International Roma Genocide Remembrance Day – Samudaripen commemorates August 2, 1944 when 2,897 Roma were killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
The commemoration at the Roma Cemetary in Uštica is the largest annual gathering of the Roma in Croatia at the authentic place where the largest genocide in this part of Europe happened.
16,173 Roma men and women were killed in the surrounding area, near the confluence of the Una and Sava rivers, and the camp system stretched all the way to the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the area of Donja Gradina. This number is stated in the Individual List of Victims kept by the Jasenovac Memorial Public Institution, but we know that the Ustashas in Croatia did not keep accurate records of prisoners, especially not for Roma people.
On August 2, 2020 (Samudaripen Day), a unique Roma Memorial Center Uštica was opened at the location of the Roma cemetery with 21 mass graves near the former Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia. Apart from its primary memorial function – to keep the tragic story of the suffering of Roma men and women in this area during the fascist rule of the Independent State of Croatia between 1942 and 1945 from oblivion, the Centre certainly has a strong scientific, research and educational role. Also, the Wall of Pain monument is being built on an authentic location and it is conceived as a place to pay tribute and commemorate all Romani people who died in World War II in the so called Independent State of Croatia.
Veljko Kajtazi, Member of Parliament for the Roma minority and eleven other national minorities in the Croatian Parliament, has brought genocide against the Roma to the political discourse in Croatia. Together with the Croatian Romani Union “KALI SARA” in 2012, Kajtazi initiated the complete arrangement of the cemetery in Uštica and access roads, lawns and fencing, setting up masts for Roma and Croatian flags, as well as the European Union flag, arranging a place for commemoration, conducting electricity, water and other infrastructure. At his suggestion and with the support of the CRU “KALI SARA”, the Croatian Parliament declared August 2, 2014, the International Day of Remembrance for Roma Victims of Genocide in the Second World War / Samudaripen.
The Croatian Romani Union “KALI SARA”, in cooperation with Mr. Veljko Kajtazi, member of the Croatian Parliament, Roma representatives, and associations, has been solemnly marking the International Roma Genocide Remembrance Day/ Samudaripen since 2012.
The international commemoration is traditionally held at the Roma Cemetery in Uštica near Jasenovac, with the participation of representatives of the political and public life in Croatia, local and regional self-government, and representatives of the Roma national minority.
The commemoration became a place of unification and better integration of Roma. Romani men and women and their representatives from various parts of Croatia, as well as invited guests, including this year the highest state officials, representatives of Roma from European countries and countries in the region, representatives of the diplomatic corps in the Republic of Croatia, representatives of the Alliance of Anti-Fascists, local and regional administrations, religious communities and others pay tribute to the victims and lay wreaths at the memorial plaque at the Roma cemetery.
This year’s commemoration is scheduled for Tuesday, August 2, starting at 10:00 a.m. at the Uštica Roma cemetery.
We hereby invite all interested citizens who wish to attend the commemoration in Uštica to register via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organized, free transportation will be provided for part of the participants of the commemoration in cooperation with the Councils and representatives of the Roma national level at the level of counties, cities and municipalities.