2 August 2020

Roman Kwiatkowski

President of the Association of Roma in Poland

Commemoration speech on the occasion of 2 August 2020, Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma

Ladies and Gentlemen,

every time we meet in Auschwitz Birkenau to honor the victims of the Roma extermination, we deliberate over the memory and the past. But the words we say are more and more about the present and the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Martin Luther King in one of his speeches said: “Only when it is dark enough can we see the stars.” The dark night of Nazi racism, of which our brothers and sisters became innocent victims, makes us look towards the reality we live in with fear and concern. Tribal nationalism is all around us, as if this tragic lesson of history never happened. The worst thing in this situation is indifference. Ignoring even minor forms of discrimination allows them to grow.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our part of Europe has not experienced any war in 75 years. But history teaches us that fascism – although associated with war – gains on power in times of peace. This threat should not be overestimated or underestimated nor ignored. Nobody should be indifferent towards it.

We owe it not only to the victims of that inhuman ideology, whose memory we honor today. We owe it to our children and their children, so their world may be different, better than that of our fathers.

Opening Remarks

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