After the march on 27 april , in Budapest six hundred participants boarded a train from the Keleti railway station to Auschwitz to be part of the International March of the Living. From the Phiren Amenca International Network 30 Roma and non Roma youngsters joined the delegation to remember about the victims of the Holocaust.
The more than 15 thousand participants were wearing blue jackets and started their walk in Auschwitz from the former death camp’s notorius gate (with the sign „Arbeit macht frei”) till the number two camp. After the one hour and a half march the participants arrived to Birkenau, to honor the millions killed in the Holocaust.
This year the Hungarian delegation led the march: Jews and Roma, Hungarians were carrying together the almost 20 meter long and 5 meter wide national symbol of Hungary. Behind the national Hungarian flag the youngsters from Phiren Amenca were also carrying one of the Romani symbols, the Roma flag. Most of the participants from Phiren Amenca, who came from Pécs, Szeged, Miskolc, Balassagyarmat, Szécsény, Kecskemét, Kaposvár, were for the first time in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
We, members of Phiren Amenca and ternYpe International Roma Youth Network with the participation in the March of the Living wanted to draw attention to the fact that the official recognition of the Roma Genocide is still very limited, especially among young people in Europe.
Since 2010 ternYpe International Roma Youth Network in cooperation with Phiren Amenca gathers every year young Europeans on the 2nd of August, on the International Roma Genocide Remembrance Day in Auschwitz-Birkenau, to commemorate the Roma Genocide. Last year more than 400 Roma and non Roma came together for one week to remember the Roma Genocide in Krakow and Auschwitz.
We believe there is a need to raise awareness about the Roma Genocide, which is still not recognized in Hungary and in other countries, and while recognizing the racial persecution of Roma under the Nazi regime, we need to acknowledge and address the fact that stereotypes and antigypsyism, mechanisms of exclusion, hate speech and hate crime, as well as the denial of the Holocaust are still widespread in European countries.
The Phiren Amenca International Network share the mission of the March of the Living, that is why we think it was a great opportunity what Gábor Gordon, president of the Hungarian March of the Living Foundation offered, to take part of that event.
Phiren Amenca this year (just like in previous years) is part of the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative, which gathers 1.000 young Roma and non-Roma from all over Europe around August 2nd 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the remembrance day of the Roma Genocide. The youth remembrance event in Krakow and Auschwitz from 31 July to 2 August constitutes an important international event. From Hungary 50 Roma and non-Roma young people and youth leaders will participate at the international youth remembrance event as well as at the preparatory and follow-up events.
This year during the International March of the Living our participants also payed their respect in front of the Roma Holocaust Memorial.