European Parliament commemorates Roma Holocaust

For the first time, European Parliament includes Roma victims in Holocaust Remembrance Day event. Roma still suffer discrimination today.

Yoni Kempinski, Brussels ,

Soraya Post
Soraya Post
Yoni Kempinski

The Roma (or Romani, sometimes referred to as Gypsies) Holocaust was acknowledged for the first time at the international Holocaust Remembrance Day event held at the European Parliament.

Opening the event was Mairead McGuinness, the first Vice President of the European Parliament.

"We hard to ensure that each and every member of our societies is treated with respect and dignity, regardless of race, creed, or color," she said. "We therefore have a very special role with regard to defending and promoting human dignity."

"We are greatly honored that some of those who survived the concentration camps, both Jewish and Roma, are with us here in the European Parliament at this solemn commemoration event. You are a poignant living link to the past, and we honor your presence among us today. Thank you."

Soraya Post, MEP, Rapporteur on Roma fundamental rights, said, "I think it is important that we have joint commemoration, using the UN definition...which includes the commemoration of all victims. And I think it is important. I think the importance in it is that it gives a message to the mainstream society that all victims suffered the same pain, by the same perpetrator, during the same era in Europe."

Post also noted that the Roma Holocaust was only acknowledged in 1982, and even today, the Roma are discriminated against in the labor market, education, and other areas.

"My father was Jewish, my mother's Roma, and I didn't know a lot about it before," she said. "The difference is that...the anti-gypsies, and the way Europe treats Roma still today, is terrible. It's a kind of...persecution, but in a more sophisticated way."