Photo: Screentshot via YouTube, European Roma Information Office
Press Release No: 15/31
31 July 2015
Sunday 2 August is Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, commemorating the genocide of Roma people during World War II. Declared by the European Parliament in 2015, the day marks the anniversary of the extermination of more than 3,000 Roma at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944.
During World War II Roma were declared enemies of the state and subject to widespread persecution and murder. Though more than seventy years have passed since the events at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Roma continue to experience prejudice and exclusion in Europe. They are frequent victims of hate speech and hate crimes, and experience discrimination in access to education, employment, and housing. “We hope this commemoration will strengthen efforts for justice and reconciliation,” says CEC General Secretary Guy Liagre.
“Throughout their history, Roma minorities have experienced marginalisation, suffering, and violence,” adds CCME General Secretary Doris Peschke, “Remembering the past is the first step to healing of memories and building a future respecting national minorities.”
The European Roma and Travellers’ Forum (ERTF) calls on Europeans to observe a moment of silence at noon on Sunday, 2 August in memory of the Roma victims. The Conference of European Churches and the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) encourage all Europeans to join in this action.
For more information on the Roma genocide of World War II, the European Roma Information Office (ERIO) has prepared a list of publications and websites on the subject. ERIO has also produced a short film available online.
For more information or an interview, please contact:
Conference of European Churches
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 114 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 national council of churches and organisations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.
The Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) is the ecumenical agency on migration and integration, asylum and refugees, and against racism and discrimination in Europe. Members are Anglican, Orthodox and Protestant Churches and Councils of Churches as well as church-related agencies in presently 18 European countries. CCME cooperates with the Conference of European Churches and the World Council of Churches.