The Roma History, Culture, Education and Holocaust Centre commemorated the 71st anniversary of the Roma Holocaust at an event organised on Sunday.
Ferenc Szabolcs Takács, State Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office and president of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), noted that 20-30% of Europe’s Roma population and nearly half of those of occupied countries were murdered in the Roma Holocaust. Remembering and facing the facts is a must, he said. Addressing the event, Ilan Mor, the Israeli ambassador to Hungary, said the Roma and Jewish people share a fate in being peoples whose lives are worse than others’ because of their origins and religion. He stressed the necessity of remembering and being reminded of this. New generations must be told that the Holocaust was a decision, a very bad decision, he said. Addressing a commemoration organised by the National Roma Self-Government, István Hegedűs, the body’s president, noted that the present generation would be the last one to meet Holocaust survivors in person. It is thus our responsibility to determine how future generations may interpret the events of history without “first-hand knowledge”, he added.
Opposition Socialist lawmaker László Teleki said in a speech delivered at a Roma Holocaust commemoration in Poland, that there was a responsibility to “warn citizens of the globe of the dangers of a new dark era.” András Schiffer, head of the opposition green LMP party’s parliamentary group, said in a statement that human dignity must be protected not only from physical violence but from abuse that is written, verbal or in the form of political propaganda. “Anyone who stirs up conflict between social or ethnic groups hurts Hungary,” it said. Péter Niedermüller, the deputy leader of the Democratic Coalition (DK), said hatred, discrimination and racism were still present in society. Similar triggers of hate-mongering started the genocide 70 years ago, he said.
The Roma victims of the Holocaust are remembered worldwide on 2 August every year since 1972. The date is explained by the fact that over 3000 Roma were murdered at the Auschwitz death camp by SS henchmen on the night from the 2nd to the 3rd of August 1944. Estimates put the number of Roma deported from Hungary to Nazi death camps during the Holocaust between 30 000 and 70 000.