Auschwitz Memorial; photo: Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma.
2 August 2019
Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency
Address on the occasion of the 78th anniversary of 2 August 1944 – the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma 2022.
It’s a great honour for me to address you today, on the Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma.
Every year on 2 August, the European Commission reaffirms its unwavering commitment to counter antigypsyism, antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance.
Back in 2019, I had a unique opportunity, to join in-person, the commemoration ceremony in Auschwitz-Birkenau, exactly at the 75th anniversary of the extermination of the last remaining Roma in the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
That was a unique moment for me personally and it made me even more determined to ensure that we remember all those who suffered under the Nazi regime: among those people were the Roma. And to never again allow something like that to happen!
Today, I wish to pay my respect to the memory of the Roma victims of the Holocaust; I must also acknowledge with deep concern, the unprecedented situation of Ukrainian refugees, including Roma.
Many of them face specific challenges andare even more likely to be exposed to the rising levels of antigypsyism, racism and xenophobia.
The EU must enable access to everyone fleeing the war in Ukraine regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or skin colour. Additionally, Member States need to ensure that the newly committed set of measures included in the National Roma strategic frameworks, will be equally extended to the Ukrainian Roma refugees.
This is a responsibility for all the EU Member States, to ensure that effective policies are in place to address those in need.
This is not the time for indifference. We need to step up the fight against discrimination and antigypsyism.
Holocaust Remembrance is also a moment to reaffirm our commitment to building an inclusive and democratic society, especially in these worrying times where antigypsyism and attacks on fundamental democratic values are rising in the world.
Let’s act all together and act for the good!
Statements on the occasion of the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma
Vice President of the European Parliament
European Commissioner for Equality
Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament
Dr. Mehmet Daimagüler, Antigypsyism Commissioner of the Federal Government
Vice President of the German Bundestag
Dutch State Secretary Paul Blokhuis
Amb. Chris J. Lazaris, IHRA Chairman
UN Special Rapporteur UN minorities