2 August 2020
Commemoration speech on the occasion of 2 August 2020, Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma
My name is Krystyna Gil, I am of Romani origin, I am one of the survivors of the pogrom in Szczurowa, where 93 people were murdered.
I would like to send this message to young people: respect each other, love one another, do not hate one another, because it does not lead to anything good, only bad. You see what is happening in the world, there are wars, there is disagreement, and I wish there would be no more war, never again, no more orphans. May you live in harmony and love each other, love your parents, love your family as long as you have, because you do not know what it means to be brought up without parents, without parents. Just like an orphan, I was a child unwanted all my life, pushed, only after I got married, only then I felt that I was a free person.
Krystyna Gil (born Ciuron) was born in Szczurowa, a small village with a few thousand inhabitants in the south of Poland, on 5 November 1938. At that time there two minorities lived in Szczurowa: just over one hundred Jews and almost one hundred Polish Roma. Krystyna belongs to the latter group.
In 1942 all Jewish inhabitants of Szczurowa were taken to the extermination camp Bełżec and murdered in the gas chambers. 3 July 1943, a German troops surrounded the village and instructed local farmers to cart the Roma from the village to the cemetery. There, they were shot and buried in a mass grave.
With the help of her grandmother, Krystyna managed to escape the massacre. During the rest of the war, Krystyna hid with relatives who were not Roma. Towards the end of the war, she and her aunt arrived at Plaszow transit camp, where they were rescued by a German.