Commemorating the Roma victims of the Nazi regime on 2 August
For centuries, Roma people in Europe faced exclusion, discrimination and racism. They were among the groups singled out for persecution and murder by the Nazi regime, its allies, and collaborators before and during World War II. During the Nazi era, German authorities and their supporters throughout Europe subjected Roma to systematic racial persecution and decimated communities across the continent.
Remembrance of the Roma victims of the Nazi era today
“The misconceptions that fueled the genocide are still around. The beast is there. It’s sleeping, but one day it could wake up again.” - Daniela Abraham, Granddaughter of Roma Survivors and Founder of the Sinti and Roma Holocaust Memorial Day Trust 1
The road to gaining recognition for the Roma victims has been long and hard. For decades following World War II, the Roma were not recognized as victims of Nazi persecution and the crimes committed against them remained unacknowledged. Many elements of this atrocity are still under-researched and widely unknown by the general public, often leading to denial and distortion of facts about this dark chapter of history.
Today, the Roma are Europe’s largest minority. They are continuously facing human rights violations: one in four reports discrimination based on their Roma identity.2 To address this, learning about the Roma persecution and extermination perpetrated by the Nazi regime, its allies, and collaborators, and remembering the Roma victims remains a collective duty.
In 2015,the European Parliament declared 2 August as an annual remembrance day to commemorate the liquidation of the so-called “Gypsy Camp” at Auschwitz-Birkenau, in 1944. Multiple governments and various international organizations have adopted this day to pay respect to the hundreds of thousands of Roma murdered in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Honor the victims and survivors by standing for remembrance of these crimes and countering ongoing anti-Roma discrimination today.
Join the campaign #ProtectTheFacts in commemorating the Roma victims of the Nazi era.
- Learn the facts: Explore the resources included below to learn the facts about the Roma and Sinti victims who were murdered for their identity during World War II.
- Protect the facts of the persecution of the Roma against distortion and disinformation. Remain vigilant in telling historical truth from misinformation and prejudice in order to preserve the historical record.
- Take action: Find your way to stand for remembrance – share the campaign materials and resources to raise awareness, look for commemoration events to attend near you, read testimonies of Roma victims and survivors, and foster conversations in your private and professional networks.
Please note, resources included here use both “genocide of the Roma” and “Roma Holocaust” to refer to the persecution and mass murder committed against the Roma during the Nazi era.
Learn more about the history of this genocide:
- Information on Sinti and Roma genocide from the Memorial Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
- Entry on the Genocide of the European Roma in USHMM'S Holocaust Encyclopedia
- Educational resource "The Fate of the European Roma and Sinti during the Holocaust"
Learn about the the fate of the Roma and Sinti in different countries:
Learn more about the history of this commemorative date:
Explore personal stories of the Nazi genocide against Roma and Sinti with this exhibition:
- Online Exhibition "Forgotten Victims", by the United Nations together with the Wiener Holocaust Library
Learn about tools to counter antigypsyism and anti-Roma discrimination:
- The IHRA's work on the Genocide of the Roma
- The UN Office of the High Commissioner's work to address antigypsyism, including the Romani Memory Map of the Americas
The views expressed by the individual contributors to the blog do not necessarily reflect those ofthe European Commission, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the United Nations, UNESCO, or officials of Member States of the European Commission, IHRA, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions, the United Nations and UNESCO.
1 Bunyan, R. (2019) "The Persecution of the Roma Is Often Left out of the Holocaust Story. Victims' Families Are Fighting to Change That". Available at: https://time.com/5719540/roma-holocaust-remembrance/.
2 Roma Survey 2020-2021 - European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, “Roma in 10 European Countries – Main Results” (2022); Available at: Roma in 10 European Countries - Main results | European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (europa.eu).