The 2nd of August marks the Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day. During the night of 2nd to 3rd of August 1944, the Roma camp or “Gypsy camp” as they called them at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp was liquidated and the last group of nearly 3000 Roma inmates there were sent to the gas chambers.
There will be commemoration ceremonies around the country in their remembrance on the 63rd anniversary of that terrible night, a night that was repeated many times during World War II.
It is not know exactly how many Roma were killed during the Holocaust but estimates say around 25% of their population were willed, with a population of almost 1 million that would be around 220000 people killed.
Only as late as 1979 did the West German Federal Parliament declare that the Nazi persecution of Roma as being racially motivated. This meant most Roma were able to apply for compensation for their suffering and loss during the Nazi regime. However, by this time, most of those eligible for compensation were already dead.
“continued persecution”…..widespread discrimination today is not to be put in a continuum with the Nazi concentration camps. A proper perspective needed.
It is good that we remember all the victims of the death camps and I hope Slovaks will reflect on the current, continued persecution of the Roma in this country.