2 August – Roma Genocide Remembrance Day

In May 1944, the Nazis started to plan the “Final Solution” for the “Gypsy Family Camp” in Auschwitz. The initial date for the liquidation of the “Gypsy camp” was planned for the 16th of May. The prisoners of the camp were ordered to stay in the barracks and surrounded by 60 SS men. When the SS men tried to force the prisoners out of the barracks they faced a rebellion of Roma men, women and children, armed with nothing more but sticks, tools and stones, and eventually the SS had to withdraw. The resistance of Roma prisoners gave them only a few additional months of life.

The Nazi also feared that an insurrection could spread to other parts of the camp and they planned the “Final Solution” on August 2nd. On orders from SS leader Heinrich Himmler, a ban on leaving the barracks was imposed on the evening of August 2 in the “Gypsy Camp”. Despite resistance by the Roma, 2,897 men, women, and children were loaded on trucks, taken to gas chamber V, and exterminated. Their bodies were burned in pits next to the crematorium. After the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945 only 4 Roma remained alive.