London memorial service for 500,000 Roma victims of Holocaust

By agency reporter
August 2, 2012

A commemoration service will take place at the Hyde Park Holocaust Memorial in London, at 12 noon on 3 August 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 will 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 beside the Holocaust Memorial stone in front of the Palais de l'Europe, Council of Europe, which is 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.

In a statement the Roma said: "We are concerned that today we 'Gypsies' are again being made scapegoats, 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."

Keywords:roma | holocaust | genocide
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