Poland observes European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day

Poland marked the European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the liquidation of the Roma family camp (Zigeunerlager) at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

"It is the duty of all of us to promote the remembrance of the WW2 Roma victims and to make it fully present in history, so that the knowledge of the Roma Holocaust be widely known," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote in a letter read out during the ceremony at the former Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Oświęcim, southern Poland.

"A lesson about the Roma chapter of the Nazi Holocaust must not be forgotten," he added.

Some 21,000 Roma and Sinti people were murdered by the Germans in the so-called 'Gypsy family camp' (Zigeunerlager) at Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II. On the night of August 2, 1944, the Germans killed 2,897 Sinti and Roma in the gas chambers.

"On the 77th anniversary of the liquidation of the Roma family camp, ...we are one again taking upon ourselves an obligation to do everything so that the times of contempt should never return," Morawiecki wrote.

"We remember and we will remember," the prime minister stated.

The Auschwitz concentration camp was built by Nazi Germany in 1940 to imprison Poles. Two years later Auschwitz II-Birkenau was constructed and became the place of extermination of Jews. Nazi Germany killed at least 1.1 million people there, mainly Jews but also Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners and people of other nationalities.