Young people commemorated victims of Roma Holocaust in Auschwitz
The world’s largest Roma Genocide Remembrance Event “Dik I na Bistar/look and don’t forget” took place today in Memorial – Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, with more than 400 young people from 20 countries. The big number of participants at the youth commemoration at the Memorial of the formal so called “Gypsy camp”, underlines the growing Roma movement fight´s against prejudices and stereotypes and for the recognition of the 2nd August as a Roma Remembrance day.
Mr. Zoni Weisz, survivor of the Romani Holocaust reminded all participants of the hardship that Roma needed to go through while imprisoned in Birkenau “On this beautiful, sunny day, we cannot imagine how it was for our people in the barracks seventy years ago.” Zoni Weisz escaped the deportation of his family to Auschwitz in May 1944. “Today, we are standing on the very ground, where so many of our loved ones were murdered. We still cannot comprehend what it means!” said the Holocaust witness. He shared his experiences during all four days of the event with young Roma and non-Roma.
The ceremony was very moving and full of emotions. Beside the young Roma and non-Roma oral´s contribution, the Head of the Roma Unit of the European Commission (DG Justice) Lina Papamichalopolou exchanged warm and supporting words addressed to Roma people, also to those facing the discrimination and hatred in today’s Europe.
After visiting the Auschwitz museum in the morning, young people moved to Auschwitz-Birkenau to commemorate victims of the night of the 2nd August 1944 when 2 897 Roma from “Gypsy camp” were murdered in the gas chambers. “We are here once again to learn what happened in the past, but not only to learn, but to not forget”. With those words Emran Elmazi from Amaro Drom, ternYpe member from Germany started the ceremony.
Knowledge and official recognition of the extermination of Sinti and Roma during the Second World War is still very limited, especially among young Europeans including the Roma. This is why ternYpe International Roma Youth Network organizes the world’s largest Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative in Krakow and Auschwitz from July 30th until August 4th, 2013. The initiative got high level support with a patronage from Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and from the Polish Government. The Council of Europe and OSCE-ODHIR are amongst the donors.
The aim and strong vision of this event is to empower young Roma and non-Roma to have a voice, to be key actors for change and to promote 2nd of August as Roma Genocide Remembrance Day, (besides Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27th January). Details: www.2august.eu.