Statement on the occasion of the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma 2020 2 August 2020 marks 76 years from the liquidation of the Roma family camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. This date has become emblematic of all the atrocities committed against European Roma during World War II and a time to remember the thousands of missing destinies of Roma children, women and men.
Not only we mark 76 years from the tragedy of the Roma in Auschwitz-Birkenau, but we also morn the loss of a great friend – at the age of 94, in May 2020, left this world the Holocaust Survivor Raymond Gureme. For years, Raymond was inseparable from the young Roma who participated in the Roma youth initiative for Roma Genocide remembrance ‘Dikh i na Bistar’. Every year, Raymond was there with us, side by side, to tell us about the horrors he experienced as a young man. To tell us what it was like to run for your life and to remind us that the freedom we have today has been paid a high price, and that it is never guaranteed. The legacy of Raymond to Roma youth remains: “Never give up! Always resist! Always stand up!”.
To our regret, there is a lot that we European Roma youth have to fight for today. In a number of countries, even after so many years, the Roma Holocaust and the date of its commemoration, August 2, continue to be officially unrecognized. In a number of countries where the majority of Roma perished as victims of Nazi persecutions, there are still no monuments, memorials or museums dedicated to the Roma victims. Furthermore, the Roma Holocaust and Roma history as a whole remain untold, torn pages in European history textbooks. It is our duty, of the European Roma Youth, to demand all these today: for Raymond and for the thousands of Roma whose names we will never know. We have no choice but to fight for a more just society, because others are coming after us, and we want to leave this world a better place.
Roma youth voices matter and it is a high time that we hear them!