Gypsy Council report on the recent Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day

19 August 2016
Gypsy Council report on the recent Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day

Gypsy Council report on the recent Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day

A report from the Gypsy Council on the August 2nd Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day that took place at the Holocaust Memorial Stone in Hyde Park, London.

It was very appropriate that the Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day took place in a heavy summer rain.  It was a day when Roma, Gypsy, Pavee and non-Travellers came to bow our heads at the Hyde Park Holocaust Memorial Stone in remembrance of the Gypsy victims of the genocide in the concentration camps, and throughout the occupied counties of Europe, during the Second World War. We  came together to give truth to the statement that the Gypsy victims of the  genocide would not be forgotten as time goes by, nor would they be giving an almost silent role in the historical archives documenting the horror of those times.

On rainy days such as that we could easily imagine the Gypsy people standing out in the rain, in camps or in towns and city streets to be counted by those who hated them and had evil intent towards them. In those evil times, there would have been whole families standing beside each other not knowing if they or their families would be alive to be counted the next day. A horrifying thought.

DSCN0729 (600px * 450px)

The congregation at the service listened to the many impassioned speakers as they spoke of their sorrow and their determination that the victims would not be forgotten. A Gypsy lady told of how her family suffered the loss of family members. Time and again she broke down as she spoke and many of us were moved to tears as we realised as we listened;  there but for the grace of God we too could be suffering like this lady remembering our family members who were victims.

  The speakers were made up of Roma, Gypsy, Pavee, Jewish People, Christians, Moslems and activists from many different organisations and political stand-points. We were all of the same mind. The horror visited on the Gypsy people of Europe must never be forgotten or side-lined.

   In my short speech I asked the congregation to remember that the perpetrators of the genocide were not monsters from outer space but fellow human beings. Fellow human beings who made their brothers and sisters lives a living hell because they deemed them different, less human than them and less worthy to the right to life. The Gypsy people were guilty of no other crime than just existing.

DSCN0785 (600px * 450px)

Even today in this country we see an indifference to the Gypsy victims. The UK Holocaust Commission still does not have a Gypsy representative on it although we, the Gypsy Council, are working hard to change that exclusion. It could be said the indifference and ignorance to the Gypsy victims continues the persecution of the innocent victims even in death.

It is time the UK heeded the mournful cry of the Gypsy victims demanding justice and equality in remembrance. Those who attended the remembrance service have heeded the cry and added our voices to that call for equal respect and remembrance.

By Phien

Co-Chairman Gypsy Council