2 August 2020
Founder of Romedia Foundation
Statement on the occasion of the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma 2020
76 years after the Holocaust, I remember over half a million Roma and Sinti who were murdered. I come from Hungary, which was the last ally of Nazi Germany. Here, in Hungary, these atrocities were mentioned among family, at best.
My grandfather was taken for forced labor, as a soldier barely a few weeks before liberation. While he was on the front, his family stayed in their house where a number on the front door showed how many people live there, waiting to be deported to the concentration camp any moment.
These are the experiences of my parents and grandparents. Yet, the entire country kept quiet about this for over fifty years.
Historians barely wrote a sentence about the suffering of Roma during the Holocaust. Then, a project in 2000 financed by the United States provided non-financial support to meet with survivors. We conducted over 3000 interviews and shed light on at least 23 places of mass murder and 55 sites of military and agricultural forced labor camps.
Forced labor camps under the watch of German and Hungarian gendarmes.
Auschwitz Birkenau 2.B.E, night of August 2, 1944, 1500 people were transported, then 1400 more. After the uprising of May 16, the able bodied were selected and over 3000 prisoners were murdered in a single night.
We, who are commemorating together the Roma, Sinti and gadjo, we know very well that freedom and democracy are only possible if those are present in the last houses of the most remote villages.
In a democracy and an aging society like ours, it is in everyone’s interest that the young generation receives quality education. Yes, even the Roma youth because they will contribute to our pensions and they will be the next generation of working people. We have to fight together against extreme ideologies and we cannot allow that the nasty ghost of the past to return.
Let’s bow our heads and remember. And let’s say it together: Never Again!
Ágnes Daróczi was born in 18 November 1954 in Berettyóújfalu. She holds a degree as secondary school teacher (1978, ELTE BTK), specialized in Hungarian language and literature. Moreover she is a cultural manager, reciter, journalist and minority researcher.
Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Chair of the Board of Trustees of the EVZ Foundation
Director of the OSF Roma Initiatives Office
Founder of Romedia Foundation
Federal Government Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities
Chair of the European Network against Racism
President of the Bundeskriminalamt of Germany
Director of the ERGO Network
Survivor of the Srebrencia Genocide
Phiren Amenca International Network
Spokeperson of the Museum of Romani Culture Brno
President of the European Union of Jewish Students
Member of the Spanish Parliament and Roma Activist
Chair of the European Roma Rights Centre
Member of the European Parliament, FUEN President
Former member of the National Assembly of Hungary
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium in Poland
Acting Director of the Buchenwald Memorial
President of the International Committee Buchenwald-Dora and Commands
Director of the Mauthausen Memorial