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Genocide Remembrance Day of the Roma and Sinti | Print |
Contributed by ps   
Thursday, 02 August 2012
Genocide Remembrance Day of the Roma and Sinti. Fhoto: Paweł SawickiSeveral hundred people attended the ceremony of the Genocide Remembrance Day of the Roma and Sinti at the former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz II-Birkenau. The ceremony was held on 68th anniversary of the liquidation of the so-called Gypsy Family Camp (Zigeunerfamilienlager). On the night of 2 to 3 August 1944, the Nazis murdered in gas chambers in Birkenau nearly 3000 children, women and men.

Among the participants of the ceremony were the former prisoners, representatives of the Roma organizations, representatives of the Polish government – including Angnieszka Kozłowksa-Rajewicz, the Polish Government Representative for Equal Treatment, representatives of diplomatic corps, representatives of the Jewish community, and the management and staff of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau as well as the regional and local authorities. At the monument that commemorates the genocide of Roma, on the grounds of the former Zigeunerfamilienlager, the participants of the ceremony laid wraths paying tribute to the murdered.

Former prisoners and the representatives of the Roma society. Photo: Paweł Sawicki One of those who gave a speech was Zoni Weisz who escaped from the transport of Roma that was directed by Nazis to Auschwitz from Westerbork, the Netherlands. “This transport is associated with the poignant image of a girl, Settela Steinbach, who ,while the travel, was looking through a crack in the door of the wagon. For many years, this picture was a symbol of the Holocaust of the Jews until the moment when a Dutch journalist discovered that the girl was, in fact, Sinti,” he said. Weisz in the camp had lost his mother, sister and brother. “We must keep in mind all of these, we must constantly promote tolerance, and we must continuously build a better world for our children as they can live in peace and sense of security,” he added.

Edward Dębicki, a representative of the Roma elders, appealed for the memory of the Roma victims. “I belong to a generation, who having in their hearts the images of genocide and the faces of the murdered, appeals to the living for the remembrance. While leaning over the fate of victims and forgiving their oppressors the cruelty they did let us not forget what happened,” he said.

Genocide Remembrance Day of the Roma and Sinti. Photo: Paweł SawickiRepresentatives of the Roma community remembered the tragic story of the Roma during the World War II, but also said much about how wrong they are treated today. “In many European countries the Sinti and Roma are victims of the violence and racist murders,” said Romani Rose, the chairman of the Central Council of Sinti and Roma. The chairman of the Association of Roma in Poland, Roman Kwiatkowski, pointed out that the situation of Roma in the EU countries is very difficult, and the Roma are pushed to the margins of society. “Preserving the memory is important and as much important as the today’s existence of our nation. Therefore, I appeal to societies and their political elites: help us break the vicious circle of alienation, poverty and educational backwardness,” he said.

Last year, the Sejm of Poland passed August 2nd as the Day of Remembrance about Sinti and Roma Genocide.

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