Trudeau Government Acknowledges Nazi Genocide Against Roma

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1660 ... September 5, 2018

Trudeau Government Acknowledges Nazi Genocide Against Roma

Suzanne Weiss

More then 50 people of all ages joined in Toronto August 2, 2018, in an international day of remembrance and recognition of the Romani Holocaust (Porajmos) in Europe. They heard Arif Virani, federal member of parliament for Toronto Parkdale-High Park, read a statement issued that day by Justin Trudeau’s government which said, in part:

"On Romani Genocide Remembrance Day, we honour the memory of over 500,000 Romani who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators in Europe. This genocide and the unspeakable violence inflicted on the Romani people are not widely known by the public, making them the ignored victims of WWII."

The statement is "the result of three years of... work by the Roma (Gypsies) and their friends" according to Michael Butch, president of the Toronto Roma Community Centre and founder of the Gypsy Rebels band. It is a welcome shift, even if only implicit, from the pattern of discriminatory and defamatory actions by the federal government over the last two decades, particularly under the government of Stephen Harper (2006-15).

A Montreal-based group defending Roma human rights, "Romanipe," laid out the statement’s deeper implication:

"At a time when acts of racism, hatred and violence against Romani continue to be normalized, preserving the memory of past atrocities and raising awareness about the dangers of impunity becomes not only a right but a duty... The lessons of this tragedy serve to advance the human rights situation of Romani communities at home and abroad."

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