2 August 2020

Ismael Cortés

Member of the Spanish Parliament and Roma Activist

#RomaRemember: Joint International Campaign for Roma and Sinti Holocaust Remembrance 2020

 

Statement on the occasion of the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma 2020

On 2 August 1944, over 4,000 Sinti and Roma were murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau. During the night they were taken from their barracks to the gas chamber by SS guards. Months earlier they have been successfully resisting for their lives.

We don’t forget the bravery of these Sinti and Roma. We remember them, and the more than 500,000 Roma people who were murdered during World War II.

Yet even today, the Roma Holocaust is still largely untold and unknown. Many governments do not officially recognise 2nd of August as the official Roma Holocaust Memorial Day. Today, we call on governments around the world to officially recognize 2nd of August and to commemorate it as the International Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.

Most countries have no dedicated monuments to Romani Holocaust victims. There are few museums, research centres; and sites of the Roma Holocaust remain largely unpreserved. Today, we call on governments around the world to build, honor and preserve monuments and memorial sites dedicated to the Roma victims of the Holocaust.

The lack of recognition of the Roma Holocaust reflects the long-standing discrimination against Roma people. The same mechanisms which led to the extermination of [our ancestors] are still present in the society today. Our people are still subject to hate speech, violence, police brutality, evictions, segregation and wide-spread discrimination. Antigypsyism remains a widely-accepted form of racism. With the growing radicalization and spread of far-right movements, antigypsyism has intensified. Today, we call on governments to officially acknowledge and fight antigypsyism as a specific form of racism targeting Roma communities.

Our history is part of European history, and it deserves to be told. We have contributed to the development of European societies, economies, cultures and values. Our ancestors fought side by side with other soldiers in defense of our nations. We continue to contribute to the economic, social and cultural life of our countries. Yet, our history and culture are absent from educational curricula as if it never existed. Today, we call on governments to fully include Roma history and culture into the educational curricula and textbooks, and to invest into museums, research centres and other institutions dedicated to Roma Holocaust, Roma history and Roma culture.

It is high time that we are not alone in remembering the Roma Holocaust. Join us today to spread this message and to jointly commemorate the Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma!

Statements

Dr Bernd Fabritius

Federal Government Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities

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