Roma victims of Nazi German ghetto honoured in Poland

The Roma victims of a World War II-era Jewish ghetto were honoured in a ceremony in the central Polish city of Łódź on Thursday.

The ceremony marked the 77th anniversary of the destruction of the Roma section of the Lodz Ghetto, also known as the Litzmannstadt Ghetto, which was run by the Nazis in German-occupied Poland in the 1940s.

In January 1942, the Germans deported more than 4,000 Roma and Sinti people from this section of the ghetto to a death camp in the village of Chelmno nad Nerem (Kulmhof an der Nehr in German) in west-central Poland, where all of them were gassed.

The annual ceremony was attended by representatives of Roma associations, the Austrian embassy and the local Jewish community, in addition to a group of local officials.

The Roma section of the ghetto existed less than three months. It consisted of more than a dozen buildings without any amenities. Prisoners suffered from a lack of food, heating and adequate amounts of drinking water.

The Lodz Ghetto, set up in February 1940 and destroyed in August 1944, was the second-largest ghetto in German-occupied Europe after the Warsaw Ghetto, with a total of 220,000 people held there. It was also the longest operating Jewish ghetto in occupied Poland during World War II. According to various sources, no more than 7,000 to 13,000 residents of the ghetto survived the war.