The Prague 8 municipal department is marking Roma Holocaust Memorial Day by flying the Romani flag to remember the tragic night of 2 August 1944.
Some 21,000 Roma and Sinti people were murdered by the Germans in the so-called ‘Gypsy family camp’ (Zigeunerlager) at Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II.
On the night of August 2, 1944, the Germans killed 2,897 Sinti and Roma in the gas chambers.
“On 2 August 1944, the final two transports of Romani people left Auschwitz-Birkenau. More than 900 men were sent to Buchenwald and 490 women to the concentration camp of Ravensbrück. Children, the elderly, and invalids, were murdered in the gas chambers.
The history of what had been called the Gypsy Camp, where Romani people from the Protectorate [of Bohemia and Moravia] were also imprisoned, came to an end,” local authorities cited the author Jiří Padevět in their press release.
Annually, 2 August is commemorated by Romani people all over Europe as Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.
During the 17 months that the “Gypsy Family Camp” existed (from February 1943 to July 1944), as many as 23,000 children, men and women were imprisoned there. Approximately 21,000 Romani and Sinti prisoners, both male and female, were murdered in the camp itself.
In occupied Bohemia and Moravia, Sinti and Roma were detained at the Lety and Hodonin camps before being deported to Auschwitz.
Other Romani prisoners were murdered in concentration camps in Bełżec, Chełmno, Majdanek, Sobibór and Treblinka. Other Romani prisoners were shot dead and buried in mass graves in the forest – their numbers are difficult to estimate.
The extermination policy of Nazi Germany is estimated to have caused the deaths of as many as half a million Romani and Sinti people from all over Europe.
Some estimates say the number was as high as 800 000 victims, which would have been anywhere between one-fourth to one-half of the interwar population of Roma.