Statement of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner Věra Jourová on the occasion of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, Sunday 2 August:
"On 2 August 1944, around 3000 Roma women, children and elderly people were murdered in the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. They were among hundreds of thousands of victims of the Roma genocide, and they suffered together with others who were persecuted under the Nazi regime. It is for these victims that today the European Commission marks Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.
The genocide committed against the Roma by the Nazis must never be forgotten. Still today, too few Europeans know about this tragic episode of our past. And as events are fading in people's memory, we must be united in remembering those who fell victim to these heinous crimes. We owe this especially to our younger generations who are building the Europe of tomorrow – a Europe that is better and stronger.
As Europeans, we have a joint responsibility to ensure that the atrocities of the past are recognised and lessons are learnt. History can never be allowed to repeat itself. Tolerance and respect must be the basis of our societies today and in the future.
The European Commission supports the European Parliament's resolution of 15 April 2015 to officially recognising Roma Holocaust Memorial Day. We hope that all Member States will recognise it soon.
The Roma, who have been part of our European societies for centuries, continue to face discrimination on the basis of their ethnic origin. The Commission is dedicated to improving Roma integration, drawing on a better understanding of our history. We continue to work with the European Parliament, Member States, local and regional authorities and civil society to improve the daily lives of Roma communities in Europe.”