Roma in Croatia commemorated the Porajmos

Aug 2, 2015


The International Day of Commemorating Roma victims of Holocaust/ Porajmos was celebrated on August 2 by commemorative gathering on the Uštica Roma cemetery, at the Jasenovac Memorial Site. The event was attended by representatives of the highest state institutions, embassies, religious communities and non-governmental organizations. 

At the initiative of Roma organizations, and in memory of 2 987 Roma who were killed on the August 2, 1944 in the Auschwitz concentration camp, the Council of Europe declared the International Day of Commemorating Roma victims of Holocaust/ Porajmos. 

From July 1942 until 1945, the Roma and members of other nations were victims of the Ustaša regime in the NDH. So far, 16 173 victims of Roma are identified in the Jasenovac concentration camp, of which 5608 were children. The fact that on the first post-war census in today’s Croatia, there were only 405 Roma, tells a lot about the horrendous events of that period. 

The suffering of the Roma during the Second World War was happening all over Europe, and it’s estimated that 250.000 to one million Roma were killed. There are no accurate data because Roma victims are forgotten and marginalized in historiography and also in educational programs and textbooks. 

Knowledge of Roma culture and history is important for elimination of the deep-rooted prejudices against Roma and honoring all their victims who suffered during the Fascist regime. Guided by the motto ‘Leave no one behind’, UNDP for many years promotes the inclusion of Roma into Croatian society and works on improving their quality of life. Only by doing this, it is possible to build equal, free and multicultural society. 

To recall, the Croatian Parliament in 2014, on the Initiative of a Deputy Club of National Minorities unanimously recognized the International Day of Commemorating Roma victims of Holocaust/ Porajmos. Croatia has thus become the third country in the world to recognize this day after Poland and Hungary.