As a commemoration day for the victims of world war II in member states of the council of europe

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Strasbourg, 8 May 2013

CAHROM (2013)15 prov

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Document prepared by the Support Team of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Roma Issues

in co-operation with the Secretariat of the European Roma and Travellers Forum

This document contains abstracts of
the OSCE-ODIHR report “Holocaust Memorial Days in the OSCE Region:

An overview of governmental practices” (December 2012)



the OSCE-ODIHR report “Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism” (April 2006)

as well as abstracts of

the joint Council of Europe/OSCE-ODIHR website on the genocide of Roma ( Please consult this website for additional information.
For useful references on the genocide of Roma, please consult ERIO PDF document:


This version of the document includes corrections/updated information provided by:

CZECH REPUBLIC (23/04/2013)

GERMANY (26/04/2013)

LUXEMBOURG (03/05/2013)


SWITZERLAND (26/04/2013)

UNITED KINGDOM (05/04/2013)


Albania page 3

Andorra page 4

Armenia page 4

Austria page 4

Azerbaijan page 5

Belgium page 5

Bosnia and Herzegovina page 6

Bulgaria page 6

Croatia page 8

Cyprus page 8

Czech Republic page 8

Denmark page 11

Estonia page 12

Finland page 12

France page 13

Georgia page 14

Germany page 14

Greece page 16

Hungary page 17

Iceland page 18

Ireland page 18

Italy page 19

Latvia page 20

Liechtenstein page 21

Lithuania page 21

Luxembourg page 22

Malta page 22

Republic of Moldova page 22

Monaco page 23

Montenegro page 23

The Netherlands page 23

Norway page 25

Poland page 26

Portugal page 27

Romania page 27

Russian Federation page 28

San Marino page 29

Serbia page 30

Slovak Republic page 31

Slovenia page 32

Spain page 33

Sweden page 34

Switzerland page35

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” page 36

Turkey page 36

Ukraine page 37

United Kingdom page 39

Official recognition
In Albania, the Holocaust is recognized; however, there is no information whether the Roma are recognized or not as victims of the Genocide.
According to the OSCE (Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism, p. 55), the Holocaust in Albania is referred to as the “systematic and regular genocide pursued by the German Nazis against various ethnic, religious and national groups prior to and during World War II, up until 1945”. The following groups are included in references to the Genocide: Jews, Roma and Sinti, communists, immigrants, gays and lesbians, alcoholics, religious fundamentalists, and German dissidents.
Commemoration day(s)
Albania observes 27 January as its Holocaust memorial day. The day is called the “Day of Commemoration” or “Day of Memory”. It was established by Law Number 9280, adopted on 23 September 2004, and proclaimed by the President of the Republic in decree number 4345 of 11 October 2004. Article 2.1 of the law sets 27 January as the commemorative date.
On 27 January, governmental institutions - at both national and local levels - schedule commemorative activities in memory of the victims of the Holocaust – particularly the Jewish victims – and those who sacrificed their lives in the fight for freedom against Nazism. Government officials at all levels participate in the commemorative events, including the President, the Prime Minister and other ministers, the Chairman of the Parliament, heads of municipalities and communes and other official employees at all levels.
In addition, Albanian schools observe 10 December each year as a day devoted to “Good understanding and tolerant attitudes in schools”, following an order issued by the Minister of Education and Science in February 1998. Each 10 December, various activities on Holocaust historical events are held at schools.
Specialised institutions/museums/memorials/exhibitions/documentation centres
There are no specialized institutions dealing with this topic at the moment but in March 2013, the municipality of Tirana announced that a Holocaust Memorial will be built.
Schools and universities participate in events on 27 January through a number of activities aimed at remembrance of the Holocaust and its victims, in particular the Jewish victims. Activities organised at schools include expositions of paintings and drawings, poems and essays. A consistent theme of activities is “never again”. At the same time, schools focus on the importance of learning the lessons of the Holocaust as they apply to today’s crises in the world. Elementary, middle and high school educators seek to integrate multicultural, anti-bias and social justice themes into their lesson plans.
A wide range of organisations and institutions are involved in various types of events around the 27 January Day of Commemoration. Those participating include museums, non-profit organisations (Amnesty International, the Centre for Human Rights, the History Teachers Association), scientific institutions, the Academy of Sciences, the Institute of History, cultural associations, theatres and the electronic and print media. The types of activities organised include academic discussions, expositions of paintings and drawings, poems, essays, concerts, speeches, television shows and visits with families that protected Jews during World War II. In addition, an Albanian scholar, Professor Shaban Sinani, produced a book entitled “Jews in Albania: The Presence and Salvation”.
The Government of Andorra has not designated a special day of commemoration for the victims of the Holocaust.
Official recognition
Roma are not in the state’s official definition of the Holocaust. According to an OSCE report, the Holocaust is defined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as ‘the attempted murder of the Jewish people by the Nazi Germany regime” (See Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism, p. 57).
Commemoration day(s)
24April is the National Genocide Memorial Day in Armenia. This is “a universal remembrance day. There is no particular Holocaust memorial day; reference to the Holocaust is made in the Genocide Memorial Museum in Yerevan1 (See Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism, p. 57).
Specialised institutions/museums/memorials/exhibitions/documentation centres
No information.
Official recognition
The Austrian legal system does not provide legal recognition of historical facts, although the denial of the Holocaust is a criminal offence under the “Law prohibiting the Reactivation of National Socialism”. Although Austria has not officially recognised the Holocaust or the Samudaripen – in Austria referred to as the Holocaust of the Roma – through any legislative act, the Samudaripen or the Holocaust of the Roma is recognised as an integral part of the Holocaust as such. In 2004, the official commemoration organised by the Austrian Parliament on the occasion of the Holocaust, on the 5th of May – the Austrian Holocaust Day – was dedicated exclusively to the Genocide of the Roma.
Commemoration day(s)
Austria commemorates the genocide of Roma and Sinti in November and includes Roma in commemorations on 5 May.
Specialised institutions/museums/memorials/exhibitions/documentation centres
The Documentation Centre of Austrian Roma has a special exhibition on this topic, as does the permanent exhibition of the DöW (Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes - Documentation Centre of the Austrian Resistance) in Vienna. The Mauthausen Memorial has a special monument dedicated to the Roma Victims of the Genocide. There are special monuments in Salzburg, Weyer, and Lackenbach/Burgenland.
