Porrajmos: Remembering Dark Times

At the commemoration ceremony for the Romani victims of the Holocaust in Budapest yesterday, Rita Izsák, United Nations Independent Expert on minority issues, herself of Hungarian Roma origin, reminded those in attendance that it was three years ago to the day since Maria Balogh was murdered in her bed, and her 13-year-old daughter seriously wounded, in a gun attack by neo-Nazis in the village of Kisléta. Izsák called on states to do more to challenge “a rising tide of hostility and discrimination against Roma in Europe that shames societies.” This theme was echoed in commemorations right across Europe paying tribute to victims such as Maria Settele Steinbach. The haunting image of nine-year-old Settele, as she peered out of the cattle car of a train bound for Aushwitz-Birkenau, moments before the doors were locked and bolted, was captured on film in May 1944. This became one of the most reproduced, tragic iconic images of the Holocaust. For decades, Settele was described in the literature as the unnamed Jewish girl in a headscarf. In a manner that was emblematic of a wider amnesia concerning the Roma victims of the Holocaust, Settele’s identity was only established some 50 years later. Settele was one of a group of 245 Dutch Sinti crammed aboard that train. She was killed, along with her mother, aunt and four siblings sometime between July 31 and August 2, 1944, when the Germans began the liquidation of the Zigeunerlager (“Gypsy camp”) at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Almost 3,000 Roma men, women, and children were put to death in this operation.

via soros.org: Porrajmos: Remembering Dark Times

 Settela Steinbach beim Abtransport holländischer Sinti und Roma aus dem holländischen Durchgangslager Westerbork nach Auschwitz am 15. Mai 1944.

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