During the World Word II the Roma people in Europe suffered persecution and extermination under the Nazi Regime, as West Germany recognized in 1982. Although figures are not concrete because Nazis often did not keep any account of the number of Roma sent to the camps, tortured and killed; estimates of the death toll of Roma in that time range from 220,000 to 1,500,000. This black episode of the history is named the Roma Genocide or Holocaust, although it is known by many other names like Porajmos or Samudaripen (Mass Killing, in English).
It happened just 70 years ago. The Council of Europe and Roma communities around the continent remember the genocide on the 2nd of August in order to spread the awareness about hate cruelty and to avoid any similar case in the present or the future.
An educational advisor at Council of Europe, Ruxandra Pandea, shared recently in No Hate Speech Movement blog a post written by Dragan Radosavljevic, president of NGO “Minority voice” to remember the suffering of Roma in Nazis’ camps. Radosavljevic wrote that “Roma people were considered for the Nazis nothing more than a primitive race, a bit more advanced than animals but far below the Nazis, and as such it was permitted and recommended to torture, abuse and murder them”. Even though genocide is part of the past, Pandea reports through Radosavljevic’s article that in the height of XXI century there are still cases of exclusion and violence against Roma communities in our continent that must be taken into account, punished and abolished.
Remembrance day of Roma Genocide
To commemorate the massacre and to avoid discriminatory attitudes towards minorities such as Roma, the Council of Europe has prepared some activities for the 70th Roma Genocide anniversary, which takes place on the 2nd of August 2014. On this day, the No Hate Speech Movement aims to raise awareness about antigypsyism, hate speech and hate crimes against Roma in the past and the present. The initiative aims to advocate for a wider official recognition of the Roma Genocide in Europe and for the formal establishment of August 2nd as the memorial day of the Roma Genocide.
There are many different ways to participate and learn about Roma Genocide. The NHSM is preparing a streaming connection to watch live the Youth event and commemoration in Krakow and Auschwitz (you can watch it here). You can also read and share the different blog posts are written and published for this action Day (like this one) or maybe you prefer to express yourself writing your own story to remember the genocide or to upload a statement for the recognition of Roma Genocide or to end Roma Discrimination.
If you are more a social media person you can contribute the action changing your Facebook’s profile picture during the day -you can download the picture here – or you can spread the message via Twitter. #RomaGenocide #2August #NoHateSpeech will be available hashtags. As always, everybody can report online hate content against the denial of the Roma Genocide in NHSM webpage.