To mark the annual Roma Holocaust Memorial Day held on 2 August, North Macedonian civic movement AVAJA organised a series of events for the community in partnership with the local government.
Together with Kurto Dudush, Suto Orizari municipality mayor and Mustafa Jakupov, Executive Director of the Regional Roma Educational Youth Association (RROMA), the team planted trees in a local kindergarten. The planting of trees was accompanied by a commemorative plaque dedicated to Roma who lost their lives during the Holocaust.
Several billboards under the “Roma Remember” transnational initiative were also erected across the capital Skopje to raise awareness on the annual day of commemoration, supported by Proud Roma Free Europe and the European Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC).
For AVAJA, Roma Holocaust Memorial Day activities are an essential tool for raising awareness of Roma history and helping to strengthen the local community’s identity. Remembering the Holocaust, we are reminded of the injustices suffered by Roma, an important incentive to encourage unity and help fight ongoing racism and discrimination faced by the community today.
Speaking at the remembrance activities, Mayor Kurto Dudush commented, “We must acknowledge and address the pain and suffering of others. For Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as those that lost their lives, as a society, we must not forget!”
Mustafa Jakupov added, “As Roma and Sinti around the world gather to mark this day, we remember the more than half a million Roma killed, their aspirations and childhoods lost to the camps, fields, and unmarked trenches throughout Europe during World War II.”