Budapest, August 2 (MTI) – The Roma History, Culture, Education and Holocaust Centre commemorated the 71st anniversary of the Roma Holocaust at an event organised on Sunday.
Ferenc Szabolcs Takacs, state secretary at the prime minister’s office and president of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) noted that 20-30 percent of Europe’s Roma population and nearly half of those of occupied countries were murdered in the Roma Holocaust. Remembering and facing the facts is a must, he said. He added that the Roma community, which has seen many hardships in the course of history, is an endless source of creative energy.
Addressing the event, Ilan Mor, the Israeli ambassador to Hungary, said the Roma and Jewish people share a fate in being peoples whose lives are worse than others’ because of their origins and religion. He stressed the necessity of remembering and being reminded of this. New generations must be told that the Holocaust was a decision, a very bad decision, he said.
The Roma Holocaust Centre helps remember the victims, he added.
Addressing a commemoration organised by the National Roma Self-Government, Istvan Hegedus, the body’s president, noted that the present generation would be the last one to meet Holocaust survivors in person. It is thus our responsibility to determine how future generations may interpret the events of history without “first-hand knowledge”, he added.
Opposition Socialist lawmaker Laszlo Teleki said in a speech delivered at a Roma Holocaust commemoration in Poland, on Sunday that there was a responsibility to “warn citizens of the globe of the dangers of a new dark era.”
Andras Schiffer, head of LMP’s parliamentary group, said in a statement signed also by party co-leader Bernadett Szel, that human dignity must be protected not only from physical violence but from abuse that is written, verbal or in the form of political propaganda. “Anyone who stirs up conflict between social or ethnic groups hurts Hungary,” the statement said.
Peter Niedermuller, the deputy leader of leftist opposition Democratic Coalition (DK), said hatred, discrimination and racism were still present in society and there were those who stigmatise the Roma and stoke up hatred against them or other minority groups for political gain. Similar triggers of hate-mongering started the genocide 70 years ago, he said.