Sculpture made by Tom Tom Hendry and Barrie J Morgan.
The sculpture was made to show the number of Gypsies who died in 17 different countries during the Holocaust. The tree grows from the pages in order to express the constant growth of strength and resilience which is also reflected in the growth of their community. The hand prints were included to follow this year's theme of “How can life go on?” representing unity and encouragement.
The Romani Cultural and Arts Company gave their speech, saying there is always hope guiding one another: regardless of what we are or what we choose to believe in. 'Remember each and every victim with love. They were our brothers. They were our sisters.'
'In theory, it would be very easy to achieve peace' as people are torn between their differences. Expressing, people are not torn by what they believe 'but how to stay true to our own principals.' That we must be true ourselves and not infringe upon someone else.
Andre Morgan-Andrews of the Romani Cultural and Arts Company gave her speech talking about her studies of the Holocaust, and how she met one of the remaining survivors of the camps, Raymond Gureme. She shared an 'inspirational' speech Gureme had made as his testimony to young people to become stronger, stand up, and fight discrimination.
Morgan-Andrews also mentioned recent genocides such as Cambodia, Rwanda, Kosovo and Syria having said 'It is hard to believe that one man's vision for a pure race could lead to such atrocities and crimes against fellow human beings.' That the Nazis were not the first: pointing out that 'the world has seen it again and again.'
'I believe that everyone should visit Auschwitz Birkenhau and the Roma Holocaust,' She said 'Porajmos, should be remembered, should never be forgotten.' as 'approximately 3,000 Roma' were 'cold bloodedly murdered' on August 2nd 1944.
Morgan-Andrews ended her speech with a poem by Donna Porter called Oh Chavi. The event ended with a minute of silent reflection to think of those who died during the Holocaust.
During an interview with Julie Morgan we asked why she felt remembering the Holocaust was important and had we learned from our mistakes. Morgan replied “When we look [at what has happened] since the Holocaust, we haven't learned the lessons because if you look at Rwanda, there was a terrible genocide that took place in Rwanda and there's Kosovo.”
“So these lessons have not been learned but I think it's really important the more we mark Holocaust Day, the more awareness we have of these dreadful things that happened, and makes us aware of the different groups who were discriminated against.”
Photo credit: Gareth Willey