The death camps in Poland from World War II – a lesson that mustn’t be forgotten!
Written by Dzenifer Elezovska
In the period between July 27 and August 4, 2014, I had the opportunity to stay in Poland, where I visited the most notorious death camps of World War II, which to this day bear witness to the inhuman behaviour in the history of mankind. The visit was organized by the Regional Roma Educational Youth Association (RROMA) from Kratovo.
The event had an international scale, participated by 1,000 young Roma from across Europe, and I participated as a representative from the NRC. The motto of the gathering was “Watch and do not forget” – “Dikh khal Na Bistar”, organized by the International Youth Network TernYpe.
And that is what happened. I will never forget what I saw there. And how can it be forgotten?
During the visit, I had the opportunity to watch several videos about the Roma Holocaust during World War II in the death camps in Auschwitz. And I had that opportunity to talk with the survivors of that nonsense, Rita Prigmore from Germany, Nikolay (78) and Yam Dohlin (82) of Transnistria. They retold their suffering and pain that to this day represent pain and suffering in their souls.
The visits of the museums, the meeting with the survivors, the visits of the camps and the ovens, I will describe with the words “Never to be repeated, never to be forgotten” this and similar heinous acts against any race or nationality, and mostly against the Roma. I hope that the world and the global institutions will adopt the right programs which will enable development and progress. I felt a huge sadness, emptiness and pain visiting Auschwitz.
Of all the survivors, I was most impressed with the life story of the victim Rita Prigmore from Würzburg (born on March 3, 1943) who comes from a family of musicians. Her father had a music band together with his brothers, and her mother was a singer and dancer. Her family was arrested in 1936. In 1938, the Gestapo seized her grandfather’s land and house and told them to leave their home. Her mother was forced to be an object of examinations by the notorious Doctor Mengele.
She lost her twin sister due to the experiments of another doctor, Hayde, who experimented in changing eye colour, from brown to blue.
Rita Prigmore has a scar above her right eye due to the injections she received during Doctor Hayde’s experiments.
Her only wish is that this never happens again, and that we should fight together against any type of racism.
Her last words which stayed in my mind were the motto:
– Remember the past, act today and change the future.
She is certain that cohabitation is our future.
My personal impression from the gathering in Poland as a young Roma, a student at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Macedonia, is that the history of the Roma Holocaust is a very painful one and with great consequences.
At the big gathering on August 2, all of us young Roma, with many other guests and prominent figures from Polish, German and Romanian public and political scene, and also together with representatives of numerous European institutions, paid our respect to the victims of Auschwitz who lost their lives on the orders of Hitler, and were killed in various senseless ways – in the gas chambers, in the ovens, were shot at, burned, experimented upon…