On January 27, our new exhibit, “Roma Memory”, premiered at the European Commission in Brussels. This exhibit and the inauguration that accompanied it marked the first time the European Commission chose to center this day of commemoration around the recognition of the Roma genocide during World War II. Featuring excerpts from Yahad-In Unum’s interviews with Roma survivors of the genocide, this exhibit enables the viewer to better understand this little-known history by leading them step by step through the genocidal process. The final module reveals the obstacles Roma still face today, through recent statements that illuminate the danger of racism and hate.
The inauguration opened with speeches by Dimitris Avrampoulous, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, and Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. During his speech, Father Desbois emphasized the need to recognize and memorialize the mass graves of Roma in Eastern Europe, only two of which have memorials today. “We must protected unmarked Roma mass graves in Eastern Europe to give them dignity,” stated Father Desbois. Following his speech, Yahad-In Unum Roma Project Manager Costel Nastasie spoke. Moreover, Nicolae Calderar, a Roma survivor of the genocide, traveled to Brussels from Romania to share his experience during the genocide. We were also honored to have Esma Redžepova in attendance, the acclaimed Roma singer, who delivered a stirring rendition of “Gelem Gelem”, the Roma anthem.
The exhibit’s inauguration was followed by a training for European Commission staff on January 28, focusing on the history of the Roma genocide and awareness of the problems Roma face today. The exhibit will be on display at the Berlaymont building until February 19.
Below you can watch highlights from the event through a short video clip.