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Today, August 2nd, is dedicated to the memory of all Roma and Sinti people who died in the Nazi genocide during the Second World War. The specific date commemorates the murder of almost 3,000 Roma people in a single night during the liquidation of the “Gypsy family camp” at Auschwitz on 2 August 1944. Photo credit: Freepik / For illustrative purposes.

Czech Rep., Aug 2 (BD) – Roma flags are flying above city halls across the Czech Republic this weekend to mark Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, an internationally-observed day of remembrance for all Roma and Sinti people who died at the hands of the Nazis during the Second World War.

Roma people suffered alongside Jews in the Nazi genocides of the Second World War. From the Czech lands, an estimated 6,000 Roma were killed, 90% of the pre-war population. While historians do not agree on an exact figure, it is likely that overall at least half a million Roma were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

The Roma Holocaust Memorial Day was proposed in 2009 by the International Romani Union, and is observed in several countries, though others mark the Roma genocide as part of the main International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th. The date of August 2nd was chosen as the anniversary of the devastating events of 1944, when the Gypsy family camp at Auschwitz was liquidated, leading to the killing of 2,897 Roma people in a single night, mostly women, children, and the elderly.

As well as the flags flying from some city halls, a ceremony to mark the anniversary will take place this evening in Prague’s namesti Miru, where the names of victims will be read out.     

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