The Roma Holocaust did not only have victims, but also heroes, and it is our duty to remember and to talk about them so that as many people as possible should know about their courageous conduct, Minister of Human Capacities Zoltán Balog told the Hungarian news agency MTI on Wednesday.

The Minister reiterated: in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp the Roma rebelled against the SS soldiers keeping them in captivity on 16 May 1944.

Mr Balog pointed out: getting to know and facing the facts of the past is important not only „in order to recognise responsibility and sins”, but also so that „we can turn towards the future”.

He highlighted: the Roma may look upon their community and history as a community and history in which there were people who resisted and there were heroes. This may help to ensure in turn that those who were victims in the past should not remain in the role of the victim in the future.

He added: Hungary can be proud not only of the Roma heroes of the Holocaust, but also of those of the 1956 revolution, as well as of the Hungarian Gypsies in Romania who stood up for the Hungarian community in Marosvásárhely in 1989.

Mr Balog pointed out: there was and there is a highly valuable Roma culture in Hungary, and it is to be hoped that this culture will gain in strength, rather than weaken in the future. It is the duty of majority society to familiarise themselves with this culture, and to accept it as part of their own culture.

As he said, the Government has recently supported several research projects and works of art concerned with the Roma Holocaust. He made specific mention of the study Kali Trash - Fate of the Roma during the Holocaust in Hungary by János Bársony and Ágnes Daróczi, the production 371 Stars staged in the National Theatre and the Memorial to the Victims of the Roma Holocaust.

He highlighted: it is important to explore the past, and relics of the past are also important. This work must be carried out, and we must then turn towards the future, stating that the present and the future will likewise not be free from difficulties. We must talk sincerely about the fact that there are not only opportunities, but also burdens and conflicts.

Mr Balog further made mention of the reference he made in his speech at the 28th Bálványos Summer Open University and Student Camp to Hungarian-speaking Roma beyond the borders. By his account, he spoke about a youth research project which did not cover Hungarian-speaking Roma beyond the borders.

It is indeed a question to be decided: whose responsibility is their fate? It is primarily that of the Romanian State as they live in the territory of Romania, but at the same time the Hungarian community in Romania and the Hungarian Government, too, should decide how to help them, the Minister said.

He added: the problem is complex because, on the one hand, it is true that in a number of Hungarian communities, only Roma students attend Hungarian schools and Hungarian families do not enrol their children in these schools. On the other hand, there are places where Hungarian schools can be maintained just because Hungarian-speaking Roma children are enrolled in those schools.

The decision that we have adopted with respect to the Roma in Hungary must also be adopted with respect of the detached parts of the nation, and „in that case, that which is not a resource as yet can become a resource in the future”, the Minister said.

Mr Balog stressed: „Hungary may claim that we have elevated the Roma cause to a European level as our Presidency was responsible for the passage of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies in 2011”. Additionally, unemployment has decreased in Hungary to a degree that a great many families have been able to elevate themselves to the level of the lower middle class, and the number of Roma students attending university has doubled in the last three years. It was also with a view to supporting them that churches established a network of Christian Roma specialisation colleges which is financed by the State and is operated by churches.

The Hungarian Government has therefore decided to look upon the Roma community in Hungary as a precious resource, and to treat their fate as a European cause.

The European Union is today attempting to regroup the funds that „we have allocated to the Roma at the expense of a great deal of struggle” to the integration of migrants. However, this is not a positive process, „we speak out against it”, and „I sincerely hope that Europe will have enough strength to genuinely help those who belong to us, those who have been European citizens for centuries”, Mr Balog said.