Flowers left in Tunca River in memory of Roma killed at Auschwitz camp

At least 4,300 Roma were killed overnight at concentration camp, says participant of memorial program

Gokhan Balci   | 02.08.2021
Flowers left in Tunca River in memory of Roma killed at Auschwitz camp

EDIRNE, Turkey

Flowers were laid in the Tunca River on Sunday in memory of the Roma, or Gypsies, killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp on the occasion of the Romani Genocide Memorial Day in Turkey’s northwestern province of Edirne.

After a workshop on Romani language and culture organized by the Romani Youth Association, participants arrived at the historic Gazimihal Bridge to commemorate the Roma massacred by Nazi Germany at the camp on Aug. 2, 1944.

At least 4,300 Roma were gassed to death overnight at Auschwitz, said Bulgarian-born Hristo Kyuchukov, who participated in the memorial program.

"Before the Russians raided Auschwitz, the Nazis made a decision to kill all the remaining people so that no one knew anything. A Polish man wrote down all that he saw and hid it in a well. We’ve read and learned all this after World War II,” he said.

Kyuchukov said about 1.5 million Roma lost their lives in World War II, a figure that was denied by Germany until 1982.

Since then, a memorial program has been organized for relatives of families killed at Auschwitz every year on Aug. 2, he said.

"Together with our esteemed teachers, we wanted to organize a memorial day in Turkey in a workshop for two days.

“I hope that after that, the Roma will learn more about this topic. Because there was no such event in Turkey, the Nazis did not come to Turkey. The people in Turkey do not know much about this issue,” he said.

“These are facts that need to be known because Neo-Nazis are coming back in Europe. They have very dangerous attitudes towards Roma and Jews in parliaments,” he added.

“In Hungary and Bulgaria, Roma houses are being demolished, and they are being put under pressure. We need to know all of these issues."

After the speech, Kyuchukov left the bouquet he was holding in the Tunca River in memory of the murdered Roma.

The ceremony ended with a performance of Roma songs.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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