Spindelegger on International Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day
Vienna, 2 August 2011 – “We must never forget the cruel genocide committed by the Nazis, which also caused the deaths of thousands of Roma and Sinti. On 2 August 1944, more than 3,000 Roma and Sinti, mainly women and children, were murdered in Auschwitz. I would like to express my deeply felt solidarity with the survivors and descendants of the victims of these horrible extermination campaigns,” said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger in commemoration of the victims of the Roma and Sinti holocaust, which is, after the Jewish population, the second largest group of victims of the Nazi genocide during the Second World War in Europe.
“On today’s day of commemoration I should also like to seize the opportunity and warn against continued xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance which prepare the ground for exclusion and violence. This is a particular threat to ethnic groups in Europe, such as the Sinti and Roma,” continued Spindelegger.
“Recognised as an indigenous ethnic minority group in Austria, the Roma and Sinti are well integrated. But in many parts of Europe they live on the margins of society, in most cases excluded from prosperity, and are increasingly becoming the victims of violent attacks. This alarming and unacceptable development must be put to a halt. The EU-wide Roma Strategy initiated by the Hungarian EU Presidency during the first half of the year constitutes a positive step in the right direction,” affirmed Spindelegger.
The Foreign Minister welcomed the fact that the fate of the Roma and Sinti during the Nazi regime is increasingly being included by holocaust education programmes, and paid tribute to the initiatives taken in this context by the International Holocaust Task Force (ITF): “Austria is an active member of ITF, in which we participate to develop and implement programmes aimed at education, remembrance and research,” concluded the Foreign Minister.
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