President Stevo Pendarovski sent the following message on the occasion of August 2 – the European Day of Remembrance for the Roma Holocaust:
“Remembering and paying respect to the millions of victims of the Second World War, we must not forget the more than 4,300 Roma children, women and men who were executed in the Nazi camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
In that terrible period of history, laws were in force that devalued human life and the inherent dignity of various groups, including the Roma. The ideology of the time allowed for the exploitation of their labor, inhumane medical experiments, forced sterilizations and finally, mass murders in the death camps.
During the Second World War, over 500,000 Roma were killed throughout Europe and the Balkans.
It is worrying that today, historical injustices against the Roma are still alive – the denial of the genocide against them, racism, anti-Gypsyism, hate speech and discrimination, the intensity of which is increasing, even in modern democratic societies. All this pushes Roma to the margins and sets back the struggle for their human rights and freedoms.
The Roma people are an inseparable part of the Macedonian social mosaic that shares the aspirations and sacrifices in the struggle for a free society. That coexistence should continue in the spirit of solidarity, humanity and mutual respect.
Let us remember the historical facts about the greatest evil in the history of mankind through the personal testimonies of the survivors.
But it is our duty and our common historical and civilizational responsibility to publicly oppose such phenomena, so that the tragedies of the Second World War will never be repeated!
On the occasion of the European Day of Remembrance of the Roma Holocaust, a commemorative ceremony was held in the President’s Office during which a tree was planted in the yard and a memorial plaque with the inscription “In honor and memory of the Roma victims during the Second World War” was placed. At the commemorative event, testimonies of surviving members of the Roma community from the Second World War were read.