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.