Monday, 27 January 2020

Dan Pavel Doghi

OSCE ODIHR’s Chief of the Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues

Holocaust Memorial Ceremony – United Nations Headquarters, New York

Respected organizers of this important remembrance ceremony, Secretary General Guterres, esteemed survivors of the Holocaust, honorable speakers and audience.

The Jewish people were targeted for extermination by the Nazi regime, its allies and collaborators, based on racist and supremacy ideologies. They suffered the highest toll of loss of human lives in the Holocaust. Besides them, on the same racist grounds, the Roma people were also targeted for extermination. The Nazis “Final solution” has brought these two populations very close to their full extinction, with six million Jews and half a million Roma and Sinti being killed. Other groups have been also persecuted and killed, such as people with disabilities, political opponents, some religious minorities, prisoners of war, and sexual minorities.

Realizing that their quest for world supremacy is coming to an end, the Nazis went to great lengths to hide their heinous crimes and avoid being made accountable for what has been recognized to be one of the darkest and largest scale atrocities in the history of humankind, the Holocaust.

For decades after the Second World War, the Roma Holocaust was not acknowledged by States as being an integral part of the Holocaust, and was similarly ignored by historians and scholars, who turned a blind eye to the fact the Roma people were, as the Jews, targeted for extermination based on racial grounds.

The “Forgotten Holocaust” of the Roma has inflicted a deep trauma among the Roma and Sinti survivors, precluding them from opening up and sharing their suffering within their families, and with the society. As late as in the ‘80s, some survivors have dared to speak about their horrific experiences under the Nazis.

One of the bravest survivors and human rights activist, Mr. Romani Rose, has led decades’ worth of efforts paving the way for the recognition of the Roma Genocide. More recently, groups of Roma activists and intellectuals have advocated until the European Parliament has recognized the 2 of August as being the European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.

I mention here the important roles of Ms. Soraya Post, a former MEP, the Ternype Roma youth network and Dikh he na Bister initiative.

2 August 1944 is the day when the Nazis have liquidated the remaining close to 3,000 Roma men, women and children of the Zigeunerlager, the “Gypsy camp” of the Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Formally, the Roma Holocaust is still not being recognized.
It is time now, 75 years since the ending of the Second World War, that justice for Roma is done without further delay, and that the very definition of the Holocaust is corrected to properly acknowledge the Roma and their suffering during the Second World War as being and integral part of the Holocaust.

We witness nowadays how racist ideologies rooted in the same flawed and dangerous belief that some human beings are superior to others, manifest unabatedly in our society. Racism has permeated the highest political and government levels, unfolding in an unchecked manner, in what is proven to have become a climate of acceptance and impunity.

Antisemitism, anti-Roma rhetoric and hate-motivated crimes and incidents against these people make the headlines every day and risk becoming an unacceptable normality. This, must end!

Today, as we commemorate worldwide the victims of the Holocaust, I humbly urge all states, politicians and international organizations, to upscale their efforts and ensure that this essential history lesson is fully learnt, so that the terrible suffering inflicted by the Nazi racist ideology upon the humankind will never repeat!

I emphasize the essential duty and responsibility of the governments and politicians to firmly condemn all forms of racism and nationalist extremism, and to fight prejudice and discrimination.

→ We must Never Forget The Holocaust!
→ We must preserve and respect the memory of its victims!
→ We must educate the younger generations about the Holocaust and about the danger that the racist ideology is posing to our society.

Thank you for your attention!

Statements

Romani Rose

Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma

Stéphane Dion

Ambassador of Canada in Germany, Special Representative of Canada to the EU and to Europe

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