Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, 2 August 2016 : Statement by First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová

“On the night of 2 to 3 August 1944, around 3,000 Roma men, women and children from the ‘Gypsy family camp’ of Auschwitz-Birkenau were murdered in the gas chambers. They were among hundreds of thousands of victims of the Roma genocide, killed by the Nazis and their allies. The Roma were one of many groups who fell victim to the holocaust. It is in memory of all these innocent victims and the horrific injustice they suffered and died from that the European Commission commemorates the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day on 2 August. Against a backdrop of increasingly divisive rhetoric, hate speech and hate crime, it is important to recall these dark moments in our history and learn the lessons of the past. Many people have little or no knowledge that the Roma were targeted by the Nazi regime. The holocaust of the Roma is an under-taught and under-recognised topic. We must not forget that still today there are too many Roma facing discrimination, and who are victims of hate speech and hate crime in Europe. The European Commission recalls its support for the European Parliament’s resolution of 15 April 2015 officially recognising Roma Holocaust Memorial Day. We hope that all Member States will recognise it. The European Commission remains committed to improving Roma integration. It will continue to work with all stakeholders to improve the daily lives of Roma.” The statement is available online