International Roma Genocide Remembrance Day

Members of the Croatian Romani Union „KALI SARA“ laying the wreath at the Roma cemetery in Uštica in 2016 (Photo: Croatian Romani Union „KALI SARA“, archive)

Tens of thousands of Roma were killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp, and one of the most tragic episodes occurred on the night of August 2nd, 1944, when the Nazis killed the last group of 2,897 Roma. To commemorate the event, the Council of Europe, on the initiative of numerous Roma organizations, proclaimed August 2nd as the International Roma Genocide Remembrance Day /Samudaripen. This date is commemorated throughout Europe.

The Croatian Romani Union “KALI SARA”, in cooperation with Mr. Veljko Kajtazi, member of the Croatian Parliament, Roma representatives, and associations, has been solemnly marking the International Roma Genocide Remembrance Day/ Samudaripen since 2012. The international commemoration is traditionally held at the Roma Cemetery in Uštica near Jasenovac, with the participation of representatives of the political and public life in Croatia, local and regional self-government, and representatives of the Roma national minority.

Hundreds of Roma from all parts of Croatia also participate in the commemoration, thanks to the organized transport. The International Roma Genocide Remembrance Day is also the largest annual gathering of Roma in Croatia. The commemoration became a place of unification and better integration of Roma.

Hundreds of Roma are commemorated each year by senior representatives of the Croatian Government, Parliament, counties, cities and municipalities, representatives of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the Serbian and Jewish national minority, religious communities, the Alliance of Antifascists, the Jasenovac Memorial Site and non-governmental organizations.

Responsibility for safeguarding the memory of Roma victims of genocide equally lies with the state and its institutions, as with the Roma themselves. The goal is to enable every Roma to visit this place of suffering and commemorate the victims.