The Roma Base Project” at the University of Graz2 has been a major research centre for Roma history in Austria for many years and was a major contributor to the “Factsheets on Roma History” published by the Council of Europe3, which contain a very detailed account of the fate of Europe’s Roma populations between 1938 and 1945.
The topic of the Genocide of the Roma is an integral part of Holocaust commemorative activities in Austria – such as “Letter to the Stars4 or the teacher training programmes on the topic.
Official recognition
No information.
Commemoration day(s)
Azerbaijan observes 27 January as the “Day of the Victims of the Holocaust Genocide”. The day was chosen to coincide with the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
Holocaust victims are also commemorated during the events held on the anniversary of the victory over fascism, celebrated each year on 9 May.
Each year, in connection with the Holocaust Memorial Day, the “Alley of Martyrs” in Baku is the site of visits. Meetings, roundtables, conferences and other gatherings are organised in various State, public and private institutions, in both Muslim and other communities. In some instances, commemoration of Holocaust victims is held concurrently with remembrance of victims of other events and tragedies occurring in Azerbaijan in the twentieth century.
Specialised institutions/museums/memorials/exhibitions/documentation centres
In particular, the State Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the Work with Religious Organisations participates each 27 January in meetings organised by Jewish communities to commemorate the Holocaust. The State Committee on the Work with Religious Organisations recommends to religious communities in Azerbaijan that they provide the public with information about national genocide days, hold commemorative ceremonies and recognize the Holocaust in their religious services.
State secondary schools and institutions of higher education are involved in commemoration activities.
Official recognition
No information.
Commemoration day(s)
In 2004, the Belgian Federal Government decided to designate 27 January as the country’s Holocaust Memorial Day. Prior to this decision, 8 May (the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe) had been Belgium’s official Holocaust Remembrance Day. The 8 May anniversary continues to be marked as “Peace Day”, while 27 January is now commemorated as the “Remembrance Day of the Genocide Committed by Nazi Germany” and is generally referred to as “Holocaust Remembrance Day”.
On 8 May, a number official ceremonies are held, each of which is attended by a government delegation. One example is the annual ceremony at the Antwerp Deportation Monument that is attended by official representatives of Belgium’s national and local governments and by Jewish organisations.
Specialised institutions/museums/memorials/exhibitions/documentation centres
There is some information in the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance in Mechelen / Malines. There is a remembrance place in the Dossin Barracks, which are located in Mechelen / Malines, and from where Sinti and Roma were sent to Auschwitz.
An annual commemorative trip to Auschwitz is organised each January on the initiative of the Minister of Defence, whose portfolio includes war victims, and the National Institute for War Disabled, War Veterans and War Victims (“Instituut voor Veteranen – Nationaal Instituut voor Oorlogsinvaliden, Oud-strijders en Oorlogsslachtoffers/Institut des Vétérans – Institut National des Invalides de Guerre, Anciens Combattants et Victimes de Guerre”), with the participation of survivors, witnesses and secondary school students.
On 29 January 2009, 135 youngsters and Minister of Defence Pieter De Crem visited Auschwitz-Birkenau. A variety of activities focusing on the Holocaust and on the issue of peace and tolerance education also take place on Peace Day (8 May).
Official recognition
According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Holocaust is defined as “the destruction of Jews during World War II5.
Commemoration day(s)
Bosnia and Herzegovina does not officially mark 27 January as Holocaust Memorial Day, due to the absence of state-level legislation on official holidays. On 27 January 2007, the International Holocaust Memorial Day was, however, marked.6
Specialised institutions/museums/memorials/exhibitions/documentation centres
Commemoration events or conferences (e.g. “The State of Holocaust Studies in South Eastern Europe: Problems, Obstacles and Perspectives”) took place on the premises of the Jewish community, some of them under the patronage of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Institute for Research of Crimes of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the International Law University in Sarajevo, the Goethe Institute and the Jewish Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina were among the organisers of such events.
Official recognition
In Bulgaria, the Holocaust is recognized; however, there is no information on whether the Roma are recognised or not as victims of the Genocide.
Commemoration day(s)
In Bulgaria, 10 March has been designated as the “Day of the Holocaust and Rescue of the Bulgarian Jews” (known also as the Day of Holocaust Victims). This date was designated by the Council of Ministers in its Decision No. 5 (February 2003) as the “Day of the Salvation of the Bulgarian Jews and of the Victims of the Holocaust and of the Crimes against Humanity”, which is also known as the “Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and of the Victims of Crimes against Humanity”.
The date marks the anniversary of the day in 1943 when the Deputy Speaker of the Bulgarian National Assembly, Dimar Peshev, together with Metropolitan Bishop Stephan of Sofia, Metropolitan Bishop Cyril of Plovdiv and many other prominent public figures – with the support of members of the general population – prevented the planned deportation 50,000 Bulgarian citizens of Jewish origin to the Nazi concentration camps. The day was first marked with an official commemoration in 2002.
Traditionally, a commemorative meeting is held in front of a plaque dedicated to the memory of Dimar Peshev, located near the National Assembly building. Representatives of the Bulgarian Government, the National Assembly, other institutions and civil society groups pay homage to the victims of the Holocaust, as well as to individuals who rescued Bulgarian Jews. The President of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Speaker of the National Assembly, deputies, and high-level officials from the Government and regional public institutions have participated in commemorative events on 10 March. Government officials at different levels also take part in various cultural events dedicated to the special meaning of the Day of Remembrance on 10 March, as do municipal officials. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sciences provides support, information, documentation and resources for the 10 March commemorations.
This Remembrance Day is also nationally commemorated in Bulgarian schools with a special lesson called “10 March: Lesson of Dignity.” Commemoration activities include meetings with survivors, visits to monuments and other sites, art and essay competitions on the topic, and research projects on primary-source documents.
Specialised institutions/museums/memorials/exhibitions/documentation centres
Teaching about the Holocaust and crimes against humanity is imbedded in State educational requirements. The Centre for Jewish Studies and the regional structures of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science provide schools across the country with materials to support the 10 March commemoration. Events are held yearly in schools throughout the country. Such activities have included:

