Remember the Hitler genocide that killed half-a-million Roma
By Grattan Puxon
At 12 noon on Friday (3 August) a commemoration is taking place at the Hyde Park Holocaust Memorial, London, for the 500,000 Roma who died as victims of the Nazi genocide during the Second World War.
Those attending will wear replicas of the badges worn by death-camp inmates, yellow stars and white triangles embossed with "Z" for Zigeuner.
White and yellow flowers are to be laid, a black-edged flag lowered and a minute's silence observed, followed by the singing of the Romani national anthem, which includes the line "The Black Legion murdered them." This commemoration is linked with the observance on Thursday at 12 noon beside the Holocaust Memorial stone in front of the Palais de l'Europe, Council of Europe, being held by the European Roma and Travellers Forum.
On the night of 2/3 August 1944, the SS carried out the final liquidation of what was known as the Zigeunerlager at the Auschwitz death-camp. Witnesses say the last 3000 inmates, mostly women, children and old men, fought back with their bare hands as they were forced into the lorries taking them to the gas-chambers.
The men who carried out collectively the Hitler genocide were "only carrying out orders". Studies have shown many were ordinary people, from ordinary walks of life. But they were willing to destroy and murder, once their victims had been sufficiently vilified.
We are concerned that today we "Gypsies" are again being made scape-goats, often in the media. We are seeing all over Europe the re-emergence of anti-Roma racism and violence on a growing scale. Witness the acts of wanton home-destruction, forced move-ons, evictions and deportations, vigilante attacks and arson, and racially motivated murders.
Therefore in remembering the Holocaust, we urge all to help combat racism and halt the downward spiral that could in another dark epoch result in a second genocide.
31 July 2012