Sinti and Roma people from around Europe have gathered in the Auschwitz concentration camp to remember victims of the Nazi Holocaust. August 2 is designated as Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.
Members of Europe's Sinti and Roma communities gathered on Sunday, remembering those who died due to Nazi atrocities and others who are victims of prejudice today.
"I am so sorry about the things you have to see and hear today in Europe," Swedish Member of European Parliament Soraya Post told survivors at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the commemoration ceremony was being held.
Survivor Siegfried Heilig, who lost 11 relatives in Auschwitz (pictured above), said the youth of today were responsible "for not letting something like this happen again."
The head of Germany's central council for Sinti and Roma people, Romani Rose, warned against forgetting history and denying the Holocaust.
"In Germany, where refugee homes are again up in flames today, we are experiencing a clear increase of violent acts by the extreme rights," Rose said.
The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, meanwhile said that "knowledge of Roma history in Europe is crucial to understanding their situation." He named forced sterilization of Roma women, ethnic profiling by police and the large number of Roma children in state care as examples of the community's situation.
In Hungary, people laid wreaths at the Roma Holocaust Memorial in the capital, Budapest. "Few people in Europe know that the Roma Holocaust happened, and there is little information in school history books," Djordje Jovanovic, research director at the European Roma Rights Center in Budapest, told the Associated Press. "There is still a great amount of racism we are facing," he added.
On August 2, 1944, some 3,000 remaining Roma and Sinti prisoners in Auschwitz's so-called "Gypsy camp" were murdered by the Nazis.
mg/gsw (AP, dpa, epd)