The European Commission has called on all EU countries to recognise the Roma Holocaust and to mark August 2 as Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.
August 2 2019 is the 75th anniversary of the murder of the last Roma victims of the Holocaust who were incarcerated in Auschwitz, the European Commission said in a statement.
EC First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, said in a joint statement: “Ahead of the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, we pay tribute to the 500 000 Roma victims of the Holocaust.
“This year in particular, we commemorate with deep sadness the 75th anniversary of the murder of the last Roma who were so wrongly and brutally incarcerated in the ‘Gypsy Family Camp’ in Auschwitz – people who were put to death just for being who they were.
“There is no place in our modern European societies and political discourse for the dehumanisation of the Roma or any other minority groups,” Timmermans and Jourová said.
“The atrocities of the past stand as a reminder that equality and non-discrimination are values which cannot be taken as given: upholding them requires our constant attention and readiness to challenge those who would attack them…75 years have passed, but we do not forget.”
Jourová will visit the Auschwitz camp on Friday and attend the commemoration ceremony held by the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, the Association of Roma in Poland and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the European Commission statement said.
Crimes against the Roma during the Second World War were officially recognised by the West German authorities in 1982. Thirty years later, in 2012, German Chancellor Angela Merkel unveiled a memorial in Berlin to the Roma Genocide.
Today, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine observe August 2 as Roma and Sinti Genocide Remembrance Day. On April 8 2015, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for August 2 to be recognised as European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day to commemorate the victims of the Roma genocide in the Second World War.
(Photo, of German troops rounding up Roma in Asperg in May 1940: Bundesarchiv)