Budapest, August 2 (MTI) – There is a need to remind future generations of the dictatorships of the 20th century and commemorate the victims of the Holocaust era, as well as those who saved lives, an official said at commemorations of the Roma Holocaust (Porajmos) on Tuesday. The Roma Holocaust was a common tragedy for Hungary and Europe and “we will not forget the victims; we will not neglect the tasks ahead,” Human Resources Minister Zoltán Balog said.
“Efforts must be made to create a culture of remembrance which aims at commemorating all victims of 20th-century dictatorships and the Holocaust era while showcasing those who assisted and showed solidarity with the victims,” Csaba Latorcai, deputy secretary in charge of social affairs, said at the Centre for Roma History, Culture, Education and the Roma Holocaust in Budapest. The “visible wounds” caused by the second world war and the Nazi era should be healed jointly, he added.
US Ambassador to Hungary
Addressing the event organised on the occasion of the International Roma Genocide Remembrance Day, US Ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell said that together it is possible to move relentlessly forward on the road to equality and the fulfilment of freedom in a way that ensures the Roma Holocaust never happens again.
“Today we pause and mourn to remember the thousands of Roma men and women who were savagely and senselessly murdered and enslaved by the Nazis and their collaborators during world war two,” the ambassador said.
She said a tribute must be paid to “the victims who have so often been forgotten and acknowledge that the Porajmos [Roma Holocaust] was not only the result of an evil regime that killed millions in a few short years, but was also a result of hundreds of years of discrimination and persecution.”
However, anti-Roma discrimination including policies which result in the evacuation of people from their homes and segregation at schools is still present, Bell noted. At the same time she praised the Hungarian government for making “honest efforts on many fronts” to improve the situation of the Roma. The hard work of “all these people can be seen all across Hungary,” she added.
The ambassador said that organisations throughout Hungary are working with the government to ensure that Roma children are not segregated from their non-Roma peers in schools, she said.
Roma Holocaust victims will not be forgotten, says minister
Hungary’s government condemns all forms of violence and hatred that collectively mark people or groups of people because of their race, Balog said in a statement.
He added that remembrance is necessary to make sure that the terrible events of the past are never repeated. The tragedy can be overcome by remembering and sincerely facing up to the facts, he added.
“We are making efforts in Europe to ensure that the challenges of migration from the outside do not overshadow the issue of the poor and those falling behind in Europe,” he added.