Children near the barbed wire immediately after the liberation of the extermination camp in Auschwitz.
Brno – Maxmilián Kryštof, who 80 years ago was one of more than a thousand Roma transported from Brno to the Auschwitz concentration camp, was only seven days old. Anna Míšková, historian of the Museum of Roma Culture in Brno, told ČTK that the transport of March 7, 1943 will be commemorated with a memorial service in the museum building. According to Míšková, the events should not be forgotten, especially in the current era of the influx of people fleeing the war from Ukraine.
Photo gallery: The Holocaust and the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz
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The transport leaving Brno during the Second World War on March 7, 80 years ago, carried 1,038 people. “The youngest, Maxmilián Kryštof, was only seven days old at the time of departure. During the registration, he received a tattoo on his leg marking Z-7462. The oldest was Marie Růžičková, who was 91 years old at the time of arrival,” said Míšková. According to her, there were also many pregnant women in the transport, some of whom gave birth in the first days after arriving in Auschwitz.
According to Míšková, these events should not be forgotten. “We should not forget that these were our fellow citizens, families who often lived in Moravia and Bohemia for centuries. They were young and old people, children and pregnant women. They went through unimaginable suffering just because they were referred to as Roma,” Míšková said. She emphasized the need to look at how far xenophobia, hatred, prejudice and indifference can go. “And especially nowadays, with the influx of people fleeing the war in Ukraine, we should remember these innocent victims and offer help and empathy,” said the historian.
Not only the older generation, but also the younger ones remember the dead. “An example can be the Baruvas meeting bringing together Roma scholarship holders, who often address the topic of the Holocaust at their meetings,” noted Míšková. She also described as interesting the event called “Dik I na Bistar/look and don't forget”, which is planned for August on the occasion of the International Day of the Roma Holocaust in Auschwitz, where over 400 young Roma and Roma women from two dozen countries are meeting.
The museum will commemorate the transport 80 years ago with a traditional memorial service, which includes readings from the memories of witnesses, speeches by important personalities and performances by Roma musicians. “The fact that the first transport of Roma and Sinti to the extermination camp was sent from Brno, where the Museum of Roma Culture has been located for 30 years, is very symbolic and we feel responsible for regularly commemorating this tragic event,” Míšková concluded.