburg into the Belzec Forced Labour Camp in the German-occupied Poland. Sichla survived five years in various concentration camps. Almost all of her family and relatives were murdered. Laubinger also held a presentation on his wider family history, from their being stripped of their rights and their systematic persecution as German Sinti/Sintize, to their deportation and their traumatic experiences in the National Socialist concentration camp system. Not only did Laubinger discuss the genocide of the Sinti/Sintize and Roma/Romnja (the Porajmos) perpetrated by the Nazis, but also of the new beginning of the persecuted minority post-World War Two and their fight for recognition and compensation.

To conclude the evening, Karin Heddinga also moderated a discussion with Laubinger and the audience, where he – as Founder and Chairman of the Sinti Union Hessen e.V., which represents the interests of German Sinti/Sintize – told the audience about his ongoing fight against Sinti/Sintize and Roma/Romnja discrimination in modern-day Germany.

As is now the new norm, the event took place under coronavirus restrictions. The audience, socially-distanced due to coronavirus restrictions, were very moved by Laubinger’s deeply personal and extraordinary, yet true family history.

Dr. Kristina Vagt, Curator of the „denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof“ Project:

"It is moving, how Ricardo Lenzi Laubinger gives a very personal insight into the story of his family’s persecution, and impressive, how he has engaged himself against the ongoing discrimination of the minority and for their rights.”

Amina Edzards, Event organiser, Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial:

“What I found extraordinary about the event, was the use of many different mediums. For one, there was a reading. For the other, there was a presentation of family photos; which made Laubinger’s story extremely personal. And then, Ricardo also played the violin. That further intensified the thematic of his story, as his whole family, who were murdered in the Concentration Camps, were musicians – who played the violin, the piano, the harp. Those were people that were murdered there, with all of their culture and their humanity. Through [Laubinger’s] performance, that was again made very clear to me."

Justin Warland, FSJ Kultur at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial:

"Laubinger’s own personal story as a young Sinto boy growing up in post-war Germany was fascinating and tragic, where he highlighted his experiences of trauma, humiliation and discrimination.”


Article written by Justin Warland