Ilona Lagrene was born and raised in Heidelberg in 1950. Her parents were survivors of the National Socialist genocide. After marrying her husband Reinhold Lagrene in 1969, they moved to Mannheim. His parents were also survivors. Her husband and (later) she belonged to the civil rights movement of the German Sinti. In 1986 they were founding members of the Landesverband Deutscher Sinti und Roma in Baden-Württemberg. From 1989 to 1996, she also served as chairwoman of the regional association.
Through her political and commemorative work, numerous unmissable milestones were set in Baden-Württemberg: Commemorative plaques in Asperg, Tübingen, Stuttgart – to name a few. They serve as reminders and reminders of the deportations of the German Sinti and Roma in May 1940 to the ghettos and concentration camps in Poland. With her husband, Reinhold Lagrene, she conducted a total of 35 interviews with survivors between 1996 and 1997 and wrote them down. They were published in the book “Weggekommen”.
To this day, she has been associated with civil rights work and with commemorative politics. In 2018 she was awarded the Hildegard Lagrenne Civil Rights Prize of the City of Mannheim. She is a board member of the Association of German Sinti Rhineland-Palatinate, and since September 2018 chairwoman of the literature and cultural association Djiparmissa.
Because civil rights work is not only a question of time, but a perpetual task.
Matthias Holzner is a Policy Officer at the State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg and responsible for the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. His main field of work comprises the strategic and operational mentoring of the strategy, the initiation of projects and the coordination of networks and contacts in Baden-Wuerttemberg and abroad. Earlier, Matthias Holzner was Head of Team Project Development / International Affairs at MFG Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg mbH, public innovation agency for ICT and Media. He was responsible for developing new projects and initiatives and building up and coordinating international networks in the field of media and innovation politics. In his various functions he is a frequent guest speaker and panelist at events and conferences in Germany and abroad. Matthias Holzner obtained a Master in Public Administration and Management at the Universities of Konstanz and Cork / Ireland.
Since 1983 Daniel Strauß has been involved in civil rights work. The focus of his activities lies in the development and the institutionalization of facilities for the minority and of NGOs. He was part of the establishing of the center for documentation and culture of the German Sinti and Roma and is chairman of the association of german Sinti and Roma, state assosiation of Baden-Württemberg. Next to publications and exhibitions such as on the history of the Sinti and Roma, he conducted the first study on education in respect to the minority of the minority in 2011. He cofounded, amongst others, the research center for Antiziganism and the Society for Antiziganism Research.
Peter Langer, born in 1950 in Heidelberg, studied German language and literature and history, and is now a lecturer in cultural history and European studies. From 1998 to 2010 he was the artistic director of the International Danube Festival in Ulm and Neu-Ulm. From 2002 till 2010 he had been director of the donau.büro.ulm – a project agency for political, cultural and scientific cooperation with Southern and Eastern Europe. In 2008 he was co-founder of the European Danube Academy and is member of its managerial board. Langer is the General Coordinator of the Council of Danube Cities and Regions (CoDCR), which was established in Budapest on 11 June 2009; the CoDCR makes a significant contribution to the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). In 2008 he received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his political and cultural work in the Danube Region. On 9 November 2009, the President of the European Parliament awarded him the European Citizens Prize. Langer developed projects to build civil society in the Danube region on behalf of the state government of Baden-Württemberg and is currently a consultant and project manager in various areas of the EU strategy for the Danube region. Since 2017 he is guest professor at the Bucharest Academy of Economic Sciences.