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Sweden remembers Roma holocaust

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A travelling family in 1951, and Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag. Files: TT
17:54 CEST+02:00
Some 70 years have passed since the so-called "gypsy night" when close to 3,000 Roma died at Auschwitz-Birkenau and memorial ceremonies were held in Stockholm and Malmö on Saturday to mark the event.
"The Roma victims of the holocaust have been forgotten all too often. We have to therefore raise our voices," said Domino Kai, chairman of the Swedish International Rome Film Festival and initiator of the ceremony. 
 
Kai hopes to establish August 2nd as an official day of remembrance for the atrocity carried out by the Nazis.
 
"One day when we talk properly about the consequences of anti-Roma xenophobia.
 
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag spoke at the ceremony in Stockholm. Meanwhile an official remembrance ceremony was held at Auschwitz-Birkenau and attended by several Swedish representatives, including MEP Soraya Post of the Feminist Initiative.
 
"There is a growing political interest in the day. More and more people think that it is important," said Domino Kai.
 
Estimates vary as to how many Roma were murdered during the course of the holocaust, with figures varying from 220,000 to 500,000.
 
In March 2014 the Swedish government published a white paper on the historic treatment of Roma, detailing systemic abuse and police opinion that it would be best to kill them off.
 

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"This is an unknown and dark part of Swedish history, maybe even darker than what I thought when we started the work with the white book," Erik Ullenhag said at the time.
 
Ullenhag warned that Sweden's "heritage of prejudice" still exists today, pointing to the slew of racist websites in existence.
 

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