Roma and Sinti Genocide Remembrance Day: In Memoriam

I am writing this post just before 01:30 BST. What has now become yesterday was Roma and Sinti Genocide Remembrance Day. Through the night of 2nd/3rd August 1944, the Nazis rounded up the 'Family Camp' in Auschwitz, consisting of Roma and Sinti, and herded all of them into the gas chambers. Almost 3,000 men, women and children were killed in one night.

These Gypsies were lulled into something of a false sense of security. After all, their heads were not shaved, they did not wear prison uniform and they did not work (Gypsies were often thought too lazy and unproductive by the Nazis). Starvation and disease were still, of course, rampant in their section of the camp, but by comparison their standards of living in the camp were quite a lot better than others, particularly in the women's camp.

However, their holding until the end of the war was not to be. On this terrible night 68 years ago, the Nazis exterminated the entire sub-camp. Many survivors remember the night vividly, for the screams, the smoke, the industrialised murder of so many people in the darkness.

And so may we remember them, as we sit in our homes with our families and our comforts all around us, before we retire to comfortable beds. So may we count our blessings and be grateful that we have never and will never endure such a night of tragedy, loss and death. And so may we acknowledge their suffering, and the suffering that still goes on around us day, albeit on a smaller scale, and vow not to be bystanders, but to do something about the racism, hatred and prejudice that still takes place today, so that their deaths will not have been in vain.

May their souls rest in peace.