Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2011-02-02-Speech-3-025-000"

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". Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to begin by quoting the words of Porajmos survivor Friderika Kolompár: ‘We found my father when we went to Auschwitz on 2 August of ‘94 or ‘95. Their names were arrayed on a large plaque. We knew that they had been taken to Germany, but not the exact location. If a Gipsy man from Fehérvár had not stopped me, I would have reached into the oven and taken out a piece. I thought I would take it out and take it home as a relic. At that point my son, Józsi, said: “Don’t reach in there, Mother, you might get an infection.” “I don’t care, my son,” said I. “How do you know that it belonged to your brother or your father?” he asked in reply. I fainted and was taken out of the crematorium.’ On behalf of the Hungarian Presidency I would like to join the noble initiative through which the European Parliament, and President Buzek personally, wished to commemorate the victims of the Porajmos, the Roma Holocaust, in this sitting. Why is it important to remember? Should we not concern ourselves with the future instead? American historian George Santayana wrote in 1905: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ Even the most modest estimates put the number of Roma and Sinti killed during and in the shadow of World War II at 220 000. They were killed for the sole reason of belonging to these two ethnic groups or, in the terms of their persecutors, ‘race.’ They were of Hungarian, Czech, Romanian, French, German, Polish, Serb and who knows what other nationalities. Men and women, elderly people and children. Many, many children. If they were alive, many of them would be EU citizens today. Commemorations consistently recall that, unlike Jewish captives, families in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Gipsy camp could stay together. As a Hungarian Holocaust survivor recalled: ‘even the SS knew that Gipsy families could not be separated. They were allowed to stay together until the night of 2–3 August 1944, when the surviving captives of the 30 000 inhabitants of their camp were murdered as their barracks were burned.’ The EU was reborn after World War II from this low; the hell of the Shoah and the Porajmos. The dream of the founding fathers was that the peoples of Europe would, all together, reject all that had led to such extreme disregard for human life, to Auschwitz and Birkenau. The peoples of Europe jointly, including the European Roma population of currently 10 to 12 million. ‘But this is still the past,’ one could say. ‘Where is the future in this?’ The Hungarian Presidency believes that we must indeed talk about the past and the future simultaneously. When Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán presented the programme of the Hungarian EU presidency to the European Parliament on 19 January, he said: ‘The Roma strategy is a priority aspect of the Hungarian Presidency, because there is no point in a smart Europe if it has no heart. Europe, however, will only have a heart if it creates opportunities for social inclusion for the most disadvantaged social groups.’ I would personally be very proud if we could all jointly adopt a common European framework strategy for the Roma by the end of this presidency. Work is in progress, thanks to the commitment of the European Parliament and the European Commission. The Council and its Hungarian Presidency would like to contribute to this. We would like to contribute to the strengthening of the realisation that the Roma, like all peoples and ethnic groups of Europe and the entire world, are not a problem, but an economic, cultural and human resource."@en1

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