Wednesday, December 17, 2008


B92 News Society :

Roma Holocaust marked today
16 December 2008 | 17:35 | Source: B92
BELGRADE -- Roma Holocaust Day is observed on Dec. 16 in memory of more than a million Roma, or Gypsies, who disappeared during the WW2 Nazi occupations.

In 1942, Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler ordered that all Romas from occupied territories should be deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. According to existing data, 25,000 Roma were deported.

The situation was similar in concentration camps in Serbia.

Even though there were Roma in almost every such camp in Europe, there is not much data on how many were killed.

Historians started to research the fate of Roma in the mid 1970s, while after the Washington Conference in 1999, previously unknown Roma concentration camps were discovered.

Member of the Roma National Council Vujadin Marinković said that Roma have a hard time achieving their basic rights, adding that one key rights is that their suffering acknowledged as is the case with other nations.

“But in any case, their suffering was great in numbers, the Roma people know this the best. But there are no statistics for that because the world that was supposed to take care of this did not have adequate data,” Marinković said.

“More than 18,000 requests have been submitted for wartime reparations and damages to Roma in Europe, through the international organization for recognizing the rights of the Roma who died in these camps,” he said.

Historian Branka Prpa said that Europe has shown interest in the Roma question only over the last couple decades.

She said that according to information obtained by the Belgrade Historical Archive in cooperation with Roma organizations, some 24,000 Roma were killed in the Banjica concentration camp alone during the Nazi occupation of Serbia.

“Romas were arrested at the same time as the Jews,” Prpa said, adding that both Roma and Jew men from the ages 16 and up were arrested and then executed in Jajinci, near Belgrade.

Roma Holocaust Day has been observed since 1995.

This article was published by the B92 News Society.

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