Roma Holocaust Day commemorated in Lithuania
August 2, 2012
On August 2nd, Lithuanian Roma Community leaders organized a ceremony to mark the International day of remembrance for the Roma Holocaust. Lithuanian Roma Community members, representatives from the Ministry of Culture and the Parliament, Jewish community, NGOs and the Embassy attended a ceremony at the Paneriai Holocaust Memorial Center. Speakers emphasized the need for Roma Holocaust and Roma history education as part of the overall fight against intolerance. In 1944, more than 3,000 Roma men, women and children were killed in the Gypsies' camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Since 1972, the day of August 2 was commemorated as the Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day. In Lithuania about 500 Roma were killed in Pravieniškės camp, the Ninth Fort in Kaunas and in Paneriai.
Three U.S. Army Cadets and English language professor Kristopher Colvin attended the ceremony. This summer they provide English language training to Lithuanian solders, school age children and Roma people. After the official ceremony, Lithuanian Roma Community leader Joseph Tychina thanked the cadets and the professor for excellent English classes that “help Lithuanian Roma integration in Europe”.