Roma Holocaust Memorial Day Date in the current year: August 2, 2024

Roma Holocaust Memorial Day Roma Holocaust Memorial Day is a solemn remembrance day observed in Poland and some other European countries on August 2. It was established in 1996 by leaders of Roma organizations from ten European countries and the United States. The day homors the memory of the Roma and Sinti victims of the Nazi regime.

The Roma and Sinti are two groups of the Romani people. The Roma live mostly in Eastern Europe and former Soviet states (although sometimes this term is used interchangeably with the Romani people in general), while the Sinti mostly live in Central and Western Europe. During the Second World War, the Sinti and Roma, alongside Jews, fell victims to the genocide carried out by the Nazis and their collaborators.

According to the Nazi racial theory, the Romani were classified as “enemies of the race-based state” and were thereby subject to extermination. Historians estimate that between 200,000 and 500,000 Romani were killed during the Romani genocide, also known as the Porajmos.

About 23,000 Roma and Sinti perished in the Auschwitz concentration camp. In late 1942 – early 1943, a special camp for gypsies was set up at Auschwitz II-Birkenau. The first transport of prisoners arrived at the camp in February 1943. Gypsy prisoners were used primarily for construction work. In addition, the infamous Dr. Mengele used Romani children in his experiments.

Thousands of Romani prisoners at Auschwitz died of infectious diseases and malnutrition, some were killed in gas chambers. Those who survived and had not been transferred to other camps were exterminated on August 2, 1944, when the Gypsy camp was officially liquidated. The anniversary of this tragic event is now observed as Roma Holocaust Memorial Day in several European countries.

Roma Holocaust Memorial Day is recognized by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. Countries that observe it include Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine. In Ukraine, an official remembrance day was established by the parliament in 2004. Genocide Remembrance Day of the Roma and Sinti (Dzień Pamięci o Zagładzie Romów i Sinti) in Poland was declared by a resolution of Sejm in 2011. Like other observances declared by parliamentary resolution, it is a working day unless it falls on a weekend.

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Genocide Remembrance Day of the Roma and Sinti, Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, remembrance day, international observances, Romani genocide