No: 19/20 issued jointly with the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe
2 August 2019
On the occasion of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) are calling on churches to join commemorations, honour and pray for those affected by the Roma Holocaust.
The Roma Holocaust—also known as the Porajmos, meaning “devouring” or “destruction” in Romani language, is remembered every year on 2 August. This is a date when the so-called “gipsy family camp” within the Auschwitz concentration camp was liquidated and some 3,000 persons were killed in 1944. The day commemorates Roma, Sinti, Yenish, Kale and related groups that were systematically persecuted and killed during the Nazi time. It also serves as a reminder of the contemporary discrimination of this biggest minority group in Europe.
Dr Torsten Moritz, CCME General Secretary stated, “Remembering the Porjamos is an ongoing commitment for the churches in Europe. Churches’ action today is significant, as exclusion and violence against Roma in Europe unfortunately is not a thing of the past.”
“Every week we learn about new acts of violence from groups spreading racial hatred, as well as systematic exclusion of Roma by public authorities. This is often accompanied by a rhetoric of hate and division by politicians, who call themselves Christians. As Christian churches we must underline: every human being is equal and created in the image of God,” he added.
CEC President Rev. Christian Krieger said, “Remembering is not only a task of faithfulness to the past, it is above all a duty to the present and the future. This is because discrimination against Roma continues, churches must be vigilant, pray and act to defend the human rights of all people, especially the most vulnerable and stigmatised.”
Roma in many European countries are part of the Member Churches of CCME and CEC. In addition, several members of CCME and CEC are running socio-diaconal projects for and with Roma beneficiaries, and encourage churches and all parts of society to work for justice for more than ten million Roma people, currently living in Europe.
CCME will hold a conference addressing the theme “Justice for Roma – a challenge for churches”. The dates of the conference will be announced soon. The event aims at giving visibility to the activities of Roma within churches. The participants will engage in dialogue on topics such as the problematic role played by churches in the exploitation and exclusion of Roma, recent initiatives of acknowledging responsibility and guilt, as well as reconciliation.
For more information or an interview, please contact:
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 2 234 68 42
Fax +32 2 231 14 13