Warnings about anti-Romaism heard at Roma genocide commemoration

Murska Sobota – An event was held in Murska Sobota marking Roma Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday in memory of the Nazi genocide against the Roma and Sinti during WWII. Panellists highlighted the need to constantly draw attention to such events and raise one’s voice against hate speech, anti-Romism and genocide.

At the event, termed Genocide against the Roma, Dangers of Spreading Fascism and Anti-Romaism, two historians presented some facts about the persecution of Roma.

Danijel Vojak said killing all the Roma in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on 2 August 1944 was only the last genocide against the Roma after the pogroms against them had been taking place for centuries.

Urging caution when it comes to the number of Roma killed by the Nazis between 1939 and 1945, Vojak said there were no verifiable data because the Roma had not been registered individually, only the number of wagons in which they had been brought to the camps had been counted.

Although the estimates put the number to between 250,000 and 1.5 million, the figure agreed in Europe is 500,000, he said.

Historian Marjan Toš added that the numbers as such were not the most important thing. What is important is that this was crime.

Jožek Horvat Muc, head of the Slovenian Roma Association, meanwhile said that Roma people were victims of hostile acts to this day.

“The genocide is still being covered up, the archives are somehow inaccessible, some people deny Auschwitz.”

He also said that even now in the EU, the Roma genocide, hate speech and anti-Romism were being repeated.

Horvat Muc said that the Roma had always been victims because with their concept of “being” rather than “having” as the driving force of life, they had always been at odds with the prevailing principles in Europe.

Marjan Šiftar, head of the board of the Dr Šiftar Foundation, said that on Roma Remembrance Day, we must raise our voice against violence, war and discrimination, not to mention hate speech, hatred and other negative things.

At the end of the commemoration, a wreath was laid at the memorial plaque dedicated to Roma Holocaust victims in front of the former business school in Murska Sobota.

Roma Holocaust Memorial Day is observed on 2 August to draw attention to the Nazi genocide Roma and Sinti Nazi, which is also known as Porajmos.

It remembers the day in 1944 when the “Gypsy Camp” was destroyed in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, killing all Roma, up to 4,200 by some estimates.

Another memorial event was held in Slovenia yesterday.