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Porajmos - Roma Holocaust Memorial Day

August 2nd commemorates the #Roma #Holocaust Memorial Day, corresponding to the brutal murder of as many as 4,200 Roma at Auschwitz-Birkenau on the single night leading to August 3rd, 1944. The victims kept separated from the #Auschwitz population in the Gypsy Family Camp (Zigeunerfamilienlager) were primarily children, women, and older adults. Earlier that year, their resistance had prevented a first attempt at annihilating them, and it is believed that the Roma people actively resisted that night.⁣ The "forgotten Holocaust" and genocide of the Roma people was only recognised by West Germany in 1987, forty-one years after the war's end. Among Roma, the murder of their people by the #Nazis during World War II is known as #Porajmos (the Devouring).⁣ Previously introduced by #Ukraine (2004), Serbia (2009), and #Poland (2011), the European Parliament finally established an ordinary day "to commemorate the victims of the genocide of the Roma during World War II" on April 15th, 2015.⁣ This year, Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, judiciously stated that "[r]emembrance remains fundamental to honouring the victims and to ensuring that such crimes are not repeated."⁣ This day seventy-eight years ago culminated the race laws introduced upon the Nazi ascension to power. The road to the gas chambers started by alienating the Roma people, denying their rights as citizens of the German state, and dehumanising them in the eyes of civil society. Ultimately, persecution led to extermination.⁣ As tragic and massive in scale as the night of August 2nd was, these were not the only Roma victims of ethnic cleansing in this period. Historians estimate that Nazi #Germany killed between 220,000 and 500,000 of the around one million Roma in Europe.⁣ At Rethinking Refugees, we reiterate our compromise in raising awareness about #Romani history and culture. All this is to eliminate all the prejudices that continue to damage the Roma population, their integration into society, and their access to services and opportunities.


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