Today we remember the persecution and genocide of Roma and Sinti people at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. We mourn the loss of up to 500,000 people who were murdered or died of starvation or disease in concentration camps. We remember the many more imprisoned, enslaved and forced into sterilisation and medical experimentation.
It was on this day, 2 August 1944, that 2,897 Roma and Sinti were massacred in the Auschwitz gas chambers, and it is on this same today in 2021 that we stand together and refuse to forget the past, as we refuse to ignore the demands of the present. As laws which marginalise Gypsies and Travellers and stigmatise migrants and asylum seekers make their way through the UK Parliament, we refuse to forget what can arise from the stoking of hatred, fear, and division.
In response to these horrors was born the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which aimed to guarantee safety for those on the margins and to ensure a life founded on principles of fairness and equality. It is our responsibility to continue to safeguard these values today in protecting the rights of Romani, Gypsies, Travellers, and refugees.
As organisations that remember Jews who were dispossessed of citizenship, denied access to work and education, and targeted by centuries of race discrimination, we refuse to forget. As believers in social justice and bearers of the legacy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we refuse to forget. As human beings, worthy of dignity, love, tolerance, and respect, we refuse to forget.
Today we stand together with our Romani, Gypsy and Traveller friends. As one we mourn their loss and hope for a reality which dignifies us all.
The Wiener Holocaust Library is one of the world’s leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust, the Nazi era and genocide. The Library’s unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony. For more information visit https://wienerholocaustlibrary.org/
- Forgotten Victims: The Nazi Genocide of the Roma and Sinti – an online exhibition by The Wiener Holocaust Library and the United Nations
- An eyewitness account by Hermine Horvath, a Roma woman from Austria – Wiener Holocaust Library Collections
- ‘Don’t forget the photos’ – a traveling exhibition curated by Jana Müller and Eve Rosenhaft from the University of Liverpool
Suggested further reading
- Forgotten Victims: The Nazi Genocide of the Roma and Sinti by Barbara Warnock
- The Nazi Genocide of the Roma: Reassessment and Commemoration by Anton Weiss-Wendt
- Another Darkness, Another Dawn: a History of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers by Becky Taylor
- The Porrajmos: the “Gypsy Holocaust” and the continuing discrimination of Roma and Sinti after 1945 by Rainer Schulze
- A Gypsy in Auschwitz by Otto Rosenberg
- The Destiny of Europe’s Gypsies by Donald Kenrick and Grattan Puxon
- Remembering the Forgotten Holocaust by Sharika Alam, Wiener Holocaust Library Blog (2019)
For more related sources, try a search for any of the following keywords in The Wiener Holocaust Library’s Collections Catalogue: Sinti and Roma; Racial persecution; Concentration camps; Holocaust; Memory;