Tomorrow, homage to the victims of the Roma Holocaust will be paid around the world. To mark the occasion, MEP Lívia Járóka has initiated a written declaration in the European Parliament to declare 2 August as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of the Porajmos (Romani Holocaust).
The Porajmos (literally: devouring) has long remained unknown to the general public; it was only recognized in the early 1990s. The written declaration recalls that, in the occupied eastern European territories, tens of thousands of Roma were sent to their death. On a single day – on 2 August 1944 – more than four thousand Roma were killed in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Following the 1972 proposal of the Gypsy World Federation, Roma victims are therefore remembered on this day worldwide.
According to the declaration, the lack of knowledge of the majority of society of Roma history in general – and the Porajmos specifically – contributes to significant prejudice against Roma people and could also be an obstacle to their inclusion. It therefore proposes that 2 August be proclaimed as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of the Porajmos.
Hungarian MEP Lívia Járóka, Rapporteur on the EU strategy on Roma inclusion, said: "Europe-wide remembrance of the Roma Holocaust could help promote understanding of the sufferings of Roma people over the last century and in conserving the memory of victims. At the same time, the establishment of a remembrance day could strengthen solidarity between people and so could help in the inclusion of Roma. It also confirms the unity of our continent and its free and equal European citizens".
Background: The initiator of the written declaration was Lívia Járóka, Hungarian MEP (EPP Group). The document was co-signed by Juan Fernando López Aguilar (Spain, S&D), Cecilia Wikström (Sweden, ALDE), Catherine Greze (France, Greens) and Mikael Gustafsson (Sweden, GUE) MEPs. The document must be signed by the majority of MEPs by the end of December in order to become the official position of the European Parliament.