Stories of resistance

Speech of the minister of culture and information policy of Ukraine on the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma

The Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine  Oleksandr Tkachenko recorded an address to the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma, in which he mentioned the tragic experience of the Roma people.

“Today, the tragic experience of the World War II feels to us particularly acutely since, once again in history, the Ukrainian people heroically resist the assault on freedom and humanity. Today Russia is attempting to exterminate Ukrainian identity. During World War II, Nazis too were attempting to exterminate people based on their ethnicity”.

In 1943, over 22 thousand Roma from Germany and some other European countries were deported to the Auschwitz death camp. About 19 300 people died there from starvation, freezing temperatures, illnesses, exhaustion, as a result of medical experiments or were killed in gas cameras. During the night of August 2 to 3, the remaining over four thousand Roma prisoners were killed in Auschwitz gas cameras. Therefore, August 2 was chosen as the date to commemorate victims of the Roma genocide committed by the Nazis. Historians estimate that, during World War II, from 500 thousand to 1 million Roma people became genocide victims.

About 20 thousand of them were killed by the Nazis on the Ukrainian land. Ukraine has been and, I am certain, will be a peaceful home for people of a great variety of ethnic identities. Remembering the tragic events of the World War II, we feel acutely as never before the values of human life, solidarity and mutual respect, regardless of ethnic identity or skin color. These are values of the contemporary civilized world. These are values of Ukraine” – the speech says.


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