This year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January 1945, closely following the liquidation of the "Zigeunerlager" ("Gypsy-Camp") on 2 August 1944, when 2,897 elderly people, women and children, all of them the remaining Sinti and Roma in the so-called "Gypsy-Camp" at Auschwitz-Birkenau, were murdered in the gas chambers there. This was the climax of the Final Solution of the Gypsy Question. The Nazis intended to exterminate the Roma completely. Those lessons from the Holocaust have not been fully transposed into the general knowledge of the people in our societies.
Civil society organizations (named below) are strongly concerned about the rooted anti-Gypsyism in Europe and its manifestation in the general lack of involvement of Roma in the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Despite the pressure, and about 2000 signatures on the petition to UN officials to "take immediate action to include Romani speakers in the official commemoration of the Holocaust at the UN", there is once again no Romani speaker at the official United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony in New York on the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Similarly, Romani victims have been neglected at the Czech Holocaust commemoration that will be attended by 30 heads of national legislatures from around the world as well as 500 additional quests.
Moreover, today in the Czech Republic -once a Nazi Protectorate- Roma face anti-Roma demonstrations organized by neo-Nazis that feature increasing levels of hate speech, brutality and violence and are attended by ordinary people. Instead of a respectful memorial on the Roma Genocide site in Lety u Pisku, there is a pig farm. This pig farm should be removed in memory of the Holocaust victims and the Holocaust survivors and to pave the way for full integration of Roma.
Involving Roma in the 27th January Holocaust Remembrance Day is even more needed after the failed attempt in 2014 and by lack of consensus, at the level of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, to have a specific commemoration day for Roma who were exterminated during the Second World War by the Nazi regime and its allies.
We cannot accept that the lesson of the Holocaust has not yet been learned. We cannot accept being written out of history yet another time. We need to shed light on the forgotten Roma Genocide, and on the social exclusion, anti-Gypsyism and hate speech against Roma today which is a consequence of predominant, widespread ignorance and lack of recognition of the Roma Genocide.