  • Giving lessons entitled “10 March – a lesson on dignity”, which are specifically dedicated to Holocaust commemoration, and are delivered in classes on history and civilization, Bulgarian language and literature, and arts and philosophy, as well as in the class of the head teacher;

  • Studying monuments and sites related to the history of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews, carried out in the form of extracurricular activities;

  • Organizing and holding meetings with persons who witnessed the historical events of 1943;

  • Tracing different sources of information (such as photos, documents, newspapers, magazines and texts), regarding what happened in 1943;

  • Holding competitions for drawings, poems or essays on the occasion of “10 March – a lesson on dignity”;

  • Watching documentaries and movies telling the story of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews. The University Centre for Jewish Studies, based at Sofia University, supports many of these educational activities.

Official recognition
The Republic of Croatia recognizes that, together with Jews and Serbs, the Roma have suffered the most in the Second World War in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH).
In the baseline study document submitted by the Republic of Croatia to the ITF (Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research) in 2005, the Genocide against the Roma was explicitly mentioned. The document was a prerequisite to achieving full membership in the Task Force, which took place in November 2005.
Commemoration day(s)
Each year, on Sunday closest to 22 April, the occasion of the final breakout of prisoners from Camp III Ciglana Jasenovac, which occurred on 22 April 1945, members of a Roma delegation from the area of the former Socialist Federative Republics of Yugoslavia lay wreaths at the Roma cemetery in Uštica. The following representatives address the ceremony: President of the Republic, representatives of the Government, Parliament, different religious communities, as well as representatives of all groups victimized in Jasenovac, including the Roma. The commemoration is broadcast on national television.
The victimization of the Roma in the Ustasha Concentration Camp Jasenovac is presented as a separate thematic unit in the permanent museum exhibition of the Jasenovac Memorial Area Memorial Museum, through documents, photographs, commemorations and audio-video testimony from a surviving Jasenovac prisoner (Nadir Dedić).
In 2003, the Ministry of Education and Sports has adopted the Decision to Establish the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and the Prevention of Crimes Against Humanity, and since then schools are encouraged to commemorate events that took place.
Specialised institutions/museums/memorials/exhibitions/documentation centres
There is no specialized institution/research centre dealing only with the issue of the Genocide of the Roma.
The Jasenovac Memorial Area is responsible for maintaining authentic sites and monuments of the former Ustasha Concentration Camp Jasenovac; it collects, classifies and presents museum material and documentation relevant to the operation of the Ustasha Concentration Camp Jasenovac. It educates visitors and preserves the memory of the victims of the concentration camps.
No information.
Official recognition
Yes, there is an official recognition of the genocide of Roma.

