Memoria [EN] Nr 35 (08/2020) - Page 12

Sinti and Roma Genocide Remembrance Day

Łukasz Lipiński

August 2 is celebrated in Poland as the Sinti and Roma Genocide Remembrance Day. 76 years ago, on the night of August 2–3, 1944, the Germans liquidated the so-called Auschwitz II-Birkenau family camp for Gypsies (Zigeunerfamilienlager). About 4,300 children, women and men, the last Roma prisoners of the camp, were murdered in the gas chambers. Due to sanitary restrictions, part of the celebration was moved online. The victims were also commemorated on the grounds of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

Several dozen people met at the monument commemorating the extermination of Roma and Sinti. Wreaths were laid and tribute was paid to the victims. As a result of the ongoing pandemic, most of the commemorative events were moved online. The virtual event commemorating 500,000 Sinti and Roma murdered in Nazi-occupied Europe is the focus of this year's activities on the European Sinti and Roma Genocide Remebrance Day on August 2. On the special website you can find a wide range of information on the Sinti and Roma extermination. There you can also watch a multilingual memorial event open to an international audience.

Roman Kwiatkowski, the president of the Roma Association in Poland, said: “Memory and the past constitute the foundations on which we base the consciousness of our nation. But it is the present and the future when we will pursue our ambitions, common life in line with the harmony surrounding us. Our rights and obligations not only as Roma, but as members of communities we live in. Indifference is a great temptation, but indifference today means approval for discrimination.