Dear President Juncker,
I am approaching you again relating to your message delivered on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I must admit that your message this year has been a bit more inclusive than your messages before. However, I still wonder if there is a specific reason why you have yet again failed to mention the other victims of the Holocaust, whom you want to “spare from disappearing for a second time”?
You mention the fact that the European Parliament has provided a useful definition of Antisemitism, however, you seem to be insufficiently informed about the fact that the European Parliament has also adopted a definition on anti-Gypsyism, which “is a specific form of racism, an ideology founded on racial superiority, a form of dehumanisation and institutional racism nurtured by historical discrimination, which is expressed, among others, by violence, hate speech, exploitation, stigmatisation and the most blatant kind of discrimination.”
Throughout the centuries, there have only been a couple of countries, where the sufferings of the Roma, caused by their age-long persecution, enslavement and attempts of extermination, have been acknowledged, and a public apology has been offered.
The Roma, due to having been subject to othering and dehumanisation, have been fighting hard but so far mostly unsuccessfully for the recognition of their history, one of the most painful events of which has been those committed against them during World War II. Although carried out in the same period by the same perpetrators, the Roma are still overwhelmingly denied having been victims of the Holocaust. Although they were the only other group which has been targeted for racial reasons.
An estimated 500,000 – 1 million Roma were murdered in the Holocaust, however, in the Nuremberg trials nobody was tried for having sent Roma people to the gas chambers or executed them in front of a firing squad. And there were no Roma witnesses called to the tribunal.
1982 saw the first official recognition of the Roma Holocaust by then German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, however, a permanent exhibition in Auschwitz of The Destruction of the European Roma was only opened in 2001, and the first memorial site in Berlin was not uncovered until 2012.
Nevertheless, all these historic acts have not brought about a Europe-wide recognition of the Roma having been victims of this crime against humanity. Each year on 27 January the International Holocaust Remembrance Day your speeches fail to mention the Roma, and thereby add one more year to the decades of this saddening example of not having been acknowledged as victims.
Therefore, I call on you to stop making the same mistake and take the responsibility as the president of the European Commission and 500 million European citizens, among them 12 million Roma, to acknowledge the suffering of the Roma, and commemorate them together with all the other victims of the Holocaust.
Thank you for your cooperation.