Hungarian Human Resources Minister Zoltán Balog marked the anniversary of the Roma Holocaust on Wednesday and called it an obligation to commemorate and talk about victims and heroes of the events of 1944/45.
Speaking on the occasion of Roma Holocaust Day, Zoltán Balog said that “studying and confronting the past is not only important to acknowledge the crime and take responsibility but also to look toward the future”. Hungary is proud of its Roma heroes, whether they were Holocaust victims, freedom fighters in the anti-Soviet uprising in 1956 or the ones that supported Hungarians in Romania in 1989, he said.
Referring to his recent remarks associated with Romania’s Hungarian-speaking Roma, Balog said the ethnic Hungarian community in Romania and the Hungarian government need to find ways to help them.”The decision we made concerning Hungary’s Roma should be taken to help Roma living in the territories no longer belonging to Hungary, too”, Balog said and argued that the move would “create a resource out of what is not yet a resource”.
The Hungarian government considers Hungary’s Roma community an asset and “handles their fate as a European cause”, he said. The European Union “is seeking to reallocate funds we have won for the Roma, and spend those funds on the integration of migrants”, Balog insisted. “I trust that Europe will have enough strength to help those who really belong to us, those people who have been European citizens for centuries,” he added.
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.