An exhibition on the occasion of International Roma Holocaust Memorial Day at BiH History Museum

SARAJEVO, August 3 (FENA) – The Association of Romani Women “Bolja Budućnost” (A Better Future) from Tuzla, in cooperation with the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized a photo exhibition on the occasion of the International Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.

The exhibition gives us significant insight into the historical events and suffering of Romani men and women during the Second World War, as well as their important role in preserving culture and identity.

Visitors have the opportunity to see rare photographs depicting the life and suffering of Roma men and women during that difficult period, as well as depictions of their strength, resilience and togetherness.

The exhibition is on display from August 1 to 6 at the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where a press conference was held today on the occasion.

Director of the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Elma Hašimbegović, said that this museum has perhaps the most important collection on this topic that deals with the Second World War, and it also includes this part related to the Holocaust, the suffering of the population from these areas.

She mentioned that they dealt with the suffering of the Roma in the Second World War a few years ago, opening an exhibition in both Sarajevo and Banja Luka.

The director of the Association of Roma Women “Bolja Budućnost” from Tuzla, Indira Bajramović, said that the Holocaust against the Roma during the Second World War was recognized only on March 12, 1982.

“History has not yet provided accurate information about how many Roma died in the Second World War. In Europe, it is supposed to be from 250.000 to half a million people. Nazi Germany took the lead in these crimes,” said Bajramović.

She stated that tens of thousands of Roma were killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp alone.

“On the night of August 2-3, 1944, the Nazis killed the last group of 2,897 Romani men and women. That is why we mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Roma Victims of the Holocaust on this day,” Bajramović reminded.

She added that the largest execution site for Roma in the countries of the former Yugoslavia was the Jasenovac concentration camp.

“In May 1942, Roma from the NDH (Independent State of Croatia) territory were deported to this concentration camp, but the exact number of victims was never determined, because they were not registered upon arrival in the camp. They were identified by the numbers on the wagons in which they were transported. According to some estimates, more than 16 thousand Roma were killed in Jasenovac,” said Bajramović.

The Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Thomas Busch, said that we are here today to honor the hundreds of thousands of Roma victims of the Holocaust.

“Up to half a million Roma were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Second World War. In addition to all that, we must say that 40,000 Roma were brutally killed on the territory of Donja Gradina, in today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most of the victims were women and children,” said Busch.

He pointed out that the mass organization of the killing of Roma during the Second World War will forever remain part of the Holocaust and part of the darkest moment in the history of mankind.

“We are also very concerned that the facts about the genocide against the Roma are often ignored and that they are not given the importance they deserve. The days when we commemorate these victims have a special significance,” said Busch.

He added that this event is very important to inform the public about all the horrors of the Holocaust and about the victims, including Roma from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also from the rest of Europe.

“By reminding ourselves of these facts, we pay our respects to all the victims and do everything we can to prevent such things from happening again,” said Busch.

According to him, the OSCE is fully dedicated and committed to working on improving the position of Roma in this country, but also throughout the region.

“We work in areas such as access to housing, healthcare, education and employment. We work with numerous government institutions and non-governmental organizations,” said Busch.

(FENA) S. R.