Commemorative events in Italy and Czech Republic for Roma killed during the Holocaust

The City of Rome, the Rome-based non-governmental organisation Opera Nomadi and the Jewish Community of Rome organised a march on January 26, 2001, to commemorate the Roma killed during the Holocaust. The march ended with the placement of a plaque on Via degli Zingari in the centre of the city. The plaque reads: “The City of Rome, Opera Nomadi and the Jewish Community of Rome place this in memory of the Roma, Sinti and Travellers who died alongside the Jews in the concentration camps during the barbaric genocide of Nazi and Fascist rule — that it may never happen again, that it not be forgotten and that brotherhood amongst all peoples be sustained.” The three kilometre march included approximately eighty Roma from various camps in and around Rome and was accompanied by 30 anti-riot police who cited a danger to public order as the justification for their presence.

Another commemoration of the Holocaust took place recently in the Czech Republic. The Czech Press Agency has reported that a ceremony to commemorate the beginning of the mass deportations of Czech Roma in March 1943 took place in Brno on January 6, 2001. The ceremony took place at the site of a recently unveiled plaque on the former building of the Nazi Protectorate police, where Roma were held before the mass transport to the concentration and mass extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau on March 7, 1943. Some 5000 Roma were deported between March 1943 and January 1944 to Auschwitz-Birkenau from the territory of the “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia” — the wartime province established on the territory of those parts of Czechoslovakia occupied by German forces in 1938 and 1939. Most members of the pre-war Czech Romani population were killed in the Holocaust.

(Czech Press Agency, ERRC)

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