Auschwitz Memorial; photo: Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma.
2 August 2019
Federal Chancellor of Germany
Patronage of the 75th anniversary of 2 August 1944 – the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma 2019
The Genocide against Sinti and Roma reverberates to this day. The systematic persecution and annihilation of Sinti and Roma during the Nazi-Regime’s reign of terror remains a painful trauma. About 23.000 Sinti and Roma were deported to Auschwitz alone. Most of them suffered a painful death there, including the Sinti and Roma who remained until the final liquidation of the B II e camp. It was mainly children, mothers and old people who were driven into the gas chambers. This unfortunate 2 August 1944 marks one of the lowest points in our history – an incredible tragedy for the Sinti and Roma, a tragedy for Germany.
Even today, 75 years after the events, we cannot and must not forget these terrible crimes against humanity. We have to tell the stories of the victims and commemorate them in humility. We have to keep the memory alive from generation to generation. That responsibility is an integral part of Germany’s past and present. This responsibility is inseparable from Germany.
Honoring our commitment to the past also means taking responsibility for the present and the future. With around six million people Sinti and Roma constitute the largest ethnic minority in the European Union. Regrettably, they still face discrimination and exclusion. Consequently, many Sinti and Roma children have their opportunities and paths in life impaired. That is something we cannot accept.
The German Federal Government protects and supports minorities in numerous ways. A special representative looks after the interests of national minorities in Germany. A committee for topics concerning Sinti and Roma provides a platform for consultations between organizations of the Sinti and Roma, the Federal Government, Members of Parliament, and Federal State Governments. In March of this year, an Independent Commission on Antigypsyism was established. Germany also upholds European efforts to support Roma in their home countries, especially in Southeastern Europe.
The 2nd of August is a day of mourning and remembrance. There is no statute of limitations when it comes to crimes against humanity. What was done cannot be undone. Remembering, however, also means the responsibility not to abate in our fight against any kind of discrimination. It is our duty and responsibility to protect the dignity of every single human being – in Germany and in Europe. Be assured: The German Federal Government stands by your side.
Statements on the occasion of the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma
Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma
Vice President of the European Parliament
European Commissioner for Equality
Vice President of the German Bundestag
Dutch State Secretary Paul Blokhuis
Chris J. Lazaris
Amb. Chris J. Lazaris, IHRA Chairman
Fernand des Varennes
UN Special Rapporteur UN minorities
President of the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD)
Prime Minister of Canada
Chairman of the Association of Roma in Poland