Roma Cafe

Roma Café discussion kicks off on Romani Resistance Day

May 16 is a symbolic date for now in the contemporary Roma movement throughout Europe – a day that intends to shift into a positive narrative by highlighting Roma heroes during the holocaust. ERGO Network together with the Diverse Youth Network organized a renewed concept of Roma Café on May 17 to engage in discussions with Roma and non-Roma on what it means to us to have a Roma Resistance Day.

During the Roma Café guests came together from all over Brussels and Europe. Ms Evelin Verhas joined us from the Budapest based Tom Lantos Institute to present the approach of a human rights organization as well as to provide insights into the Roma Resistance research that has been conducted in 5 European countries. It was important to set the scene with a video interview, where a French Roma World War II survivor, Raymond Gureme explains his every days during the 40s in a very informative testimony. Mr. Atanas Stoyanov kicked off the discussion sharing his own motivation and experience being part of the Dik I Na Bistar movement as a young Roma who has been involved since the very beginning as a participant, later as a trainer and group leader. The DIK I NA BISTAR movement is organized by the Ternype Roma International Youth Network bringing together young people from all over Europe to Krakow and Auschwitz to commemorate the Roma genocide on August 2. Besides the remembrance initiative, a training component is also empowering young Roma and non-Roma.

The research – Joanna Talewicz-Kwiatkowska: `Resistance and Survival of the Roma and Sinti in Auschwitz-Birkenau` – presented by Evelin Verhas pointed out a number of focal points to consider in the current discourse. The minority rights perspective requires the equal recognition of the genocides that have been committed against minorities, and inter and multicultural education must serve as a basis for that. May 16 is researched using the resources that are at disposal such as Roma and Sinti survivor testimonies, memoirs, official records etc., most of them found in the archives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. It should be noted that Joachimowski submitted his testimony three times, each time giving a different date for the events at the Zigeunerlager. Whilst recalling a date from the past may be a challenge for a person submitting a testimony, one needs to be cautious assuming that testimonies necessarily describe historical facts. It should be noted that, until now, no existing research could verify or or disprove Joachimowski’s story. Therefore, this research was meant as a first step towards reconstructing events connected to Roma and Sinti resistance in the Zigeunerlager.

The intention was to stimulate new thoughts and to engage in discussions. The meaning of resistance and how it is present in our everyday lives was very important, but the questions of identity also raised a number of valid points.

 

Statement on Denial of the Holocaust of the Roma in the Czech Republic

European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network Statement on Denial of the Holocaust of the Roma in the Czech Republic

ERGO Network condemns in the strongest possible terms the denial and doubt cast on the suffering of the Romani victims of the Lety concentration camp by the current speaker of the Czech lower house on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

As Romani people and as European citizens we welcome the other condemnations of his remarks that have been voiced by Czech political representatives, and call on all other political leaders to join them.

We believe Mr Tomio Okamura should face sanctions for his remarks, including being removed from his post as vice-chair of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. We hope that his fellow legislators see fit to sanction him.

There is no excusing this inexcusable behavior.

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For more information about the cause follow Romea.cz

For the source of the problem see Czech MP marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day by doubting what happen at Romani genocide side

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

ERGO NETWORK

Seventy-three years ago, on 27 January 1945, the Red Army liberated the last survivors from the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

On this day we honor the victims of Nazism, including Holocaust victims from the Jewish community, from the Roma and Sinti communities, from the communities of sexual minorities, and from all other groups who were targeted for special persecution by the Nazis and their collaborators.

Romani and Sinti people were targeted by the Nazis for genocide because of their ethnicity and were almost completely annihilated in some parts of Europe. This part of the history of the Holocaust and the Second World War is often forgotten.

We Roma and Sinti who have inherited the legacy of this history shall never forget it!!! Na bistren!!

It is high time, as we progress toward the middle of the 21st century, that all of Europe fully recognise the horrors of its past, namely, the more than six million European Jews and the hundreds of thousands of Roma and Sinti specifically targeted for genocide, with few survivors.

European societies today need to hear the stories of the heroes, including Romani heroes, who resisted the Nazis. We need to listen to Holocaust survivors tell the stories of all those who did not survive. We must listen not just to honor the past, but most importantly to resist the dehumanisation that poses a serious threat to the democratic order in many European countries, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.

Europe is in danger today of failing its moral obligation to uphold the dignity of all human beings and to prevent a recurrence of the Nazi era, which began by exploiting the loopholes that exist in any system based on competition for the democratic vote. We must mobilize resistance and prevent neo-fascist and neo-Nazi political parties from accessing power in legislatures throughout the EU-28.

There should be no place for neo-fascists or neo-Nazis in European society, but today they are openly marching in the streets, organizing anti-Romani incitement, and openly brandishing their hatred of all who do not conform to their narrow vision of who counts as European. Europe needs a wake-up call about the danger posed by these anti-democratic forces.

All EU Member States must hold appropriate commemorations regarding the Holocaust, including events where the Romani victims are honored. All EU Member States must also properly monitor and prosecute present-day hate crime and hate speech and must report about such crimes targeting Romani people (or those perceived as Roma) to the citizens they serve.

The Roma and Sinti face a specific form of racism in European society, that of antigypsyism, which gives rise to a broad spectrum of discriminatory expressions and practices, including ones that are more covert than overt. Antigypsyism is not only about what is being said about Roma and to Roma, it is also about what is or is not being done to combat their dehumanisation.

All Europeans have a responsibility to recognize the full impact of the centuries-long problem of antigypsyism, as it is an integral part of why institutions continue to neglect their responsibility to specifically combat the dehumnisation of the European Roma by their non-Roma fellow citizens. By fighting antigypsyism, including within institutions, together we can secure a better place for Roma in Europe.

All Europeans have a duty to educate our peers and future generations to make sure that no specific groups are ever targeted for harm, whether by individuals or by powerful institutions. We also have a responsibility to all children in Europe to allow their dreams of a better future, predicated on a Europe that is just, peaceful and secure, to come true and to help them fulfil their dreams and their potential.