O P I N I O N
by Monica Lowenberg
Most people know that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust.
Few people know that well over half a million Sinti and Roma Gypsies were murdered in the same ghettos, killing fields and concentration camps alongside the Jews.
It is time in my view to embrace a much wider definition of the Holocaust and expand commemoration and teaching about the Holocaust to include the story of the Roma (“Gypsies”) who are still perniciously persecuted today in much of Europe.
The test of the humanity of a community is how the poorest and most vulnerable of that community are valued and treated. It is therefore very encouraging to see a growing momentun for commemoration of the Nazi genocide committed against the Roma.
The report that has appeared today on the website of the European Grassroots Antiracism Movement, reposted here with EGAM’s permission, includes the following. There is also a video accessible at the EGAM site.
Fifty top European antiracist and Roma leaders from eighteen countries held yesterday this commemoration to honor the memory of the victims.
This memory is spoiled by the existence of a pig farm on the place where hundreds of Roma perished because they were Roma.
Benjamin Abtan, president of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement said in his remarks:
“We are here to restore the dignity of the victims and the descendants of the survivors. The assault on the memory of the extermination of the Roma, which is represented by the presence of a pig factory on the site of the former concentration camp at Lety, reminds us of the discrimination and racist persecution of the Roma people in Europe that still persists to this day.
This commemoration is a first step towards a wider mobilization. Let’s get mobilized again on August 2nd to commemorate the Roma holocaust.”
Miroslav Broz, president of Konexe added:
“This is key support for us. This location is a dark mark on the face of Europe. It is our duty to honor the victims of the genocide with dignity to ensure the enjoyment of equal rights for Roma citizens for today.”
Today, the delegation is welcomed by the Roma community in the Usti ghetto.
On October 5th, EGAM will launch and coordinate the 4th edition of the Roma Pride, simultaneously in more than fifteen countries.