Institute News

We Remember: Roma Holocaust Memorial Day

On August 2, 1944, nearly 3,000 Roma and Sinti women, men and children were murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Seventy-one years later, the date was formally declared “Roma Holocaust Memorial Day” under European law. Because the Roma and Sinti experience during the Holocaust has been so critically under-represented in modern discourse, testimonies of survivors are especially crucial for keeping memory alive and educating people today about the genocide. USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive has 406 testimonies of Roma and Sinti survivors as part of its collection of 55,000 testimonies of witnesses to genocide.

Here are four Roma women who survived and bravely shared their stories. Their English-language testimony reveals a history that parallels the experiences of Jewish people during the Holocaust, and calls out to us today to remember and take positive action in our own lives and communities. One of the keys to empowering Roma and Sinti today lies in recognizing the genocide they suffered and integrating their story as a vital part of European history.

Lina Jackson on the death march

Language: English

Lina Jackson recalls the spontaneity and confusion she experienced as she prepared for a death march out of Auschwitz. This is the 60th testimony clip in the series 70 Days of Testimony: Leading up to the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.

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Wellesina McCray on living conditions

Language: English

Roma Sinti survivor Wellesina McCray remembers the terrible living conditions in Auschwitz especially how quickly lice spread throughout the camp. This is the 49th testimony clip in the series 70 Days of Testimony: Leading up to the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. 

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Julia Lentini on the emotional impact of Auschwitz

Language: English

Roma Sinti survivor Julia Lentini describes the diseases that spread through Auschwitz including when her mother fell very ill. Overall, she reflects on how witnessing all of these traumatic events have impacted her psychologically and emotionally. This is the 36th testimony clip in the series 70 Days of Testimony: Leading up to the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. 

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Ella Davis on Arriving to Auschwitz

Language: English

Sinti and Roma survivor, Ella Davis speaks about arriving to Auschwitz and how SS guards took all her possessions and cut off her hair. This is the fifth testimony clip in the series 70 Days of Testimony: Leading up to the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.

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