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Roma fate during Holocaust highlighted

Published fredag 2 augusti 2013 kl 13.13
Auschwitzskylten som stals. Arkivfoto: Jockel Finck/Scanpix.

The tragic fate of Europe's population of Roma during the Holocaust was commemorated in a memorial ceremony in Stockholm today, marking the anniversary of the “Night of the Gypsies”, or Zigeunernacht. Between August 2 and 3, 1944, around 3,000 Roma were sent to their deaths in Auschwitz.

Writing in newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Friday, 24 prominent Swedish educators, politicians and cultural leaders argued that a difference is often made between Jewish and "other" victims of the Nazi atrocities.

"Students in our schools need to be made aware that this was the zenith of centuries of anti-Roma tradition in Europe," they write.

One of the signatories, Fred Taikon, president of the organisation É Romani Glinda, told news agency TT: "We want to highlight the Romas' situation and that there was a plan to exterminate Romas in Europe long before the war."

"Anyone who actively seeks information can find it but there has been quite a lot of silence around what happened during that period," Taikon said.

The authors observe that when the annual memorial day for victims of the Holocaust is held in Stockholm no representatives of the Roma community are included in the "VIP-section". Instead, the Roma who attend stand behind the barricades among the general public.

"Ironically, the Roma are transformed into second-class citizens in their own history," the article authors write.

However, Roma community representatives have participated in Holocaust Memorial Day ceremonies in Stockholm’s Great Synagogue.

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