Roma community in Ireland marks the ‘forgotten Holocaust’

Extermination of their people was only officially recognised in 1982

A memorial service has taken place for members of the Roma community who died in the Holocaust.

Some 500,000 Roma and Sinti (a branch of Roma) people died in the Holocaust, a fact which sometimes gets overlooked when considering the even greater calamity which happened the Jews of Europe.

The members of the Roma community in Ireland held up a banner which stated the Roma Holocaust was the "forgotten holocaust" and was first acknowledged only in 1982. August 2nd has been designated as a day for remembering the calamity.

The event took place at the National Memorial to the Defence Forces in Merrion Square.

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Flowers were laid at the memorial while Daniel Spirache, a member of the Roma community, read out a poem on behalf of his grandfather who survived a concentration camp in Transdniestria, a Soviet enclave of Moldova which borders Ukraine.

Respect for site

The Roma community held up banners asking for the removal of a pig farm on the site of the Lety concentration camp where the whole of the Czech Roma community either died in the war or were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. The

United Nations

and the

European Parliament

have called on the Czech government to close the farm.

The genocide of Roma people was not formally recognised until 1982. Gabi Muntean of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre said the Holocaust had "devastated our community and yet we have had to struggle for acknowledgment of this. I think we can play our part in Ireland by marking this day."

Martin Collins of Pavee Point said that in 2015 Roma were no longer being gassed, but they were being denied basic rights. "We must recognise that the recent rise of anti-Gypsyism across Europe is embedded within the anti-Roma rhetoric and discourse, which fuelled the events of the Porajmos [Roma Holocaust]."

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times