Memorial Day for Roma and Sinti 2023 | “Dikh He Na Bister - Look and Don’t Forget”.
In accordance with a resolution of the European Parliament, the 2 August has been International Memorial Day for the Genocide of Roma and Sinti since 2015. Austria has now followed suit: In January this year, the National Council declared the 2 August an annual national day of remembrance.
Why the 2 August? Between the 2 and the 3 August 1944, over 4,000 Roma and Sinti were murdered in the gas chambers at Auschwitz in a single night. It marked a tragic low point in the Nazi genocide, which claimed the lives of 500,000 Roma and Sinti victims.
Remembrance in Oberwart
Today, 79 years later, there are just a few surviving eyewitnesses in the Roma and Sinti community. One of them is Rosa Taubmann, who survived the Lackenbach camp as a child. Next Wednesday, she will speak about her experiences at the commemoration ceremony in the "Stadtgarten Oberwart".
In addition to Rosa Taubmann, Manuela Horvath, Head of the Roma Pastoral, Emmerich Gärtner-Horvath, Chairman of the Roma Ethnic Group Advisory Council, and young members of the Roma community will speak. Other guest speakers include the President of the Provincial Parliament Verena Dunst, National Council Member Nikolaus Berlakovich and Mayor Georg Rosner.
The Roma and Sinti are among those groups that have received far too little public awareness and recognition as victims of National Socialism, making it all the more important that more peole are now speaking up for these victims and keeping the memory of their fates alive.
“Dikh he na bister – Look and don’t forget”.
The commemoration ceremony in Oberwart is taking place with the backing of the National Fund, which has been working to afford recognition and support to all victims of National Socialism since 1995.
International Remembrance at Auschwitz
On 2 August 2023, the Central Council and the Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma, together with the Association of Roma in Poland and in cooperation with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, invited guests to attend the central international remembrance event being held at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial.
This year’s guest of honour was Nicola Beer, Vice-President of the European Parliament, who gave a speech on the occasion of the commemoration. The Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Romani Rose and the Chairman of the Association of Roma in Germany delivered speeches. Gerda Pohl from Germany spoke on behalf of the Sinti and Roma Holocaust survivors.
Members of the Sinti and Roma minority from many countries, representatives of the Polish state, the churches and other international institutions and organisations, ambassadors of various countries and other diplomatic representatives took part in the event. Guests also included representatives from Austria, such as Consul General MMag. Martin Gärtner, Andreas Sarközi from the Cultural Association of Austrian Roma, the Secretary General of the National Fund, Hannah Lessing, and Hannes Sulzenbacher and Albert Lichtblau, curators of the Austrian exhibition at Auschwitz.
The ceremony was streamed live via the website https://www.roma-sinti-holocaust-memorial-day.eu/.