Commemoration on the Gipsy Holocaust Anniversary with the participation of Knights of Malta (KMFAP)

On the 2nd August 2011 a national commemoration was organised by Professor Dr. József Ravasz Ph.D. - director of the Slovak Institute of Romology on the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the Gipsy Holocaust.

Since 2006 noteworthy commemorations have been held every year, which took place at the Gipsy Holocaust sculpture in the Fish Market park garden in Dunajská Streda (Dunaszerdahely). The monument is the work of the Sárközy blacksmith artist brothers of Dunajská Lúžna (Dénesd) by the plans of Dr. József Ravasz.

2nd August 1944 is a day of mourning in the history of the gipsies since 2900 gipsy people – gathered from all over Europe – were murdered that night in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp in Poland. Most of the victims were elderly, sick men, but women and children were also among them, who had to die because of their origin owing to the Nazi racial theory. Dr. József Ravasz – main speaker of the commemoration emphasized in his speech that:

“Through history millions of people died because they thought otherwise, they had a different opinion, they belonged to other tribe, to another nation. In Auschwitz, before an opinion could have been said where they belong to, they were killed, because someone decided that they are less valuable than others, so they have no right to life. Being Indo-Europeans in our second native land we wish to live in Europe as a peace declaring free nation. There is no second-rate, nor third-rate man. Human dignity can not be categorised” - concluded his speech.

On behalf of the Slovak government Mr. Rudolf Chmel – Vice President of the cabinet – held a speech and the letter of H.E. Iveta Radičová – Prime Minister was read: “Life can be taken away by force, but not the soul, inner freedom and dignity.”

Mr. Milan Čič – Head of the presidential office also gave a speech, in which he expressed that he belongs to those, who still remember the Nazis came to power; he mourns also for his friends and classmates this day among the scores of victims. “There are fewer and fewer people who remember and can convince others why human life is the supreme value. Just listen to our own rights and not remembering the past is as if we existed without consciousness and conscience” - underlined. Mr. Čič believes that more time elapses until we learn to accept the cultural diversity and tolerate all those whom we call “human”, whatever origin they have.

After the speech the memorial wreath of the Slovak Head of State was placed – escorted by the Presidential guard regiment members.

Dr. Zoltán Hájos, mayor of Dunajská Streda – like the before speakers – emphasized the importance of remembrance, which is also a definite commitment and stand up for such horrors not to happen in the future. “Dunajská Streda is the city of tolerance, which is justified also in everyday life and in practice: the Hungarian majority live peacefully with the Slovakian, Gipsy and other ethnic minorities. I believe that we can develop this even further” - stated the Mayor.

Mr. Pavol Mešťan – leader of the Museum of Jewish Culture in Bratislava also made a speech, and representatives of the Slovak Embassies of numerous European countries were present at this significant event as well.

During the commemoration the “Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories” (KMFAP) was represented by Lady Mária Czellárik, who especially reckon the financial and moral support of the Gipsy minority as her labour of love.