August 2 is Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, also known as Samudaripen Porrajmos, the anniversary of the day in 1944 in which nearly 3,000 Roma and Sinti women, men and children in Auschwitz-Birkenau’s Zigeunerlager (then infamously known as the “Gypsy family camp”* were killed in the concentration camp’s gas chambers.
In Europe and all over the world 27th of January, the Holocaust Memorial Day, is widely recognised and mourned. Such commemorations, though, often overlook the systematic extermination of Roma and Travellers communities, classified, segregated and killed like the Jewish ones, or also those belonging to the LGBTQI+ community and those with disabilities.
Luckily the recent years have seen a massive work of awareness raising by the Roma organisations themselves but also by international bodies like the Council of Europe and OSCE/ODIHR.
We are supporting these efforts, not only to give dignity to forgotten victims of genocide, but also to spread clarity on the mechanisms of hate and racism, which are disproportionally worse the more discriminated the victims are.
As far as the Roma were concerned in fact, the nazis could not only use the negative prejudices that were deeply rooted in the population, but also the decades of police experience concerning what defined Roma and travellers as a security problem. Both in Germany and Austria the centralisation of the traditional battle of the police against these communities started in the 1920s, before the times of the concentration camps.
What can we do about it?
Considering that Roma and Travellers are still some of the most discriminated communities in our continent, it’s our duty to watch out for any narratives and attitudes that fuel the hatred towards them and for this reason we ask everyone to spread the word about Samudaripen Porrajmos and to shout NEVER AGAIN!
We also take the chance to thank the action of organisations like Phiren Amenca or Dikh He Na Bister which holds Annual Roma and Sinti Genocide Commemoration in Auschwitz-Birkenau, gathering International groups of young people to learn about the Holocaust and antigypsyism and human rights today.
So get informed on the specific aspects of Roma genocide and help us in raising awareness about this forgotten tragedy.
#stayunited #2august #RomaRemember #NaBister
*We acknowledge and condemn the use of the term “Gypsy” as an offense and as a derogatory term and we reported it here solely for documentary purposes.
We in fact stand in support and solidarity with the many Roma and travellers communities which advocate against the inappropriate usage of this term.