European Commission Statement on European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day

2019-08-02
European Commission Statement on European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day

First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová of the European Commission issue statement in conjunction with European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.

Image: Wikipedia

August 2nd marks European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, which was established in 2015 by the European Parliament to commemorate the more than 500,000 Roma people who were murdered by the Nazi regime before and during World War II. In conjunction with the 2019 European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová issued a statement on behalf of the European Commission:

“Ahead of the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, we pay tribute to the 500,000 Roma victims of the Holocaust. This year in particular, we commemorate with deep sadness the 75th anniversary of the murder of the last Roma who were so wrongly and brutally incarcerated in the 'Gypsy Family Camp' in Auschwitz – people who were put to death just for being who they were.

There is no place in our modern European societies and political discourse for the dehumanisation of the Roma or any other minority groups. The atrocities of the past stand as a reminder that equality and non-discrimination are values which cannot be taken as given: upholding them requires our constant attention and readiness to challenge those who would attack them.

75 years have passed, but we do not forget. The memory of the horrors of the past must inspire us all to stand up for the values we believe in. To see every one of our fellow citizens as themselves, as individuals, and to wonder how we would feel if we were them. That is the lesson we have learned from our parents and grand-parents who experienced the darkest of times. So together with our Member States and local communities, we will continue to fight against all forms of racism and ethnic discrimination, here in Europe and worldwide.

We call on all Member States to recognise the Roma Holocaust and to remember 2 August as the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day across the EU.”

Commissioner Jourová will participate in a commemoration event at Auschwitz-Birkenau to mark the 75th anniversary of the extermination of the last Roma person remaining in Auschwitz-Birkenau. More information about the commemoration and about national strategies for Roma integration can be found on the website of the European Commission.