For the seventh consecutive year the commemoration of the International Roma Genocide Remembrance Day / Samudaripen was organized by Veljko Kajtazi, MP and Croatian Romani Union “KALI SARA” in cooperation with Roma National Councils in the Romani cemetery of Uštica near Jasenovac on Thursday, 2nd August.
Besides the representatives of Roma associations from all over Croatia, the commemoration was attended by Roma delegations from other countries and the representatives of the diplomatic corps as well as the Envoy of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, Ivo Žinić, County Prefect of the Sisačko-moslavačka County, Envoy of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, Alen Tahiri, Deputy Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, and the delegation of the City of Zagreb, headed by the Mayor, Milan Bandić.
Commemoration was enriched with a musical performance by the soloist opera singer Sanja Toth from the Croatian National Theatre in Osijek, recital of the “Ja sam Jadvašem” poem by Edis Galushi, Romani activist from Kosovo and a performance by a violin soloist Ismet Jašarević.
“This is the place of the greatest suffering of the Roma community, the place where the Roma community was decimated and the area where the worst and most serious crimes were committed in this part of Europe during World War II, and this must never be forgotten. Genocide was committed here not only against the Roma, but against humanity and against all the European values of today inherited by the modern state of Croatia”, emphasized Veljko Kajtazi, MP in his address.
It should be stressed that the date was symbolically chosen in memory on August 2, 1944, when the SS completed the process of liquidation of all remaining Roma, 2898 of them in the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp. Likewise, the Ustaša regime in Uštica separated Roma detainees from other victims of the massacre. In the period from 1941 to 1945, at least 16,173 Roma were killed here, out of which 5608 children and 4887 women were killed.
Commemoration was concluded by paying tribute to the victims in front of the wreath placed on the monument while shortly before the commemoration the Mayor of the City of Zagreb, Milan Bandić and Veljko Kajtazi, MP visited the site where the Uštica World War II Roma Memorial Museum will be constructed. The Museum will house a permanent exhibition of sufferings of the Roma national minority in the World War II.