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In the Czech Republic, the Holocaust was recognized and the term used is “Roma Holocaust” or “Holocaust of the Roma” or “Genocide of the Roma”; the term “Porrajmos” is also used by some Roma groups and organisations.
Commemoration day(s)
Holocaust in general is officially recognized as an important day in 245/2000 Coll. of 29 June 2000 on public holidays, the other holidays, significant days and days of rest)

  • January 27, - International Holocaust Remembrance Day, (Den památky obětí holocaustu a předcházení zločinům proti lidskosti);

  • March 7 – at this moment there is a parliamentary initiative on-going, which attempts to recognize March 7 as an official day as the Commemoration day for victims of Roma persecution during the Second World War.

Other days commemorating victims of the Holocaust, relevant to Roma and Sinti victims, include:

  • March 7 – Museum of Romani Culture initiates a commemorative acts, the date of the first transportation of the Roma people from Brno to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943)

  • May 13 – Reverent area in Lety: this date represent historically first act of commemorating victims of Roma genocide during the Second World War at the reverent area in Lety) in the Czech Republic in 1995.

  • July 10 – Reverent area in Lety: to commemorative ceremony in honor of the victims of the Romani Holocaust (July 10, 1942 the Decree on combating the gypsy nuisance was issued – the Prime Minister wanted to establish a basis for commemoration which would actually be historically linked to a significant date connected with this site and the fate of the Romani people during the Second World War)

  • August 1 – Reverent area in Lety: commemorating victims of Roma genocide – this shall commemorate the establishment of the “Zigeunerlager Lety“ (Gypsy Camp Lety) on 1.8.1942, which was operational from 2.8.1942. The camp was closed on 8.8.1943).

  • August 2 – recognized by Czech Roma community, which regularly participate at commemorative acts in Auschwitz-Birkenau. There is no official commemoration in the Czech Republic. Roma community prefers to participate and commemorate this as an international event, which is linked to the events in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

  • August 21 – Reverent area in Hodonín u Kunštátu – commemorating the largest departure of the Roma from the so-called “Gypsy Camp” in Hodonín to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943.

[old text]

In the Czech Republic, there is no special commemoration day of the Genocide of the Roma; there is only a Holocaust Remembrance Day on the 27th of January. Every year the Museum of Romani Culture in Brno commemorates this day with special events.
Every year the Museum of Romani Culture in Brno also commemorates the 7th of March, which is the date of the first transportation of the Roma people from Brno to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943. The museum prepares a commemorative afternoon in the museum’s exhibition hall dedicated to the history of the Genocide of the Roma for the Roma witnesses and survivors, delegates of the Czech Government and local politics, delegates of the Jewish minority and wide public.
Every year in April there is commemoration meeting in Lety, on the place of the former so-called “Gypsy Camp”, where the Roma witnesses and survivors, Roma representatives, delegates of the Czech Government and local politics, delegates of the Jewish minority and wide public met together to commemorate the Roma victims of the Genocide.
The Museum of Romani Culture in Brno also commemorates the 21st of August, which is the date of the first mass transportation of the Roma prisoners from the so-called “Gypsy Camp” in Hodonín to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943. The holly mess was prepared in the chapel of the village Hodonín, as well as a commemorative meeting on the former burying place with the mass graves near the camp, where the memorial site is since 1997.
In the Czech Republic, there is a special Roma Holocaust working group, which works as an advisory committee of the Czech Ministry of Human Rights. This working group is trying to find and prepare data and solutions concerning the Lety and Hodonín camps – the most important Czech places of the Genocide of the Roma. There are plans to build there a new information and navigation system, roads and a parking place. The Museum of Romani Culture in Brno has already initiated in the Czech Ministry of Culture the application for the declaration of the former Hodonín camp as a listed and protected building.
On May 13th 2010 there was a memorial service at the former concentration camp of Lety. The ceremony was organised by the Lidice Memorial in collaboration with the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust and the Lety municipality.
Specialised institutions/projects
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