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2 August 2023

Georgina Laboda

Dikh He Na Bister, Youth memorial initiative

Commemoration speech on the occasion of 2 August 2023, Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma

Honorable guests,
Dear Gerda Pohl, dear survivors of the Holocaust,

every year we come here with hundreds of young people from around the world to commemorate together with you all those who had perished here in Auschwitz. We stand here to remember the Holocaust of 500.000 murdered Sinti and Roma in Europe.

For us as young people coming here, the most special moment has always been the opportunity to meet with our survivors. We remember all those precious moments that we spent with our friends, with the survivors Zoni Weisz, Krystyna Gil, Peter Höllenreiner, Jozsef Forgacs, Ivan Bilaszczenko, Rita Prigmore, Nadir Dedic and Raymond Gureme.

We are deeply thankful for your courage to share your stories with us. You opened our eyes for what has happened in the past. Your call for resistance, mutual respect and love will always be an essential part of our movement. You strengthened our courage to stand up against antigypsyism, antisemitism and all forms of racism that we, as young Roma and Sinti, still face today.

Dear survivors, your courage gives us hope but also a great responsibility. I stand here today on behalf of thousands of young people from across Europe. We promise to carry on the mission that you started.

We call this initiative “Dikh He na Bister” which translates from Romani language “Look and don’t forget”. As young Roma, Sinti, Jewish and other young people from across Europe we are committed to raise awareness about the Holocaust of Sinti and Roma. We believe that Holocaust Education is crucial in order to fight antigypsyism today. Our fight for recognition of past and present injustices has not yet finished.

Our friend Raymond Gureme has been one of the most inspiring persons to many of us. Raymond was imprisoned in several concentration camps but managed to escape, and to join the French resistance against the Nazis. When he witnessed the growing racism across Europe in the last decade, he could not stay silent any more. Raymond told us and gave us our mission: Never on your knees, always stand up. Resistance!

I want to celebrate today his courage as well as the tireless commitment of all survivors, so it may lead us bravely in the future.

We will never forget – Dikh He Na Bister

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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