The Deputy State Secretary for Social Inclusion of the Ministry of Human Capacities stressed the importance of remembering on the international Roma Holocaust Memorial Day on Thursday in Budapest.

Mrs Langer Katalin Victor said at the conference held in Újpest on the occasion of the memorial day that the task in hand is dual: one the one hand, we must pass on the stories that spread by word of mouth, and on the other we must transform historical faithfulness to historic faithfulness.

“No one can afford – not a single individual, but especially not a nation – to forget”, the Deputy State Secretary said.

She added that there are a number of events in the history of communities, nations, nationalities and minorities which are painful and tragic.

We are reluctant to remember these, but even that which is tragic, such as the Roma Holocaust, is part of our common memory, the politician said.

Mrs Langer highlighted that in May 1944 in the Roma camp in Auschwitz the Roma rebelled against their captors, and fought for their lives as heroes.

Against the background of remembrance we also celebrate heroes, she said.

Szabolcs Molnár, Fidesz Deputy Mayor of the district highlighted that on 11 July 1944 ten thousand people of Jewish and Roma origin were forcibly taken away from Újpest regardless of age or gender. Therefore 13 years ago the local municipality declared 11 July an Újpest day of mourning.

Barna Pál Zsigmond (Fidesz) Member of Parliament also stressed that we must remember and preserve the memories of the victims so as to ensure that such atrocities may never happen again.

He said that – with the exception of the horrors of the war – Újpest is a district that readily embraces other communities, and in this spirit the municipality has formed exemplary cooperation schemes with the national communities living there.

Historian László Karsai pointed out that to this day the Roma policy of the Nazis and their allies remains a topic that is poorly studied and processed.

In the relevant literature there are major debates even regarding the most fundamental issues, he added. Mr Karsai said there was no European plan for the extermination of the Roma, the Nazis did not plan to kill all Roma.

In contrast to Jews, they did not regard them as “a highly powerful race that sought to destroy humanity and to rule the world”. They were persecuted on a racial basis, “their way of life was defamed on genetic grounds, with reference to pseudo-scientific arguments”, he said.

The conference organised by the Eötvös József Roma-Hungarian Pedagogical Society, the Asociata Nevo Parudimos (Romania) and the Modulus Community Building Association was also attended by Félix Farkas, advocate of the Roma national community.

Since 1972 August the second has been the international Roma Holocaust Memorial Day. Based on the decision of the congress of the World Roma Organization a number of countries around the world have since remembered on this day the events of the night of 2 August 1944 when in just a few hours more than three thousand Roma were killed in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The European Parliament declared the historical fact of Roma Holocaust during World War II in a decision adopted at its plenary meeting held on 15 April 2015.