Roma Holocaust commemoration
Holocaust education remains a central piece in building up resilience against all forms of racism and hatred in multicultural societies, such as Antigypsysm or Antisemitism. Remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust, this darkest chapter of European history, is essential for understanding Europe today, along with the true value of universal human rights, democracy, rule-of-law and non-discrimination on which our Union is built. Being and becoming European means acknowledging and accepting our common history.
Every year on 2 August, the European Commission pays tribute to the memory of the Roma victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms its unwavering commitment to counter antigypsyism, antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance.
15 April 2015 marked a very important step forward. The European Parliament voted with an overwhelming majority to finally adopt a resolution which recognizes "the historical fact of the genocide of Roma that took place during World War II" and concludes, "a European day should be dedicated to commemorating the victims of the genocide of the Roma during World War II.” Highly important, this resolution also "underlines the need to combat antigypsyism, and stresses that this phenomenon is an especially persistent, violent, recurrent and commonplace form of racism." The European Commission strongly supported the initiative to designate this day – the second of August - as the European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day. A year later, the Council, through its 2016 conclusions, called on the Member States to take note of the 2015 European Parliament Resolution and recognise and commemorate the victims of the Roma genocide that took place during World War II, in accordance with their national practices.
The European Commission also commemorates the Roma victims of the Holocaust in the wider context of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on 27 January. See the fullStatement by President von der Leyen ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
On 2 August 2019, Vice-President Věra Jourová joined the commemoration ceremony in Auschwitz-Birkenau to mark the 75th anniversary of the extermination of the last remaining Roma in the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
On 2 August 2020, President Ursula von der Leyen launched an appeal to EU member states to protect today’s minorities from discrimination and racism. In a joint statement with Vice-President Věra Jourová and Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, she said, “We consider it a moral duty to acknowledge and remember all those who suffered under the Nazi regime: among those people were the Roma.”
Commissioner Dalli was the main speaker at the official virtual Holocaust Commemoration Ceremony of the European Holocaust Memorial Day of Roma and Sinti, at the initiative of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma. Read her full speech here.
Types of supported activities
Communication activities supported by EU funding included voluntary initiatives promoting mutual learning as well as twinning programmes among local and regional public authorities on Roma inclusion across the European Union. Some examples of communication activities included:
a pan-European school drawing competition for 7 to 11 year-olds;
cultural, educational or sports events for 12-16 year-olds;
on-site visits for media in eight countries;
a twinning programme between 20 municipalities from across Europe, focusing on EU objectives and priorities for Roma inclusion.
"for Roma, with Roma"
"for Roma, with Roma" was the name given to a wide range of communications activities designed to combat prejudice and discrimination against the Roma population at local level in the EU. Among others, the communication activities aimed to create synergies between 20 specific municipalities as well as with other stakeholders.
Working in twinning partnerships, the municipalities worked to combat prejudices against Roma through exchange and learning from each other while supporting Roma integration locally and encouraging the development of a wider network.
Watch some of our videos:
Media seminar in Bucharest, Romania, 15-16 February 2016
The role of the media
Small local actions have a genuine impact
Twinning activities to promote Roma inclusion
Local and regional authorities in the EU that promote and encourage Roma equality, inclusion and participation.