Roma urge remembrance of 'Roma Holocaust'

3rd August 2006, Comments 0 comments

3 August 2006, WARSAW/OSWIECIM - European Roma called for remembrance of the estimated half-million Roma victims of Nazi Germany's Second World War genocide on Wednesday at ceremonies in the former death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Roma representatives met in the most notorious of the camps to mark the 62nd anniversary of the Nazi's liquidation of the so-called "Gypsy camp", in which records show some 3,000 Roma men, women and children were gassed to death. President of the Roma Association of Poland Roman Kw

3 August 2006

WARSAW/OSWIECIM - European Roma called for remembrance of the estimated half-million Roma victims of Nazi Germany's Second World War genocide on Wednesday at ceremonies in the former death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Roma representatives met in the most notorious of the camps to mark the 62nd anniversary of the Nazi's liquidation of the so-called "Gypsy camp", in which records show some 3,000 Roma men, women and children were gassed to death.

President of the Roma Association of Poland Roman Kwiatkowski recalled that Auschwitz was but one of the death camps where the Nazis held and killed Roma.

"In places such as Sobibor, Belzec, Hodonin and Lety lie the ashes of many of our brothers - victims of Nazi genocide," Kwiatkowski said, quoted by the Polish PAP news agency.

"There is still a great deal to be done there in order to be able to pay homage to the memory of murdered Roma in a dignified manner," Kwiatkowski said, expressing dismay that few sites where Roma had perished in Europe under the Nazis were preserved with due remembrance and respect.

Last year the Polish Roma leader called for Germany to keep its promise to build a memorial for Roma victims of the German Third Reich. Construction has not yet begun.

A massive memorial of more than 2,700 huge blocks dedicated to the memory of the six million European Jews who perished under the Nazis opened in Berlin last year.

An estimated half of the one million Roma living in pre-war Europe were slaughtered by Nazi Germany between 1939-44.

Kwiatkowski also complained that some Polish Roma survivors fail to receive the Polish state pensions they are entitled to and called on Poland's president and government to review the issue.

Of the 23,000 Roma taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp between 1941-44, only 2,000 survived. Between 1.3-1.5 million people, mostly European Jews, perished at the camp, the largest and most notorious in the German Third Reich.

Roma from Austria, Germany and Nazi-occupied Czech territories were deported to the death camp on orders of Nazi SS head Heinrich Himmler.

Many Roma prisoners died of starvation and disease, while some, especially children, were subject to the pseudo-medical experiments of infamous Auschwitz physician Josef Mengele.

An estimated eight million Roma live in modern-day Europe.

DPA

Subject: German news

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