2 August 2020
Dr Philipp Neumann-Thein
Acting Director of the Buchenwald Memorial
Statement on the occasion of the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma 2020
The Buchenwald concentration camp was a place where thousands of Sinti and Roma, men and women were deported. Many of them were forced to do hardest forced labour here, were tortured, murdered, perished in the terrible medical experiments or died due to the terrible living conditions.
During the time of the camp there were various phases in which first Sinti and then, from 1939 onwards, Roma from Burgenland were brought here by the SS, and within a very short time they were either worn out in the heaviest work detachments or taken to the Mauthausen concentration camp for further extermination.
In the summer of 1944, after the so-called gypsy camp in the Auschwitz extermination camp was closed, thousands of men and women were sent to the subcamps of the Buchenwald concentration camp, especially to the subcamps like Mittelbau-Dora, where the working and living conditions were at their worst. Many of them did not survive. That is why the first memorial to the victims among the Sinti and Roma in the concentration camps is here at the Buchenwald Memorial.
This memorial commemorates the extermination of the gypsy camp in Auschwitz. It is the task of all of us, especially today, not to let the memory of these crimes fade, to remember it again and again and to inform the public. Especially at a time when new discrimination against minorities, against Sinti and Roma in Germany and in other parts of Europe is the order of the day. It is our task to prevent these beginnings, which have always existed, from becoming a wave again.
Let us all fight against it together.
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
Amb. Chris J. Lazaris, IHRA Chairman
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