Timea Junghaus

Executive Director of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC)

Commemoration Speech on the occasion of the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma on August 2, 2021

“The lack of recognition of the Roma Holocaust reflects the longstanding discrimination faced by Sinti and Roma communities. The Roma Holocaust Memorial Day is thus an important rallying point for the community and advocates of anti-racism to challenge ongoing hate speech and violence against Roma, which persists until the present day, particularly in response to the rise of populism, antigypsyism and far-right across Europe in recent years.”

Every year on August 2nd Sinti and Roma worldwide come together to commemorate the more than 500,000 Romani people, the Romani victims of the genocide, which took place during the Second World War. On this day, in 1944, 4,300 Sinti and Roma were murdered at the concentration camp Auschwitz Birkenau.

Exactly six years ago, in 2015, the European Parliament passed a resolution to declare August 2nd as the European Holocaust Memorial Day. Yet, the Holocaust of Sinti and Roma remains largely unknown: many European member states still did not follow the EP resolution in recognizing Roma Holocaust, there are many countries who still did not erect a monument to commemorate the victims and survivors and the Roma Holocaust is not part of the school curricula, thus it remains largely unknown.

The lack of recognition of the Roma Holocaust reflects the longstanding discrimination faced by Sinti and Roma communities. The Roma Holocaust Memorial Day is thus an important rallying point for the community and advocates of anti-racism to challenge ongoing hate speech and violence against Roma, which persists until the present day, particularly in response to the rise of populism, antigypsyism and far-right across Europe in recent years.

Today, Roma communities continue to face hate speech and hate crimes. Among the issues Roma face are forced sterilization of Roma women, segregation practices, verbal and physical abuse in healthcare facilities, police brutality, forced evictions, school segregation and inadequate housing. Most recently, the death of Czech Roma, Stanislav Tomáš, at the hands of police authorities, has sparked protests around Europe against the widespread antigypsyism faced by the community, even at the hands of those authorities meant to protect citizens and communities.

The European Roma Institute of Arts and Culture (ERIAC) and a transnational network of Roma movements and institutions, commemorates with a series of offline and online events across Europe via the proudroma.org campaign:

On the occasion of the commemoration of the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, ERIAC and we call on governments and the international community to:

To take action for the compensation of the victims,

Recognize formally the 2nd August as the official Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma;

Build, honor and preserve monuments and memorial sites dedicated to the Sinti and Roma victims of the Holocaust;

Invest into museums, research centres and other institutions dedicated to the memory of the Roma Holocaust, Roma History and Roma Culture;

Make Roma history and culture part of educational curricula;

Acknowledge antigypsyism as a specific form of racism targeting Roma communities and adapt diverse preventive and reactive tools to fight it!

2 August 2021

Putaripnasqo vakeripe

Romani Rose

Śerutno e Centralone Sombeśesqo e Germanikane Sintenqo aj Rromenqo

Webkùjbo kerdo kotar

Webkùjbo dino dumo kotar

Partnèrǎ