2 August 2021
Chairman of the Association of Roma in Poland
Opening Remarks on the occasion of 2 August 2021, Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
memory of the extermination of our people is one of the most significant elements in Romani history. We are not a nation without history. Many centuries of only oral transmission, as well as wanderings throughout the world in search of suitable place to live did not support maintaining and leaving behind much of material inheritance by our ancestors. Nevertheless, the memory is always passed on by the further generations. This is how our tradition and identity are consolidated. We remember of the victims and commemorate the genocide on our people, so that no one will ever remain indifferent to Romani history. As Yehuda Bauer wrote, the problem we have with Holocaust is not that the perpetrators were not human, but that they were human, they were just like us.
Ladies and gentlemen, on August 2, 1944, the Nazis finally liquidated the so-called Gypsy camp Auschwitz Birkenau. This is a symbolic date, officially confirmed and recognized as the Holocaust Memorial Day of the Sinti and Roma by parliaments and governments of many states, including the European Parliament. Since then, the commemoration of the victims is no longer a private matter of their families and the few survivors of the Holocaust. It has become an element of the memory of all Europeans, or at least it should become an element of the memory of all Europeans. We hope that this year, as it happened throughout the previous 30 years, you will participate aside with us in the commemoration of the 77th anniversary of the Holocaust of the Sinti and Roma. It is your presence that gives meaning to this anniversary and gives hope for the future.