2nd August, Roma Genocide Remembrance Day
The Romani genocide/holocaust, also known as Samudaripen, was the planned and attempted effort, during World War II by the government of Nazi Germany and its allies to exterminate the Romani people of Europe.
Roma were branded with hot irons, women had their ears cut off and they made us wear a brown inverted triangle to distinguish us from the others. We were persecuted, deported to concentration camps, tortured, murdered, used us as human subjects for perverted experiments, thrown in specific “Gypsy Ghettos” because the Germans wanted “.. to toss in the Ghetto everything that is characteristically dirty, shabby, bizarre, of which one ought to be frightened, and which anyway has to be destroyed.” and much more.
The Nazis even implemented an Eugenics research program, which had the purpose of “proving” that Romani people were an “inferior race” which was why Nazi scientists traveled within Nazi occupied Europe documenting the Romani communities. Roma were forced to undergo DNA tests and something similar to the “one drop rule” was applied – even if you only had a rather small insignificant % of Romani blood you were still seen as Romani and persecuted.
No one knows how many Roma actually survived this horror, since no one ever bothered to list the victims or survivors. A lot of historians were (and still are) very biased against Romani people so it’s especially hard to get clear numbers. Some historians estimate that the number of Romani victims lies between 220,000 to 500,000 and that is not true. The real death toll is as high as 1.5 million to +2 million. Up to 90% of Europe’s Romani population was exterminated by the Nazis.
The Romani Holocaust ended in 1945, yet it took until 1982 (37 years later) for it to be formally “recognized” that a genocide has been committed, and even then it was only recognized by Germany. An apology to the Romani has never been received. The German government paid war reparations to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust but not to the Romani. The Interior Ministry of Wuerttemberg argued that “Romanis were persecuted under the Nazis not for any racial reasons but because of an asocial and criminal record.” when that is clearly not true and there are countless of articles proving this statement wrong.
The Roma who survived the Holocaust were regularly accused of lying about their experience and were denied any help or recognition. It was not until the 1990s that Romani who had suffered the concentration camps were entitled to apply for proper compensation.
Roma have been killed because of the Nazi’s racism, traditional anti-Romani attitudes and a mixture of prejudice towards Romani people – we were defined “enemies of the race-based state”. Yet this is still continually erased from the history books or barely even worth a footnote.
European countries continue to make no or insufficient mention of the Roma victims in their official position regarding the Holocaust when they should put some effort on making the Roma genocide widely known and recognized to serve as a counter force to the increasingly violent rhetoric and action against Roma because of them and through them.
Please read, spread and remember this. This history should not be swept under the carpet or forgotten. Please also respect that this day is not about all Holocaust victims like 27th January. It’s specifically about the Romani Holocaust victims who continue to get excluded from the topic of the Holocaust/WWII even 72 years after this horror ended. The reason why 2nd August was picked as the date is also exclusively related to the Romani victims and has something to do with the Romani Day of Resistance.