The Night of the Gypsies

4 November 2014

Today, Romany people from across the world will gather in the location of the greatest act of Gypsy genocide the world has ever known. Because on August the 2nd 1944, thousands of Romany people were killed in "Zigeunernacht" or the night of the Gypsies.

To mark the occasion, the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma (Heidelberg, Germany) and the Polish Roma Association (Oswiecim, Poland) have invited thousands to an international memorial ceremony which will take place at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland on the 65th anniversary of the "liquidation" of the so-called "gypsy camp" in Auschwitz-Birkenau on the 2nd of August 2009.

"The 2nd of August has developed as the most important commemoration day within the international community of Holocaust victims of the Sinti and Roma minority." says a spokesperson for the event.

"The last 2,900 Sinti and Roma who the Nazis had deported to the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland from all over Europe were gassed on this day in 1944. For the most part they were the old and sick and mothers with their children. Against this background the anniversary not only has a fundamental meaning for those directly affected, i.e. the victims and their relatives, but also for the European culture of memory as a whole."

In addition to high political and diplomatic representatives from a large number of states, delegations from national Sinti and Roma organizations from the whole of Europe are expected to attend the memorial ceremony on the 2nd of August 2009 at the former site of the camp – one of the largest burial sites of Sinti and Roma.

But you can also mark the event wherever you are. Through your participation you would not only pay tribute to the last survivors – whose number is rapidly shrinking day by day – but also show your support for overcoming the racism and social disadvantage which Europe's largest minority is still subjected to.

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