International conference on Roma Holocaust – We shall remember

The European Roma Information Office held a conference today in Brussels titled "Remembering the Forgotten Roma Holocaust". Participant MEP Lívia Járóka reminded in her speech, that the ignorance concerning Roma history expressed by the majority society has contributed to a lot of prejudice and it could also represent an obstacle of their acceptance and inclusion. She urged therefore to support researchers in raising awareness of the centuries-long common history that majority societies share with Roma.

The European Roma Information Office held a whole-day conference on "Remembering the Forgotten Roma Holocaust" with the participation of representatives from EU institutions, OSCE and the UN. EPP Group MEP Lívia Járóka highlighted that it was inevitable to pay homage to the victims of Roma Holocaust, the Pharrajimos (verbatim: Devouring), since it was still unknown for the broad public that hundreds of thousands of Roma were killed during the Second World War, many thousands of them in extermination camps.

Járóka reminded that on one single day, on 2nd August 1944, when Himmler gave orders to liquidate the Gypsy camp inAuschwitz, four thousand Roma, including women and children were murdered.  Victims of this massacre are commemorated on this day all around the world since 1972, when the Gypsy World Federation decided to declare it as the international Remembrance Day for the Pharrajimos. Although in 1982 German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt acknowledged the fact of the Roma Holocaust, in the shadow of the Jewish Holocaust, Pharrajimos long remained unknown to the general public. It is therefore of extreme importance to support universities, academic societies and research institutes in unravelling the adversities that Roma had to face throughout their history, and in raising awareness of majority societies towards the centuries-long common history they share with Roma – Járóka said.

"Remembering those dark days of persecution and exclusion, we must find strength and hope to unite and to become a community of dignity, a community that breathes as one. For as we share our history, so will we share our future" – she concluded.